Random Thoughts After a Very Busy Day

Lots going on yesterday.  A rookie signing, a vet press conference, the schedule released,  another rookie talking, and a vet waived.  Whew!  Hard to keep up with it all.  Lost in all the other hoopla was the fact that the Celtics signed their second round pick, Luke Harangody.  The contract is reportedly for 2 years and 1.3 million dollars, with both years fully guaranteed.  I think this is a good signing.  Yes, Harangody is undersized, but he proved in summer league that he can play.  It's worth a rookie minimum contract to see what he can do on the team.  You never know, he may surprise a lot of people and be a big part of the post Big Three era.  At least he will have the chance to prove it. One of the lighter moments in Shaq's press conference was when Jeff Twiss announced that Harangody would be available for questions from the media, Shaq turned to Doc and asked, “Who’s that?”

It was great that KG flew in from his Hawaiian vacation to be there for Shaq's press conference.  It would have been nice if Pierce and Ray joined him to show their support as well.  But KG is showing that he is a team player through and through.  I love that he was there to support Shaq in his press conference.  I think Shaq is going to fit into the team concept just fine this season and KG being there is a big step toward that end.   Funny thing, though, I had this craving for Frosted Flakes after the press conference. 

In the morning, there were articles about how Danny said that they were going to resolve Sheed's situation sooner rather than later.  By afternoon, we had that resolution as Sheed was waived.  I have no doubts that Danny explored every option possible to trade his retiring contract for a player who could have an impact on the team.  The fact that he was waived rather than traded tells me that there were no takers.  We have 14 players with guaranteed contracts but still need a long defensive 3 to back up Pierce.  Gaffney is one of the options, but it would be nice to have a veteran in that spot. Rumors are that Rudy Fernandez could be had for a first round pick.   I can't see Danny not giving up a first round pick for him because  Rudy would fill a lot of the needs that the Celtics still have.  But it's possible that the Blazers are holding out for a pick that is likely to be higher than what the Celtics pick should be.

Maybe Danny thinks that Avery Bradley will be able to contribute this season.  Bradley came out of high school as one of the top 2 prospects, even higher than John Wall by most scouts.  But he was in a system that didn't fit him very well and his stock fell. He impressed many executives at the combine and his stock was on the rise again.   Then he injured his ankle in an early work out and his stock fell even further.  But Danny targeted him from the beginning.  He is just over 6'3" but has a standing reach of over 8 feet and has been described by most as having NBA ready defense right now. 

Von Wafer is already in Boston and working with the coaches.  He has talent, there is no doubt about that, and he is motivated to prove himself.   He is athletic, has good size and strength but hasn't been known for his defense.  One of the reasons he is in Boston is to work with the coaches learning the defense and improving in that area.   Since he is motivated and willing to put in the work, he may be just what Doc ordered to fill the back up SG position, giving Bradley another year to develop. 

One thing I was very happy to hear was Danny talking about what a bright future Perk has and how highly they think of him.  I have just really been hurting for Perk.  He not only has a very long road and tough rehab to get back to playing but it's during a contract year.  Unlike a lot of other players, Perk gives 100% every game and every season, not just in a contract year, but to be injured for most of the season when you are trying to get a contract extension is very tough.   I have no doubt that Perk will have no shortage of teams willing to give him good money if he hits free agency.  I also have no doubt that Perk will be willing to sign for a very reasonable amount in Boston.  Danny better back up his words and offer Perk a reasonable extension this season, injury or no injury.  Otherwise, another team may just lure him away and it will be very hard to replace him since top defensive centers don't exactly grow on trees. 

And, last but not least, yesterday the full schedule was released.   The first thing I looked at was how many back to back games various teams have.   It was no surprise that the Lakers have the fewest of any team with just 15 back to back sets.   Miami and Boston both have 19 sets of back to back games.  Teams with the most back to back games are Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta with 23 and after the Lakers, Phoenix (16) and OKC (17) have the fewest.  

The Celtics will lead the league in national TV appearances with 33 next season, including NBA-TV, ESPN, TNT, and ABC.   The Heat and Magic come in second with 29 games each on national TV.  The Lakers will have 27 appearances.  Of course, NBA-TV will have their Fan Nights again this season, which may increase these numbers for the Lakers and Heat especially.  

The Celtics have their first big road trip early, going through OKC, Dallas, Miami and Memphis.  The Celtics will face the Lakers in LA on January 30 and in Boston on February 10.   The Celtics face the Heat 4 times, 2 at home and 2 on the road.  The Celtics are slated to play on Christmas Day, Martin Luther King Day, New Year's Eve, and Super Bowl Sunday.  The Celtics first meeting with Orlando doesn't come until Christmas Day and then they play them two more times within a 5 week span.   For a bunch of old guys, the Celtics sure are getting a lot of exposure from the league. 

One thing that has to stand out is the fact that for the first time, the NBA has scheduled regular season games in Europe.  This has to be a money making scheme for the league because it doesn't make any sense otherwise.  Think about it.  Two teams have to take very long flights, go through customs, fight jet lag and then play back to back games and then repeat the customs, flight, and jet lag all the way back to the states.  For teams in the hunt for playoff seedings, this would be a killer schedule.  The league picked the Nets and Raptors for this "honor" because I imagine they feel that these two teams will be out of the playoff hunt by then.  I think it's a bad move and solely motivated by Stern's desire for more money.  Hopefully this won't expand any further because it will be very hard on the teams and just isn't very practical. 

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