|Posted by dennee on March 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM|
Countless words are written about the ongoing season. no doubt you have seen them. The Celts won't even make the playoffs. Just wait to see them surprise everyone in the playoffs. Trade for this guy or that guy. Blow it up. Stand pat. This player deserves more playing time and is the key to winning. We need just one or two key pieces. And on and on.
The fact is this ship has sailed. It is past the point of no return. The course is set although we have know idea where the course will lead. Since the trade deadline has passed and the waivers are over, there is little else to do but enjoy the ride, wherever it might lead.
But, what about next year? Pierce, Rondo, Bradley, Moore, and Johnson are under contract. Let's assume we trade none of them, so they return. That is five and between them about 29 million and represents about half the payroll. (for simplicity, assume the cap stays the same at 58 million) That also could be the starting PG, SG, SF, and a backup at guard and forward. Who else then?
Thank you very much Mr. Daniels, Pavlovic, O'Neal, and Dooling, but it just isn't working out the way we had hoped. Mr. Stiemsma, Green, Wilcox, and Pietrus; each of you has shown us something and we would like to see you back. SG, SF, PF, and C are all backed up ( in the case of center, twice as Wilcox can also play there). Now we are at nine players and about another 10 - 12 million combined. (Roughly 40 million total. Man this adds up fast!)
Mr. Bass has a player option for another season at 4.3 million. We hope he decides to excercise it. ( 10 players and 44 million payroll)
Mr. Garnett, if you do not decide to retire, we would like to have you back part-time (24 minutes or less). This will help extend your career, make the minutes you do get the most productive and for us you mentor our other guys on defense. Of course, part-time work only deserves part-time pay. Since you have already made a gazillion dollars over your career, how about five million and the love of the game and the love of Boston? (And it would only be a true emergency that you would have to play center.) PF/C, 11 players and about 49 million.
Mr. Allen, we would like you to return also, but for a deal similar to KG. Say four million and reduced playing time. Yes, you can probably make more somewhere else, but we are hoping that your love of Boston and a legitimate shot at another title will convince you to accept our only offer. (I consider his accepting to be slim, so I will not count him as a roster spot or add it to the payroll.)
Where does this leave us? Free agency. We still need a true center. Many have speculated on Chris Kaman, and many suggest that he would be a good fit. That may be true, but he makes 12.7 million this year and it would probably take a similar or better offer to get him, wrecking the salary cap in the process. If I were in Ainge's shoes, I would aggressively pursue Roy Hibbert. The fit would probably be better for the future transition to a younger and quicker team and, according to HOOPSWORLD, the qualifying offer is only 3.7 million. There is sure to be a bidding war, so set a limit of say seven million and roll the dice.
The other player, again if I were in Ainge's shoes, to aggressively pursue is Ryan Anderson. He is young and smart, is quickly becoming one of the league's best and most unnoticed power forwards, and I think a perfect fit for Boston. As with Hibbert, he is restricted, but the qualifying offer on him is only 3.2 million. Set a limit of 6 million? Should those two deals work, you would be at 13 players and if you went "the limit" on both, payroll would be about 62 million, close to the assumed cap "ballpark."
You still have your draft picks for two roster spots and those receive exceptions on the salary cap to sign them. I won't even begin to speculate who they might be as the draft is always too unpredictable. I would not be surprised though if one of them is named Rivers.
In a nutshell:
Point guard - Rondo, Bradley, Moore, (Rivers)
Shooting Guard - Bradley, Pietrus, Moore, (Rivers)
Small Forward - Pierce, Green, Bass, Pietrus, Johnson
Power Forward - Garnett, Anderson, Bass, Wilcox, Johnson
Center - Hibbert, Stiemsma, Wilcox, Garnett, (draft pick?)
Bottom line - young and quick enough to run with the best, mature, wise, and experienced enough to not panic. A team that could well fit into the payroll constraints, yet have enough talent to take it all.
One last intriguing thought just for the fantasy: Tim Duncan is a free agent. I would expect him to retire before he would go to another team. But what would 24 minutes of Garnett and 24 minutes of Duncan look like? They may be old, but if they knew they only had to play half a game so they could go all out, both could just terrorize an opponent.