Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kirilenko's nice, but...

With all the Garnett talk the last couple of days, I saw too many Celtics fans lose their heads and get all excited about the C’s trampling through the weedy field that is the Eastern Conference to the NBA Finals next year. Where they’d meet Phoenix, Dallas, or San Antonio – who'd wipe the floor with them. Face it, the Denver Nuggets had a two-man team last year with Iverson and Anthony, and the Spurs dispatched them in five games. Houston has a two-man team and they met a similar fate with a first-round exit. Pierce and Garnett together would have been exciting, but I’m glad it didn’t happen.

Now the Celts can hone this young nucleus and look to add an All-Star caliber veteran without selling the whole farm, as they would have with Garnett. “Okay, new blogger,” you say, “what’s your brilliant idea?”

Send in the Money Man.

While a lot of East Coast fans may not know who I’m referring to, those with the privilege of having the NBA DirecTV package undoubtedly watched a couple of Utah Jazz games in the last year, where Mehmet Okur completed an All-Star campaign putting up 18.4 points and 7.2 rebounds from the center position. If there’s one veteran I’d like to see the Celtics pick up this offseason, it’s him.

Let’s put the disclaimer on this: yes, he was beaten on by Tim Duncan in the Western Conference Finals. Yes, the village idiot Stephen A. Smith had his share of fun calling out Okur at every halftime show. But it is what it is: Tim Duncan gets calls. Okur played the entire series in serious foul trouble, and looked bad. So what? He’s still a 28-year old All-Star, and maybe his trade value has taken a hit. All the better for a potential suitor.

So I’ve addressed any negative press “Memo” might have. Let’s look at how this guy would fit into the Celtics system. He’s essentially a middle-class Dirk Nowitzki. He can score plenty inside, but specializes in perimeter play, which helps the Celtics in two ways: 1) it gives the team the 3-point presence they desperately lack and 2) it allows Big Al to operate in the post, away from double-teams, pulling cumbersome Eastern Conference centers like Ilgauskas, Shaq, Wallace, and Kristic out of the paint. Plus, he hauls in 7 -9 rebounds a night. He works well at the center position regardless of whom Rivers chooses to start beside him.

So what do the Celtics need to give up to get Okur? Memo has 3 years left on his current deal at a little more than 6 millon per. That’s a reasonable contract for a player of his caliber. To make it work, they’d probably package the #5 pick with Ratliff's contract. The Jazz would do this because they are in desperate need of a swingman who can score and defend. I’d say Corey Brewer fits that bill. Plus they get a trading chip in Ratliff, which they could spin to add to a squad that made last year’s Conference Finals.

So what do you think? The thing about these trade scenarios is that they’re fun. I’d appreciate any comments or any new scenarios you can think of. I’m Sean the Fox, co-host of 91.5 FM’s “Fire It Up” sports show. I’d appreciate you checking out our site at http://fireitup.bravehost.com and checking out our show on Thursdays. Peace.

2 comments:

Mark said...

I'm here in Utah, and I'd give up my left kidney to get Corey Brewer on the team. Okur, however, was the difference between winning and losing for this Jazz squad (see stats after All-Star Game vs. W/L record). He kept the defense honest and hit game-winners all season. Unless Ratliff can still log decent shot-blocking minutes at center, this deal goes nowhere.

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