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Posts Tagged ‘Celtics’


Today is the last day for NBA players with options to opt out and become free agents.  Oddly enough, a number of them are not doing so.  But I think these guys made the right move.

Among those who decided to stay put for the final year of their contract are the Celtics’ Eddie House, and the Jazz’ Carlos Boozer.

Why is this the right move?  Right now the economy is tight.  There seem to be a goodly number of free agents out there, and only so much money to go around.  Teams will not want to spend lots of money so these guys might not do better than their current contracts this summer.

Teams have been clearing cap space for 2010 however.  Some high profile players will be available.  Here the deal- they can only sign with one team.  So, the teams that don’t sign the high profile players like LeBron James will have money to spend on guys like House and Boozer.  So it make sense for them to stay put, earn some good green and wait for what promises to be a better contract next summer.

Teams are also realizing other teams don’t want to pay free agents much this summer.  At least that is the gamble teams like the Bucks are taking.  By not tendering some free agents, teams are thinking they might be able to get that player for less, or a suitable replacement for less than what the player expects right now.  The economy and the fact that teams don’t want to tie up money long term means there may be some good bargains out there.  Some of these guys may have to settle for less time and less money than they want.  It may very well pan out like the baseball off season did- a few guys got way too much money (Money Ramirez and the Yankees’ signings) and lots of guys took huge pay cuts.

House, Boozer, and a few others may have read this right and will be better off long term.  We’ll see in the next few days.

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The Celtics did what I didn’t think they would do: re-sign both Eddie House and Tony Allen.  And they gave them 2-year deals.  They buy some security, but don’t create long-term salary cap issues.

I’m glad Eddie House is back.  He was a nice change of pace for Rajon Rondo, and was able to spread the floor with his 3 point shooting.  He was an important part of that playoff run.

The jury is still out on Tony Allen.  His injuries have inhibited his progress.  We really haven’t seen what he can and cannot do.  This next year his knee should be completely healed, and he should have learned its limitations.  He can be that dogged defender that James Posey was.  But can he keep his head in the game sufficiently to be that 6th man the Celtics need?  Only time will tell.

Either way, the team that will defend the NBA championship is beginning to take shape.  There are still rumors that Devon George may be of interest.  Good defense, and that’s about it.

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I will confess that I was not excited about Posey signing with the Celtics last summer.  I hadn’t watched him play much.  I was wrong!  He played a vital role in the Celtics’ championship season this year.  Great defense, timely 3-point shooting and a great locker room guy.  He was VERY important.

So, he decided he needed a raise.  He did have the player option, so he went for it and opted out.  His agent talked about how this might be his last contract, and he wanted to make the most out of it.  That meant that he wanted 4 years.  The Celtics, leery of his age and wanting salary cap flexibility, were only offering 2 years.  He wanted to stay a Celtic but they couldn’t agree on the contract.  There didn’t seem to be a middle ground where years were concerned.

Lots of other teams wanted him.  And the New Orleans Hornets got him while he got his 4 years.  His $25 million dollar salary over those 4 years represents a nice raise for James.  And he does go to a very good team featuring Chris Paul.  So, he didn’t take the money to play on a lousy team.  I respect him.  It basically starts with the full MLE.

This puts the Celtics in a quandry.  Posey is gone.  Tony Allen didn’t quite turn out like we hoped and he is probably gone (he’s a FA).  Eddie House is probably gone too.  Scot Pollard was barely here, and he’s gone.  P.J. Brown will most likely retire.  Sam Cassell will probably go elsewhere.  This is why it is so hard to repeat in this era of sports- guys want to get paid (you’d think they were making $50,000 instead of millions of dollars).  Especially after they win a championship.

But we picked up Patrick O’Bryant (there is some sarcasm there if you missed it).  Problem is we have lost one of our best perimeter defenders, and 2 out of our 3 best 3 point shooters.  Not quite easy to replace, but essential to winning another championship.

So Danny, we really need you to pull something out of the hat.  What you got?  I don’t think our draft picks, even Giddens, are quite what we had in mind.  Cost-effective, yes.  But not adequate replacements for Posey and House.

The Free Agent Market?  Maggette, gone. Lue, gone.  We never had a shot at Brand or Davis.  There is always the Birdman, Chris Anderson.  But he’s a big man and not a guy who’ll create space by hitting mid-long range jump shots or back up Rondo.  What’s a GM to do, Danny?

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The Boston Celtics made a free agent signing today.  No, it wasn’t James Posey.  Or any other big name.  It was the one and only, utterly amazing Patrick O’Bryant (now that’s a good Irish name, me boy).

