Sunday, December 25, 2011

1 More Gift To Unwrap...

Merry Christmas everyone...and just as important, Merry Opening Day, NBA Fans!

I have to admit, I was just as excited for NBA Tip-Off at 11am as I was for any of the gift giving this morning (not the family time...remember, this IS Christmas, people...value the time, especially when you don't live close to them!), making sure the last gift was opened and put away by 10:59.

Great day of NBA Basketball. Sure, we're not going to learn everything from these 5 games, but as I settle in for the 5th, where Lob City (I prefer LA-oop) takes the floor agains the Warriors, here are my quick hits on the 4 games that tipped off earlier today.

-The Knicks apparently thought the NBA plays by NASCAR rules now and the first win is the most heavily weighted. Sure, its a big win, it give them motivation, exorcises a few demons and sets the tone for the expectations inside of MSG this year, but if Crawford doesn't give Melo a gift call, that game goes to overtime at best. I refuse to submit the "Pierce didn't play" card. You dance with what you have. They didn't have Amare in the playoffs. Good win, but remember, there are 65 more, plus playoffs.

-Rajon Rondo is letting the trade rumors get to him, but in a good way. No. 9 is going to go off this year. Nothing like playing with a chip on your shoulder. Will be nice when he has the full starting unit and the 2nd unit can gel and give them some time. This kid could have a special year. Maybe its good they kept him.

-Brandon Bass made me, as well as Danny Ainge, look like a genius today. I said from the get-go this guy was a steal for BBD and he didn't disappoint today. When Pietrus is playing, the 2nd unit is going to be solid. Dooling worries me, but Pietrus, Wilcox, Bass and Daniels will minimize his flaws I hope.

-The Heat may possibly go 60-6. Wow. Nothing else to say here. Buckle in, C's fans...Tuesday might get ugly.

-Many will say D-Rose took the throne from Kobe by hitting his shot and Bryant missing his. Maybe he did. All I know is, Boston, Dallas, LAL all lost today, yet I'm not worried about any of them. This was the 3rd pre-season game. Sure, big games on paper for all of them, but I think all 3 are built for May. Now its just a matter of if the coaching and legs can get them there.

-OKC is the best in the West. I'm convinced. Perk looks healthy (and slim), Harden showed up, just like I think he will all year and nothing to say about the dynamic duo...they're good to go.

Sure, I'd have loved for Santa to deliver a C's victory for me today and I think 0-2 is a realistic possibility. But, if the 2nd unit pans out and Doc can play the Big 3 about 30 min a game and do no worse than the 6 seed (avoiding MIA and CHI in the first round), I say just get there. Truth be told, I'm just glad I'm on my 11th hour of watching NBA Basketball right now. I'll start worrying next week!

Merry Christmas, everyone. Enjoy CP3, Blake and the Clips. Anyone who hasn't bet the over on this one gave away a Christmas bonus!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sight For Sore Eyes...

Celtics Basketball is back! Mike & Tommy (Hell, I was even happy to see Dickerson on the sidelines!) were in Toronto to call the pre-season tilt vs. the Raptors. After 211 days, the Green were back in action. Here are some of my thoughts from the first quarter:

-The baseline design of the Raptors court that makes it look like there is a raised A-Frame there is trippy.

-Scoring was not at a premium early for this squad. Hoping slow starts won't be the norm. It won't be pretty.

-JO7 is a man on a mission this season. Looked really good early.

-Nice to see Marquis back in Green and healthy.

-Rondo seemed to be ready to play, no ill effects of the trade machine. Elbow looked healthy too.

-Brandon Bass is going to be a key guy for this team. I'm calling it now.

Enjoy the game, fans. We've waited a long time for some game action. The real deal is only a week away!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Not Easy Being Green...

Nobody can ever say this Celtics franchise doesn't have heart. We've had them stopped (Bias), attacked (Reggie) and now in need of surgery (Jeff Green). Not the best news on the eve of the C's first pre-season contest against the Raptors.

Jeff Green will miss this season as he will undergo heart surgery on January 9 in Cleveland. First and foremost, this is not about basketball and everyone in Celtics Nation wishes Jeff a full and speedy recovery. While the team will miss what Green brings to the table, there are bigger concerns long-term for this youngster.

Unfortunately, the NBA is a business (the last few months were a harsh reminder of that) and the Celtics will need to figure out what to do with the roster to replace what Green was expected to bring to the table. There are two options: go with the current roster or look to the free-agent pool. Let's take a quick look at both options.

Danny Ainge has done a tremendous job with the roster over the frenzied week of free agency. Bringing in Dooling and Wilcox, flipping Big Baby for Brandon Bass and bringing Green back were all great moves. This is a deep team, something they're going to need as the season imposes its heavy demands on an aging core. Being able to bring in a second unit that could hold their own was important. Even without Green, this team still has that.

