If you had asked me this question even just a few weeks ago – can Boston make it back to the NBA Finals? – I would’ve laughed in your face and pinned you in as a New England homer. There was Chicago, Miami and then everyone else in the Eastern Conference. But as the Heat have lost their way and as the Bulls have lost their star, the Celtics went from surviving day-to-day to becoming the East’s sleeper, and now at 21-9 since the All-Star Break, the squad playing the best basketball east of the Mississippi. Until the Knicks broke a box score last night, Boston was playing historic defense while Rajon Rondo is on an assist run not seen since John Stockton. The rest of the team is all either reaching in the time machine (Kevin Garnett), playing above their heads (Brandon Bass) or coming into their own (Avery Bradley).
Boston should consider themselves lucky to even be here. Danny Ainge nearly decimated this team at the All-Star Break, and now we have the details. Yahoo! Sports reports that the Celtics traded Jesus for O.J. Mayo and a draft pick, and for 20 minutes after a phone call from Doc Rivers, Allen really believed he was a Grizzly. That deal ultimately fell through, as did another that would’ve sent the Truth to New Jersey for Mehmet Okur‘s $10.9 million expiring contract and a lottery pick.
Instead, Ainge let his love affair with this summer’s draft slide, and brought everyone back for one final, one last championship push.
If you were the Celtics GM would you pull the trigger on either deal, or both?
Leading up to the deadline there was so much speculation that Boston might blow it up and begin their rebuild. Everyone figured Allen would be the first guy gone if the decided to take that route. I think Mayo & a mid 1st rounder would've been a solid get for Ray. Rondo could've definitely made him better by getting him open looks from deep and if they didn't like the fit he's a RFA at seasons end, they could've just let him walk then or bring him back in a 6th man role like he's playing in Memphis plus they'd add another mid-late 1st rounder to the 2 they already have. Ray going to Memphis would've made them very deadly out west. With 2 all-star bigs, a top 5 SF and solid PG. Adding the best shooter in league history they could've put them in the western conf. finals and possibly even further. If I was Ainge I would've pulled the trigger there.
The Pierce trade is even more interesting. They didn't fully explain the protection of that pick, but I would imagine it was top 3 like they gave to Portland. Knowing how much Pierce has meant to the Boston franchise I can understand why Ainge had trouble going through with that one. But if you can shave another $15 mil off the books going into free agency, plus add a potential top 5 pick I'd have to seriously think long & hard about that one. As far as Jersey, that might have been enough to convince D Will to stick around, and it could've even factored into Dwight changing his mind (for the millionth time).
Those trades, if completed, could've changed the landscape of not only this season, but the future of the league as well.
I think you have to give this team one more run, i don't think anyone can say right now that they have "no chance".
That said, the Allen for Mayo and pick seems intriguing. I would like mayo as a starter down the stretch, and a building block for the future. Who knows..maybe he steps up his game embracing a new role, in a bigger market, around more seasoned vets who have rings, on a better team, more likely to win a championship. We all know how highly touted Mayo was when he was younger, maybe the move to Boston is what he needed to fufil his maximum potential. Yes we would be losing Ray, and that would clearly mess up some team chemistry, but we have seen the Celtics 1st unit already flourish without Ray in it anyway, coming off the bench instead. The pick would be just gravy. But as a celtics fan, i can't discount what Ray gives us, and although this seems like a logical/ win/win move, i still trust Ray taking a 3 pointer in a clutch situation more than the potential benefits from Mayo.
The Nets trade is garbage. Yes it could net us a lottery pick, but Danny Ainge would be run out of town if he traded Pierce, and potentially cost this team another title. I'm saying this because the Celtics will make the playoffs, and almost certainly advance to the second round. Against the Heat/Bulls in Round 2, they get blown out of the building without Pierce, with him...they got a shot
i woudlve done both...but still that wouldve left the team watching the playoffs on TV...still it would really build this team for the future
If the C's did those moves they'd have had 2 lottery picks in this draft to rebuild around, plus just absurd amounts of cap room.
Absolutely should've moved Pierce's contract. They should've told him if he opted out after 2010 that he wouldn't be retiring a Celtic.
