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On another forum, I was asked what I thought Danny Ainge should do to get the Celtics back in good form...I thought I would repost my response here to open it up for comment...The first portion is in response to another person's post saying they didn't think that the C's needed an upgrade at the 4 or 5 spot.
First, let's talk about Kendrick Perkins...decent player? yes. could develop? yes. Eventual All-Star? no.
The last team to win a championship without a dominant bigman was the last Bulls championship. Even in the years that MJ was out, Hakeem dominated.
Hakeem, Timmy, Shaq, Ben/Rasheed recently..historically Kareem, Wilt, Robertson, and other big men have been of great importance.
For this reason, NBA teams *must* overpay for size.
The Paul Pierce Problem
My arguement is that the Celtics should either A) Trade Paul Pierce for an expiring contract or draft picks and then use his salary to lure a player such as Ben Wallace away from the Pistons or B) Trade Pierce for 2 role players and a 2nd round pick...
If you're a C's fan, you're saying "Oh but Pierce is worth more than that!" Sure he is, but thats the best you're going to get for Pierce straight up...*rarely* do All-stars get All-stars in return. Artest for Peja was an anomaly...
What is fortunate for the C's is that Pierce's stock is high right now..the biggest issue is that this year's free agent class is quite simply the worst set of free agents in recent memory which is a blessing and a curse for Boston. This means that giving up Pierce for an expiring contract is a shaky situation in the short term because there are few free agents worth signing, however this also means that the trade market will be in full swing and that Pierce will gain more than he's really worth (Maybe 2 role players and a first round pick)...
So don't trade Pierce..doesn't that solve the Pierce problem?
Now you might say, why trade Pierce at all?
Well, you're talking about a player that is in his 2nd to last year of his contract, so it is likely best to trade him sooner than later....
What? What does that mean?
It means that if he isn't signed to a contract extension passed the 06-07 season, he has the option of becoming a free agent..other notable Celtics that have this option as well including Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins.
This means that resigning both of these players, along with paying out the substantially larger salary of Wally Szerbiak (approx. double what Ricky Davis made..wally gets 9mil per season, 5.6mil for Davis) will make the C's either A) unable to pay Pierce or B) over the cap and thus financially impotent in 2 years when a better free agent class comes out.
Another thing to keep in mind here...if the Celtics don't trade Pierce this off-season, they will be forced into the situation Atlanta is in with Al Harrington right now...Atlanta is concerned that because they aren't winning, Harrington will jump ship at season's end regardless of how much they pay him. They could have taken *aweful* midseason deals for Harrington, but chose not to because it was better to take a chance on hoping Harrington would come back than giving him up for nothing.
If the Celtics decide to do this, they run the same risk...Pierce could simply think "I'm never winning here, I can get a better offer elsewhere, I'm out.." then the Celtics get *nothing* for Pierce.
Ok dude, not that I actually read any of that mess, but if you're so smart about this why aren't *you* the Celtics GM? If you were, what would *you* do about this, smarty pants?
I'm not the GM because I don't play well with others
The first thing I would do is work to making the best trade I can for Pierce immediately. I would take two role players (hopefully one with some size) and a draft pick. This would allow me to keep my young core.
As long as we're in rebuilding mode, I'd see what I could get for Wally..at least test the waters..it is possible that the Raptors would be willing to part with Bosh for Wally and Pierce, and so a package deal for a young guy with size would be optimal...Colangelo is smart enough to know that Bosh is going to leave in 2 years, so he might be willing to do that trade despite the intra-division issues...other guys to pursue: Mehmet Okur, Chris Wilcox, and Tim Thomas...each guy has talent, size, is in a Western Conference team, and has the possibilty to be pried away...other less likey candidates are Elton Brand, and Troy Murphy...Murphy's salary is too large, but Brand might be a good option if Wally and Pierce were packaged.
Once Pierce and possibly Wally are gone, I would trade away one of my PGs...my preference would be to ship Dan Dickau out to some western conference team for a 2nd round draft pick.
Now that my salary is waaaaay under the cap, I wait. I make smart draft decisions for players with size, and I let the team get their asses kicked for a year. In 2007 with the most young talent and the most available money in the league I have my choice of basically any free agent in the pool...
2007 Free Agent pool includes: Dirk Nowitzki, Rashard Lewis, Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, and Vince Carter.
I would have a young core, and I'd go for Dirk...Dirk + my young core 2 years wiser would have a *great* chance of defeating anyone in the Atlantic Division...we know that A.I. isn't getting any real help, the Knicks are down and out, Raptors are in some trouble, and the Nets could lose J-Kidd and VC in the next couple seasons leaving them impotent as well.
I won't go 3+ years in depth here...but if Ainge is smart, he'll consider what I've written here...Are you reading, Danny?!
Yup... Toronto is going to trade Bosh for Pierce and Wally (what would Toronto have to thrown in to make this deal even close to "legal"?), because Toronto knows Bosh isn't going to stay, but Pierce, whose contract runs only a little longer, is?
2012 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
2011 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws
I wouldn't exactly call Big Ben a dominant low post guy. Ben Wallace is a perfect compliment for the Pistons. All other 4 starters can score on their own and Big Ben is the shot blocker and rebounder. If the Celtics got rid of Pierce and signed Big Ben, they wouldn't win 20 games. There aren't many dominant big men in this league at the Center position..The only one that really comes to mind is Shaq and he's on the decline.
Needless to say, the only way the Celtics can turn their team around is through drafting alot of young players and developing them. If you gave Pierce a decent low post player, the Celtics would be a 40 win team and a playoff team guaranteed. The only problem is that they don't have anyone to trade for that low post player.
If i'm Danny Ainge there are 3 players that I get rid of.
- Paul Pierce: Great player. I love his game but he is to good to be on such a young team and his contract takes up some major cap room. Don't waste this guy's talent while he is in his prime to play on a bad team.
- Wally: To big of a contract for a player who isn't worth what he is paid.
Reaf: Same as Wally. Not worth his salary.
I highly doubt that these 3 players can be traded easily but I think that with stupid GMs like Zeke out there, and if either Wally or Reaf was packaged along with Pierce, that atleast 2 of these 3 can be traded.
The Cetlics do have some nice young players to build off of:
- Delonte West
- Gerald Green
- Al Jefferson
- Kendrick Perkins
- Orien Greene
- Ryan Gomes
To put it shortly the Cetlics need to keep their younger talent, get rid of the bad contracts, and try and get picks and/or young talents.