Aug 2—59 Days to camp Rashad, Rudy, Pryzbilla, and Portland
If you think about it, other than Doc, Paul, and Ray, almost all of the Celtics’ off season developments have come out of the blue, or at least with little warning. As the free agent moratorium wound down the media was abuzz with Celtics/Miller talk. Celtics interested in Brad Miller, interested in Mike Miller, probably interested in Miller Lite. Will Rondo and Brad be able to bury the hatchet, other than in each others scalp? Will Brad, a month older than Garnett, still be serviceable at the end of the three year contract he reportedly was seeking? Celtics sign Jermaine O’Neal—hold it, say what?
While bloggers dreamed of sugar plum fairies, big name free agents, and blockbuster trades (with what I have no idea), Danny, his one big chip spent, returned to reassembling the roster from last year. Almost as soon as we heard of Tony negotiations, Allen signed with Memphis. Huh, why? “You’ll have to ask Tony,” Danny replied, “the money offer was the same.” About the only reason we heard about the Nate negotiation before his re-signing was announced was because his agent reported that there was a sticking point and Nate had given some and hopefully the Celtics would give some too. Marquis was resigned, again with little fanfare. Gentlemen don’t kiss and tell, Danny doesn’t negotiate in the press and keeps his cards close to his vest. Loose lips sink ships, and personnel moves.
The Rudy chase was front page news mostly because Fernandez was trying to force the issue, at least as much as anyone with two years remaining on their contract can (see Paul, Chris). Rudy’s camp released, every day (maybe every hour) it seemed like, bulletins—trade me, just release me and let me go back to Europe, here’s a list of clubs I’d like to be traded to, I’m not happy here, somebody’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up. Boston was on the list. Danny acknowledged there was interest. Problem was that the makings for a trade just weren’t there. Portland’s owner has deep pockets, their roster has no real needs, they didn’t have anybody they really needed to move, and they weren’t in need of the roster slot. Danny had no $1.25M sized chips and his only significant asset was Sheed’s contract, of very limited value if the Trailblazers weren’t anxious to dump salary. The best match was Pryzbilla who could be combined with Rudy in a trade for Sheed’s contract, the D-leaguer(s) who could be cut, and a pick. Several problems here. Pryzbilla was coming off the second major surgery in the past six months and wouldn’t be ready until after Christmas, probably before Perk but who knows. Besides Portland didn’t really have a center to spare. They have Oden trying to come back from a second major injury, the ever longer-in-the-tooth Camby, and rehabbing Pryz. They’ll be lucky to field a starter and a backup themselves. They wanted picks. Danny would probably give them one, a 2011 which would almost certainly be a late round pick in a sub par draft. They wanted two. The next available would be 2013, likely in the post-Big-Three era and all too likely a much more valuable asset. Danny has been in a two-years-to-reboot mode for some time and no doubt balked at mortgaging that future. Impasse.
Everybody that saw the Von Wafer signing coming, raise their hands. Thought so. Yet again we discover that Ainge is a list maker. Number 1 (and we have no idea whether it was 1 or 4 or 7) didn’t work out so move on to 1A or 2 or 3 or 8, once again we have no idea what “misses” there were in between because we only see the shoes that drop. Unless someone else spills the beans because our Danny certainly won’t. And that is a good thing. It might be a bit more frustrating for those of us obsessing on the sidelines, but the closemouthed nature of our GM greatly enhances the chances of good things actually coming to pass.
Just one more thing, Danny and Doc might whisper a few scathing remarks across the privacy of the 10th green but we don’t see the bridge burning recently engaged in by Cleveland owner Gilbert or Toronto GM Colangelo. I suspect Ainge had a few un-Mormon-like thoughts cross his mind when Tony bolted from the “shadow” to blaze his own trail to stardom (I certainly did but that’s a column for another day), but Danny’s most scathing public commentary—“You’ll have to ask Tony.” This is a man that doesn’t let emotion stand in the way of playing the right angles. For those of you that remember Danny-the-player’s perpetually anguished face, whiney remarks, and the finger bite a la Tree Rollins, you have to admit, he’s come a long way.