Amazing how one amazing run with a blatantly fixed game 7 makes everyone think that 2 years later they still have a puncher's chance and act like the 2011 shellacking they got at the hands of Miami never happened.
I almost lost my hair when i heard this today... they were such good deals ... c's would've got a potential all-star in mayo whose defensive difficulties could be hidden by rondo's presence plus an early 20s draft pick (remember boston got rondo with the 21th , bradley with the 19th also marshon brooks with the 25th )so they could have snatched a good player..as far the pierce deal it's even more interesting...you take 26 million off the books (okur's contract and pierce's contract) just from there and with garnett's contract expiring (21m) and the others (25m icluding sheed's and shaq's if .http://hoopshype.com/salaries/boston.htm this is valid) you've got 72m off your books ... last but not least they could have used the potential top-5 pick to draft probably harry barnes if he is available to replace a somewhat similar player in pierce...dumb move not to execute these deals
I agree, I would've gotten out of Pierce's contract for an expiring deal & high lotto pick. I just don't think Ainge wanted to deal with the negative press he would've got from trading him within the division and helping keep D Will in Jersey/Brooklyn. But they would've had huge money to throw at whoever they wanted this summer, plus 4 1st-rounders (2 in the lotto) to either package & move up, fill needs, or draft best player available. They would've really jumpstarted their rebuild with that deal.
The Allen trade probably should have gone down. At this time Mayo is just as good as Allen, is cheaper, younger, and would have come with a first rounder. With Allen being moved to the bench anyways this deal was a wash for me. The Grizzilies would have gotten a great shooting guard who would fit right in. He went to the same school as Rudy Gay, and won a championship with Tony Allen. This move would also give the Grizz a leader and clutch three point shooter at the end of games.
The Pierce trade on the other hand was a no brainer, you DON'T make that trade. Not only are you making a team in your division better, but you're taking what you think to be a lottery pick and adding a 20-5-5 type player to it. With Phillies collapse, and the Knicks mediocrity this year do you really think a team of Williams, Brooks, Pierce, Humphries, and Lopez/Williams wouldn't win some games? At best that would be the 10th pick in the draft.
The Allen trade would have really been nice because the Celtics would of had three first round picks which they could have used on the players in the draft, or could have packaged them and tried to move up for a better player. A team like Portland who is looking to rebuild fast might take three first rounders for their top ten pick, or even a team like New Orleans. The crazy part about this years draft is that multiple teams have the chance of owning two lottery picks, and could make on of those expendable if the right pieces are given
I disagree, the Celts woudl've been in a similar position to the Jazz right now in terms of having 2 lotto picks (as they would've gone in the tank after those moves as well).
Adding say Lamb and Zeller to Rondo, Johnson and Bradley is an athletic, super defensive team.
Don't like Mayo's game just a jump shooter. Bradley gets easier buckets and has better D. Save the money when Rays deal is up. Smart move by Ainge.
Who says they have to keep Mayo long term? And they do need some offense off the bench with such a defensively based unit.
He shoots it better than Mayo.
I would have done that trade for OJ Mayo. You get a pretty good SG that can give you 17-20points/game AND a 20s draft pick in a pretty good draft, giving you 3 first round picks in this draft.
I wouldn't have done the Paul Pierce trade because Paul Pierce deserves to retire as a Celtic and giving Pierce to a team in the same division as you is not a good idea. Even though it will free up a whole lot of cap room, I don't think giving away Pierce (who still has 2-3 good years left in him) for a lottery pick.
This is a business. There's no room for sentimentality. If Pierce wanted to retire a Celtic he should've stayed in his contract and retired after this year.
They don't need three rookies. Your too high on Mayo. I'm not and apparently neither was one of the better GM's in Ainge.
I think he lucked into getting Kevin McHale as the GM of the Twolves handing him KG on a silver platter.
I dont' even want Mayo long term. But the extra draft pick is nice. This team needs an infusion of youth and quite frankly it has zero depth. Zero.
That's not immediate help. Tell me Beasley and a first round You can have Ray.
Why should the C's be looking for immediately help?