Coming off the bench as the 6th man will now be Brandon Bass. I'm telling you right now, this is one of the most underrated moves of the off-season, league-wide. Doc will use Bass properly, unlike Stan Van Gundy and Orlando. He is an improvement over Glen and will pay dividends all year long. Add in Dooling, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels (Welcome Back) and Wilcox, and you seem to have a pretty strong 2nd unit. We didn't even include the 2 Purdue rookies, Johnson and Moore, or Pavlovic (but why would we?).

At first glance, this team could be deep enough to run with what Danny provided and see what happens. Sure, you'll ask a bit more out of Bass, Dooling and Daniels in the scoring department, but all should be up to the challenge. However, there are a few options left out there that could provide a punch if they're willing to come in for the vet minimum. Let's take a look:

-Gilbert Arenas: Could the Hibachi get it cooking in Boston? Seems far-fetched, but if anyone could control him, you'd have to think it was Doc. Plus, he's only a few years removed from averaging over 28 ppg. His entertainment value could help us forget about the Big Shamrock being retired as well. Odds: slim.

-DeShawn Stevenson: Perfect fit. Swagger that the 2nd unit will need. Can knock down big shots. Most importantly, he shuts down LeBron so well you'd think his name was Fourth Quarter. You know you're going through Miami in the East this year, why not take a flier on this guy? Odds: 50/50.

-Michael Redd: Could provide the scoring needed, but health concerns make this one risky. Seems more inclined to head to one of the hotspots: NYK, MIA, LAL. Odds: longshot.

-James Posey: Familiar with the system, fan favorite, easily available for the vet min and should help a contender. Odds: Starting to seem like the best bet to fill Green's spot.

Personally, I'm all about Stevenson. I can live with Posey if he can make it though the season. But, if Danny says the guys we have are the guys we're going with, I'm OK with that too.

8 Days till the games count...let's see what Danny has under the tree for Doc when they tip off.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

CP3 Revisited

Tomorrow is finally upon us. Free agents, trades, everything all you NBA die-hards are dying for. Silly Season kicks off in earnest at 2pm. News is already hitting the airwaves (Battier & Curry to the Heat...who look scary all of a sudden) about some signings and intended moves, but of course the top story is where is Chris Paul playing on Christmas Day?

First off, everyone needs to stop reading into CP3 saying he won't sign an extension. Just like Deron Williams said, it costs them money to do so. He's not extending even if the Lakers got him. Smarter to wait for July and use the Bird rights. So whoever trades for him, except NY and maybe the Lakers, has to sweat this season out and hope they aren't renting this guy for 66 games and a playoff run.

That being said, teams will be scared off (see: Clippers and Warriors) by this roll of the dice and pull out of the sweepstakes. That leaves one option: Boston.

The Celtics HAVE to make this move tomorrow. There are a list of reasons why:
1. Rondo is a head case and all the rumors have already ruined his season. Trust me. Don't trust me? Then trust Shaq. Trust what happened after the Perk deal. Trust he will not be the Rondo you love this season. Its time for him to go.

2. You need Paul in camp immediately. Need him to start working with the Big 3, Doc, learning the system, etc. You only have 15 days until the opener. No time to waste.

3. Short camp. As mentioned, there are only a little over 2 weeks to prep for the season. You want the team focused on the Knicks and 12/25, not the day's latest rumor. We've had no basketball to worry about for months. Time to change that and make it the ONLY thing this team is worried about.

4. Roster purposes. CP3 in Green on Day 1 gives you a chance to land some of the mid-level and vet-min guys that maybe you wouldn't have. People doubt this team (based on the schedule and the crazy road trips, I don't blame them) and this gives them a shot to erase some of the doubt.

Danny talked about a 5 year plan years ago, one that delivered Banner 17. He's talking about a plan to restore relevance to this team in free agency. I believed once, I'll believe again. He knows what he's doing and he's setting the stage for a big 2012. Might as well get a jump on it and end 2011 with a big acquisition.

T-minus 26 hours...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buckle Up. The Ride Is About To Start!

Tomorrow morning at 10am EST, teams and players will be allowed to communicate. This will be the first time Mark Cuban will be able to congratulate his guys on downing LeBron (remember the awkward ESPY's moment?), that Wyc can tell Rondo to "suck it up, rumors and criticism come with the territory, now get ready to play", while GM's in New Orleans and Orlando will hear the 2 words they've been dreading since June, "Trade Me".

