Monday, August 06, 2007

Celtics: The Way Forward

Here was my reaction to the Celtics getting the worst possible draft choice - #5 - available to the in the 2007 draft. Originally posted on 5/22/07.
Now that the pipe dream of a lucky lottery solving all our problems has burst, where do we go?

Our greatest area of weakness last year was at PF. ANY time Scalabrine is penciled in a lineup that is a sure sign.

The best way to move forward is to deal for a vet PF.

Three come to mind: Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol.

What are our assets? The #5 pick, Theo's, Telfair's and Gomes expiring contracts and Green. (I won't include Sczcerbiak, Tony Allen or Kendrick Perkins due to injury/contract issues.) Pierce, Jefferson and Rondo are the only 'untouchable' players.

With those kind of resources you are basically looking for a trade partner looking to dump salary and start fresh, cheap and energetic.

I seriously doubt we have a chance at Garnett. Granted, this is McHale we are talking about so I guess anything is possible... but I seriously doubt it. We don't have enough in expiring contracts to make it worthwhile and if we have to part with our untouchables, then we will not have enough left to make the game with the candle.

I feel similarly about O'Neal. Indiana has so much sunk in player contracts (Murphy, Dunleavy, Tinsley) that freeing them of one of them does not do enough for them. Add to this calculus that O'Neal makes nearly as much as Garnett but is not nearly as desirable.

That brings us to Gasol. Wiping out his contract would bring Memphis significantly below the cap. Also it would make it a much more attractive buy (the franchise is on the market) since it will already be in position to turn a profit. Memphis has the #4 pick so the addition of #5 will give them great flexibility at the top of the draft with the potential to draft big and small. I would think some combo of Ratliff, Green, Gomes, Telfair, Gomes and the #5 would at least get their attention.

One last thought: we should not overlook Andrei Kirilenko. BSG has mentioned this option too. AK47 He hasn't looked too hot playing out of position at SF in Utah this season, but he would be a great fit in Boston at PF - great D, rebound, help D, blocked shots - energy. Kirilenko for Sczcerbiak and the #5 would help both teams, but it is hard to gauge the balance due to injury and the depth of the draft. It would make Utah only a reliable SG shy of having one of the best starting five, and that could be remedied with the 5th pick in the draft or the inclusion of West or Green. On the other hand, I'd like to see at least a 1st rounder come back our way, but then this is where Danny has to show his worth.