If you trade Ray you're not trying to win this year. But you're also letting Ray go this summer so you might as well get something back for him.
And btw, Beasley is also an expiring contract.
He drafted to develop and gain vets. Mchale made a deal he thought best. Give credit where its do.
You say goodbye if u don't like him and he has more ways to score than Mayo by the way.
According to hoops hype, Mayo is also expriing.
Once Rubio went down that Ray to Minny deal was dead. So why not take the free first from Memphis for another expiring contract of a player who hasnt' lived up to expectations yet?
Who u want shooting threes more Mayo or Ray? Beasley would get dunks and lay ups on the C's and hit jumpers. Rather have Allen shooting J's than Mayo and Danny saw it too.
I feel like you're really not reading what I'm saying.
I really dont' care about OJ Mayo. I care about a free first round pick for a player we're never going to see again after the playoffs this year.
Taking on whatever expiring contract is a non-factor to me.
getting that 1st rd in this deep draft would have made me do the allen for oj mayo deal and the cs would have plenty of time too evelaute if theyd wanna keep mayo long term hed be a great 6th man bringin good scoring punch off the bench
At this point, since Ray is the 6th man right now, we would have had another 1st rounder, with a younger, cheaper, and more athletic 6th man in OJ. I would not have done the NJ deal tho
Even though i said i was highly inclined to take the Mayo deal initially, you have to realize it isn't a given Mayo comes in and puts up 16-19 pts a game. I mean, look at Jeff Green last year...he came in and pretty much sucked. If i were the celtics i'd rather have Mayo than Green, but not by much. I'm kind of thinking it might be tough getting used to play with Rondo, due to his extremly unorthodox style of play.
"They don't need three rookies. Your too high on Mayo. I'm not and apparently neither was one of the better GM's in Ainge"
You're missing the point man. Mayo doesn't just add a scorer off the bench, but his ability to play point guard too would add so much to this team. Right now our back up PG is Keyon Dooling...Mayo has played a lot of point through the years, and having the ball in his hands would really add to the second unit. Mayo, Pietrus, and Steinsma is a decent bench.
Also like other posters have mentioned, the Celtics would add another first round pick. With Rondo and Pierce most likely on the team next year those rookies could really have a lot of help in their development. Plus, as a Celtics fan you of all people should know the importance of stock piling talent.
Maybe the deals didn't go down because Howard re upped for 1 more year.. If you think about it, if they made both trades and even resigned Mayo and Green they would have had enough cap room to sign up Howard (i think). The rest of the roster could have been filled up by their 4 first rounders and veterans. They could have drafted somebody like Harrison Barnes with their own pick as they would have dropped down into the lottery, Terrence Jones with New Jersey's pick, Dion Waiters with the Grizzlies pick, and Festus Ezeli with the Clipper's pick. All these picks are veteran guys who can come in and play now. Lineup would have looked like:
Rondo, Moore, Veteran PG
Bradley, Mayo, Waiters
Bass, Jones, Johnson
Also, if they did both of those deals they could have packaged Mayo and a bunch of draft picks for Howard during the year..
You try to win now rather pray a guy wants to come to a cold climate. Bad GM's on here.. You got two first rounders already. Howard is fairy tale sh!t. Reality Ray is a better fit if you want to take a shot this year. The east is wide open and like I said you too high on Mayo.
This same team just got stomped out by Miami last year and certainly the C's haven't gotten better from last year while Chalmers has stepped up his game, and thus Miami is probably better.
One miracle run in 2010 doesn't mean this team has a shot (even though they were cheated out of that title in 2010). They're done. The longer you pretend they're contenders the longer the rebuilding process will be.
The Celtics aren't winning it all this year, though I could see them beating Miami or Chicago, just not both. I think the Net trade is a gimme as a likely top 5 pick for Pierce. They'd have 4 picks, including a top 5 one to rebuild with and still have Rondo and a ton of cap space. Add in Mayo and Bradley in the backcourt and keep KG... this would be an incredibly fun team that could compete in a year or 2 given how the organization and Doc turn late first rounders into studs (Bradley, Rondo, Perkins and even Big Baby).