|Posted by paul on July 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM|
Just practising! I hope I didn't fool anyone.
But seriously, the door to a Josh Smith trade may be more open than it might seem. Reportedly, the Atlanta Hawks are in trade talks with Orlando for Josh Howard. Presumably such any Atlanta-Orlando deal would send Horford to Orlando, since Smith and Howard are said to be close friends; Smith would presumably be key to Atlanta's hopes of keeping Howard in Atlanta, since Howard seems to want to play with friends (Deron Williams being most often mentioned in this regard), so Atlanta would want to keep Smith.
On the other hand, I've seen claims that what Orlando really wants more than anything, in exchange for Howard, is draft picks. This could make the combination of young players and draft picks that the Celtics could offer for Smith more attractive to Atlanta, as preparation for, or part of a deal between Atlanta and Orland for Howard; alternatively, Atlanta could trade Smith to Orlando for Howard, and then possibly the Celtics could send young players and draft picks to Orlando for Smith. Celtics fans may assume that our picks would not be attractive to GMs around the league, but I think they might be. We look at our team and we see future champions. League GMs may look at our team and see us as being one KG injury away from having really no frontcourt at all. Whoever they send to us could change that, of course, but could also leave us with little depth. Any trade would be a gamble for both sides. If we crash and burn, they get a great pick(s). If we soar, they get a not-so-good pick (or picks).
Even without a big trade, I think our team is looking very exciting for next year. I think Allen's departure will turn out to be a case of adding by subtracting. It may turn out that the Celtics constantly gearing their offense to Allen's multiple screens was a big drag, and it may be that Allen was a locker room problem too. Wojnarawski's recent attempt to defend and champion Allen, in the wake of Allen's heinous act of (sports) Treason, seems to have harmed Allen's reputation more than helped it. It suggests that Allen used to snipe at Rondo constantly behind Rondo's back. Articles such as Macmullan's hit piece on Rondo from several months ago, which appeared to be largely based on Allen's input, suggest the same. Who would have guessed? It looks an awful lot like Ray Allen was responsible for at least some of the discontent and disunity on the team, which seemed to make the transition to a Rondo-centered team more bumpy than it might have been.
We wish Allen the best. That's the right thing to do. And we look forward to beating his Heat more than ever now!
Terry is a huge addition. He should give us the scoring punch off the bench that we hoped Allen would give us, that we've been needing badly for several years. That alone should be a HUGE lift, not just maintaining leads between the first and second quarters, but giving us more strength late in games. Green too should be a huge addition. Danny seems to have tremendous faith in Green, and we know that at least some of this must be coming from his stubborness, but he's also a tremendous judge of under-appreciated talent. Up till now, Green seems to have been a high-potential journeyman. If he is ever to break out, now should be the time. He seems to be highly motivated. He is on a very supportive team. Rondo is the best facilitator in the game. Hopefully Green won't be asked to play out of position, as he was in OKC. He could have a great year. The draft too seems to have gone very well. Early summer league reports suggest that Sullinger is for real, Melo is a worthy project, and Joseph could be a player too.
Celtics fans have every reason to be hopeful, looking forward to next year, even if no further big moves are made. If I were Danny Ainge, I'd focus on tying up loose ends, and maybe looking at long shot deals, such as trading for Josh Smith. And I wouldn't forget about some of the nice journeyman pickups we made last year. Sure it would be nice to bring Courtney Lee here to fill in for Bradley while his shoulders heal, especially since he seems to be a good defender who can run with Rondo, but it seems to me that Pietrus can fill that role too. Let's bring Lee in if we can, but let's not give up key assets that we may need later on. Pietrus seems to bring a lot of emotion with him that I suspect the Celtics can use. Another player who seems to bring a lot of emotional lift, along with a healthy dose of athleticism, is Wilcox. Playing with the Celtics generally, and Rondo in particular, seems to bring out the best in Wilcox. I think he could be an important member of our Gang of Bigs. And then there is Keyon Dooling. He was much maligned last year, but he played strong defense in the playoffs, and gave us a fairly solid pg behind Rondo who not only wasn't gunning for Rondo's job, ala Delonte West, but who also turned out to be a great Rondo Whisperer. Next year is going to be a tough year for Rondo. An awful lot is going to be asked of him, as the now undisputed leader on both ends of the floor of a team with championship hopes. The pressure will surely be intense at times, especially with other top teams in the league ratcheting up their personnel. I hope Danny doesn't underestimate the value of having someone on the team who is a good advisor and stabilizing influence for Rondo.
I think that next year's Celtics team will be an absolute monster on defense, with Rondo leading the way, and surprisingly good on offense. If we found a way to bring a Josh Smith on board too? Well buckle in and hold on tight. The rest of the teams can corrall as many whiney Superstars as they want; they'll still be watching us through clouds of dust!