Bryant was the Warriors’ first round pick (#9 overall) in 2006.  He’s a 7 footer out of Bradley weighing in at 260 pounds.  Apparently he didn’t overwhelm Don Nelson and company.  But, due to the amazingly Irish name, he’s good for the Celtics as a back up to the oft injured Kendrick Perkins.

In his career, he has averaged 1.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 5.5 minutes.  Oh, he’s a keeper, a trooper and a difference maker.  He was sent to the D-League on March 10th.  I am estatic about this signing!

I’m more estatic after reading Don Nelson’s comments regarding Mr. O’Bryant:

“I told him if he goes down to the D-League and isn’t a dominant player, there should be red flags all over the place, and he should be the first to notice. He’s not only not dominating, he’s not playing very well. He’s a long-term project. I really liked him the first week of training camp, but I assumed there would be great progress. He hasn’t gotten better one bit.”

HT: Celtics Blog

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It only took 22 years, which is nothing compared to 86 years.  But that is still a long time when you are a life-long Celtics’ fan.  In the 80’s we had a sense of entitlement.  The Celtics were champions or contenders nearly every year that decade thanks to Larry Joe Bird, the Chief, McHale and all the rest.

It seemed nearly anti-climatic.  The Celtics just blew the Lakers out.  It reminded me of Game 7 against the Knicks in 1984.  I was there.  It had been a tough series, and Bernard King was lighting the Celtics up.  But in the 2nd half, the just ran over the Knicks for a dominating win.  KG finally showed up, and helped the Celtics dominate Kobe and the Lakers.  The Lakers had the best player, but the Celtics clearly had the better team.  And it was one of the largest point spreads in an NBA Finals game.

This was a team that I thought wouldn’t do it when the trade rumors were circulating last summer.  But Danny Ainge put together a great supporting cast for the 3 stars.  He, not Larry or Kevin, is the first player from those glory years to put together a championship team.  He had an assist from Kevin.  Danny was much maligned, but now he should feel vindicated.  The “plan” worked perfectly.

Paul Pierce should feel vindicated too.  Many people wanted him shipped off.  There were trade rumors all the time.  People dismissed him.  Not being on a team that was able to compete, he was asked to do too much and his defense suffered.  This year he showed he could play defense.  The Captain led this Celtics team to a championship.

Ray Allen should feel vindicated.  Earlier in the playoffs he was written off as D-O-N-E.  But he had a great series, breaking the record for 3 pointers in the championship series.  This despite worrying about a sick child, and having Odom rake his face.

Doc should feel vindicated.  He was accused of being a horrible coach who should have been fired long ago.  He carried the stigma of never winning a playoff series as a coach.  Now he has coached a great Finals.  He outcoached the man wanting to surpass Red.  Danny didn’t give up on him, and he proved Danny right.  He was the right man for this team.

Indeed, how sweet it is.  Now, how about 18!

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In the first half of Game 4 of the NBA Finals I was discouraged and disappointed.  I figured we still had a shot at Game 5, but the Lakers were going to win Game 4.  Afterall, Lamar Odom showed up and the Celtics were playing no defense.

They sort of gave me a glimmer of hope as they cut the Laker lead to 12 just before the Lakers put on a mini-run to push the lead back up at the half.  Ray Allen was the only one who looked like he hadn’t been replaced by an alien look-alike.  Pierce, KG, Rondo … anyone you named- horrible!

Doc needs more credit than he gets.  He didn’t panic, and he assessed the situation well.  He and his coaches did  a great job.  They worked to spread the floor and give their guys room to run the offense.  Paul Pierce gets tons of credit for 1. volunteering to guard Kobe and doing a fantastic job, 2. reminding guys to play and not look at the score, 3. leading the charge offensively in the 3rd. 

The Celtics returned to playing defense, and shut down the Lakers.  I love that the Celtics didn’t give up, which would have been very easy.  But they kept going.  Leon Powe bought KG a few minutes of rest.  Pierce was utterly exhausted when this was over.  It is a testament to Ray Allen’s conditioning that he played the whole game and still had something left for that final layup on the isolation to basically seal the victory.  He was moving all night long and had increased ball handling responsibilities with Rondo on the bench during the stretch run.

(more…)

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My small consolation from Game 3 was that Pierce played horribly, and KG was sub-par.  And the Celtics still could have won that game.  It was ugly basketball.  The play is physical and the refs are inconsistent. 

The disconcerting question is what is wrong with Rajon’s ankle?  That could be a series altering injury.  Or, he could be perfectly fine in 2 days.

What I do know is that the Truth needs to return from Jet Lag City.  If he plays like he did in the first 2 games, the Celtics put this baby away, and quickly.  But if he struggles in LA, they are in big trouble.

Kudos to Ray Allen who was the only Celtic who seemed to have a good game.  He’s recovered from his slump, and that is good news folks.

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