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What...

Tonight is the night, I suppose. The night when we finally find out what Danny Ainge threw away multiple titles for. Yes, most definitely embellishment. However, I usually remain bitter for a while.

Nearly a year and a half ago, Ainge packaged Kendrick Perkins into a mammoth cardboard box and wrote OKC on the shipping label. Perk was gone before I got out of my apartment shower at school. Nothing would seem right for nearly a year, when the most recent incarnation of the Celtics started winning the hearts of many Bostonians.

Ainge didn't send away his starting, championship-winning, defensive enforcer of a center for nothing though. We were lucky enough to get half a season of Jeff Green's disappearing act before a tragic heart problem sidelined him all last season. Oh, and we also got a man who has more vowels in his last name than meaningful NBA minutes to it, Nenad Krstic. Last I checked, he was flopping around for CSKA Moscow where "ball dunks you."

I tried to take solace in how great Jeff Green looked in a suit all season, but whenever I turned on Sports Center to see Perk kicking Dwayne Wade in the face, I lost it all over again.

I liked Danny too have made him the center point of all the rage. However, a couple days ago a friend of mine reminded me, it all comes down to David Stern.

Doesn't it though?

Don't expect a tirade on refereeing or anysuch thing from me. I am totally fine with the officiating that took place throughout the playoffs.

This 'What If' scenerio seems like a decent thing to hash out, though.

Tonight is the night we find out exactly what we got from the Kendrick Perkins trade. The final piece falls at the NBA draft. Krstic is gone, Jeff Green is an unrestricted free agent. The insulting 'pity-pick' Boston gets next summer in the second round is still a ways off. This is it, but shouldn't it be higher than 22?

Lets go back six months or so to early December when Chris Paul was traded harmlessly to the Los Angeles Lakers. Oh, wait that didn't actually happen?

That is right, that deal was stricken from the NBA record books while David Stern held his hands over his ears shouting "la-la-la-al-la, I can't hear you."

This was quickly followed by Chris Paul's trade to the Lakers' bunk-mates in the Staples Center, the Clippers. The Clippers were the team who's first round pick Boston would receive in 2012.

The same Clippers who gave up the pick that became Kyrie Irving in order to land Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. The same exact Clippers who had most recently won 32 games and finished 13th in the West.

Well, in one season the Clippers leaped eight spots in the standings, won 40 games in a shortened season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Almost all because Stern nixed the CP3 trade to the Lakers in favor of one to the Clippers.

Now, I am not going to sit here and claim to have calculated Chris Paul's WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player), but according to 82games.com, Paul was second behind only LeBron James in his Simple Rating. This leads to the question, had the CP3 trade not gone through, are the Clippers a lottery team once again or at least a fringe lottery team?

They would have undoubtedly not finished as high in the standings without Paul running the show, which would lead their 2012 first round pick to rest somewhere in the 12-16 range, in my opinion. You know the rest of the story; the Celtics receive that pick, much higher than the 22nd and far more doors are opened.

What would this have led to? Possibly the chance to grab an Austin Rivers, should he slide out of the top ten. More likely it would have given the Celtics a much better chance at packaging the 12 and 21st picks to move up high in the lottery to get an instant impact player.

As it stands now, the Celtics are on the phone trying to deal No. 21 and 22 but they are talking to static. The GMs of  Portland, Toronto, Golden State and Detroit are all going through tunnels and getting onto elevators.

I guess the bottom line is that it can finally end tonight. I'm tired as Hell of the what-if scenarios concerning Perkins staying and all the glory Boston could have experienced. I'm equally sick of the analysts refuting that Perkins was meaningful to the Celtics.

We can all lay it to rest tonight, but when Commissioner stalks to the podium to announce that 22nd pick... Think about Perkins, think about a second championship, think about Chris Paul and David Stern, but know that a lot of things could have been different.

...if
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You can follow Mike Walsh on Twitter @3rdStringWalsh

Walsh 6/28/2012 06:37:00 PM Edit
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