Friday, June 29, 2007
What Does It All Mean?
"You know what happens when you are making a souffle and you mix all the ingredients and put it in the oven? If you take it out of the oven too soon, it flops. And that may be what we are doing."
"I didn't want them to make any trades. I don't have that kind of confidence in aging free agents, especially guys like Garnett or Allen who haven't won anything. Arnold [Red Auerbach to you] did that effectively when he brought in players like Willie Naulls, Carl Braun, Dave Bing, and Pete Maravich. They'd come here and play 12 minutes a game and grab a ring. But you've got to get lucky to have a Garnett come in and break his tail at 31 or 32 years old. I would rather have seen them continue with the youth movement and take the kid from China."
The foreboding quotes above are yanked from the Curly-Haired Boyfriend's shockingly un-shitty column on the Celtics' draft-night shenanigans. Honestly, the events of the past 24 hours may well take days, weeks, months, even years to properly grasp. Alright, maybe not years. But still... wow. I think the best way for me to deal with this is to tell a pair of stories, each full of intrigue, each potentially true, one far more desirable than the other.
Last night the Celtics made good on a widely-held desire to infuse the club with veteran talent by acquiring one of the premier offensive weapons in the NBA., a superstar scorer who's put up the best numbers of his career over the past two seasons. In exchange, they gave up the fifth pick in the draft--which was unlikely to yield an immediate-impact player--a burdensome contract, and a young guard who, contrary to certain hopes, will probably never amount to an NBA starter and whose role on the team seemed increasingly unstable. On top of that, the Celtics acquired another second-round pick which they used to draft LSU's Glen Davis, a skilled big man considered by many to be one of the sleepers of the draft. The acquisition of Davis gives the Celtics added depth at the forward position and suggests that the possibility for a Kevin Garnett-Al Jefferson megadeal is still open. For the icing on the cake, the Celtics also used a second-round pick on USC point guard Gabe Pruitt, an athletic floor leader who frequently draws comparisons to the Mavs' Devin Harris. Kudos to Ainge and co.
Last night Danny Ainge threw yet another indignity at Celtics fans, desperately mortgaging the future of the team for a soon-to-be-32-year-old shooting guard who is coming off two recent ankle surgeries. After weeks of tempting fans with rumors of inside forces like Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal and Shawn Marion, Ainge instead acquired another perimeter player who needs the ball in his hands to be effective, which seems redundant on a team that already has Paul Pierce. After years of preaching patience and development, Ainge et al flatly ignored their own advice and exposed themselves as hypocrites, trading away a high pick in the deepest draft in years for a beat-up veteran who'll probably be little more than moderate upgrade over Wally Szczerbiak. On an evening that saw their divisional rivals in New York acquire a young, dominant big man for a relative pittance, the Celtics appear to have re-enacted the disastrous Dominique Wilkins acquisition of 1994. This is the final insult from Ainge and co.
As you can see, last night's happenings will probably be debated for months to come, and quite honestly I have no idea which story to believe at this point. Ray Allen is undoubtedly a marquee offensive player, but one could make the case that if there's one area the C's don't need help in, it's scoring. That said, the idea of Rondo running an up-tempo offense with Allen firing threes from the wing is an enticing prospect. See? I'm all over the place here. In all honesty, the most important acquisition of last night might prove to be Glen Davis: now that the C's have Allen and Pierce, KG might be more intrigued by the prospect of playing in Boston, and the depth that Big Baby provides might make Big Al even more expendable. Alternately, the acquisition of Allen raises big questions over Gerald Green's future, and the C's still have Ratliff's contract to dangle... could they structure another trade around those assets and next year's pick, maybe for an Andrei Kirilenko? That'd be an insane amount of salary to take on, but this ownership group ain't exactly strapped for cash.
On a closing note, Simmons absolutely hates this trade, hammering away at the point that Reggie Miller is the only shooting guard in recent memory whose career didn't go completely down the toilet after turning 32. Truthfully though, Allen is a remarkably Miller-esque player: a catch-and-shoot specialist whose game is built more around stamina and finding open looks than relying on athleticism and grit to create his own shots.
I don't know, we'll see. Ray Allen's old as fuck, but as the above photo illustrates he's got a nice set of bedroom eyes, Pierce is probably happier today than he was yesterday and we still have Al Jefferson (for now). Danny's still not off the hook. I want to know what number Allen's gonna wear. Finally, I'd be completely remiss if I didn't link to this classic Allen-related Onion article.