The following was my immediate reaction to hearing the initial Stephen A. Smith report nearly two months ago that said Doc, Pierce and KG were going to LA for Griffin, Bledsoe, Jordan, Butler, etc. As I was writing it, the rumors fell through, I saved the piece to drafts and put it aside. Now that the rumors have come alive, died, and come roaring back a third time over the past 48 hours, I revisited it. It was written in the nostalgic midst of the Celtics’ loss to the Knicks, but I think it has some valuable insight. I figured I may as well publish it to throw some thoughts out there.
So, I’ve needed a few days to recoup from the Celtics loss. It was tough, on several fronts. I really believed they would come back and punk those losers in New York into an early golf trip. They also looked very, VERY mortal and…old. They have for a while, but it was almost upsetting to watch. Like an old, beloved dog that just cant walk anymore, but you’re holding on as long as you can before putting him down. It sucked, it was valiantly for a brief moment in the third with their 20-0 run, but it was a microcosm of this season and the future of this team should we keep them around.
The immediate reaction is to blow it up. Before the 20-0 run, I was nearly sick to my stomach and proclaimed that they needed to trade everybody (obviously in frustration, but I wasn’t far off). Minutes later, I was in near tears as the Celtics I knew and loved came storming back, flooded with memories of a 24-point comeback in the 2008 Finals vs. the Lakers.
Ultimately, the Celtics fell short. Without a move or something potentially drastic, they may fall shorter in 2014. Is it worth it to miss the playoffs for a lottery pick in a potentially deep Draft class… it’s a toss up, but I’m leaning towards no for two reasons that don’t need much explanation: A) a healthy Rondo year in his prime is not one to waste. B) a healthy Garnett year in whatever he has left is not one to waste.
Do I think, given one more piece and total health the Celtics could make another run? Absolutely. Look at 2012 – these Celtics aren’t much different. Bradley was injured, and they needed one more big to move out on Bosh (or guard the paint as well as Garnett – a tall task [pun slightly intended]) when he returned and they win that series and maybe beat OKC.
However, at this stage in the game, the C’s don’t have the cap room for that “one more piece” unless they draft an immediate impact player in the lottery (a la LeBron James in 2003), and their health is FAR from a guarantee for one game, let alone 82 of them preceding 2 months of playoffs.
So, before Stephen A. Smith made a mockery of himself (we’ll see who’s laughing if he’s right), My initial plan for the Celtics was to maneuver some cap room, trade some mix of Jordan Crawford, Jason Terry, and Courtney Lee for big men and/or draft picks, and make a run at some free agents.
Specifically, I think Kendrick Perkins will be amnestied in OKC, and Tony Allen won’t be resigned in Memphis, so if Jeff Green, Rondo and Bradley can shoulder the offensive load, bringing in these two old friends at a discounted rate may be enough to push these transitioning Celtics over the hump. Wishful thinking, sure, but if there’s one thing the Garnett-era C’s have taught me, it’s that defense and grit win games (with even an average offense), nothing else.
However, now that the Blake Griffin Era is hypothetically upon us, why not examine the good, the bad, and the ugly of this potential trade?
Here’s an overview of the trade: Paul Pierce (1 year, $15.3M remaining, $5 buyout option) and Kevin Garnett (2 years, $12M/year remaining) to Los Angeles. Doc Rivers reportedly signs on to coach the Clippers, replacing the forgettable Vinny del Negro. In return, the Celtics receive Blake Griffin (5 years, approx. $100M remaining), Eric Bledsoe (1 year, $3.7M remaining), Caron Butler (1 year, $8M remaining), and DeAndre Jordan (2 years, approx. $22M remaining).
That’s what I wrote back then. I was going to go into what I thought of that trade, but the parameters have changed at this point. We won’t actually know what happens until the trade goes through, but I’ll work on breaking it down when it’s done.