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe for a second that owners and players haven't spoken since July 1 (although the story about Jay-Z making security send NBA players home from a GQ party in his honor is pretty funny), but for the sake of the lockout and this soon to be wild free-agency period, sure, I'll bite.

So, everyone exchanges greetings tomorrow, catches up on their summer full of pick-up games, enjoying time off and (hopefully) preparing to play ball. Then, it will be time to get down to business. Five days of furious rumors, meetings, reports from airports and all the fun stuff we were robbed of this summer, all packed into a wild week that will blow the roof off of Friday. Settle in, its going to be fun!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Just makes me that much more excited for Christmas Day!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where Have I Heard This Before?

So Ric Bucher and a handful of the other NBA pundits decided to try and squash the dreams in my first blog, almost immediately coming out and talking about how the Hornets don't want Rondo and think they can do better. Last I checked, Rondo is a Top 5 PG in the league and I'm pretty sure D-Rose isn't going anywhere, same with Deron Williams, so I'd love to know what they're looking for. Immediately this spurred the 3-Team trade talk (Indiana apparently jumped right in...again, not sure how they help) and I'm still convinced only OKC can facilitate a 3-Teamer that makes sense. Personally I think the NOLA GM is posturing, hoping to drive up the price. In the end I think Boston has the chips, or at a minimum could pull another team in with the chips, to get the deal down. Too bad it seems like that's not the real issue here.

Early this morning Bucher tweeted that CP3 said he wouldn't sign an extension with Boston if he was traded there and that he thought the Clippers, among others, could offer better deals than the C's did. Again, I'm not concerned with anyone else's offer. I'm confident Danny can make this happen. But I did chuckle at all the noise Bucher's "CP3 won't sign in Boston" news riled up the Celtics faithful.

Having not lived in MA for 7 years now, I tend to forget how fast Boston fans go right into the tank at the mere hint of bad news (remember the 2 games the Pats lost in a row a few weeks back...distant memory) and sure enough, they were taking the Titanic right to the bottom of the ocean with this news. Apparently, four years created a lot of memory loss on Causeway St.

Doesn't anyone remember a certain fiery PF from the Timberwolves telling the Celtics to not even bother with trade talks, that he wasn't signing with Boston? KG, Kevin Garnett, The Big Ticket...any of those ring a bell? When Danny first tried to land #5, he said the same things CP3 is. Sure enough, Draft Day comes, Ray comes aboard and sure enough, there is KG standing there with Allen and Pierce smiling as visions of Banner 17 danced in all of our heads.

Don't think the same won't happen here. Dwight Howard mentions to Paul that he'd consider Boston if he went there and they could get 1 more season of the Big 3 (KG and Ray on minimum deals) next year...Danny pulls off the Tyson Chandler move, giving Chris the big man he needs to be successful...some move none of us have even thought about yet comes to fruition (I think Danny has a big one up his sleeve for Dec. 9, but we'll see) and all of a sudden, ditching #3 and chasing down #18 doesn't look so bad for Paul now, does it?

Agents and teams are talking, just teasing us all for next Friday when the real fun begins. I'm not giving up hope on Chris Paul in Celtics green yet!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rondo: Should he stay or should he go?

I thought hearing David Aldridge say that the Celtics were looking hard at Tyson Chandler would be the highlight of my pre-December 9th waiting for the NBA silly season to kick off...

Little did I know that a few hours of sleep would render that report from Aldridge meaningless in my "aspiring GM" thought process of the next 10 days. Danny Ainge had let it be known that he would be "open" to trading PG Rajon Rondo. Immediately, the first thought in my head was "CP3...Then Dwight...Then Banners 18, 19, 20 (before I started to sound like LeBron I stopped...3 would be plenty--to start!) raised to the rafters". Now as Jim Carrey once said, "fiction can be fun", so I wanted to take a step back and see if this all made sense before I got on and customized my Paul #13 (DJ's #3 is retired, RIP) jersey.

First off, does trading Rondo make sense? To me, absolutely. He's got a modest contract for an All-Star PG. 4 years and $46m left. Reasonable, especially for an NBA-owned NOLA franchise that needs to save money. Second, Rondo isn't a score first PG. He's done well when thrust into that role, but its not home for him. CP3 can easily take the scoring load off the Big 3 and at times will have to as they trudge through a sloppy, condensed season.  Third, CP3 will attract free agents, namely Dwight Howard. Boston on its own isn't going to attract them, cap space or not. It allows the Celtics to sidestep the 1993 disaster that was the end of the original Big 3 when the cupboard was left bare (both tragically and by not moving anyone before it was too late) and we had to suffer through years of agony before Danny got things right in 2007.

Sure, there are reasons not to explore the deal, namely Rondo's psyche if they don't move him. Look at what happened when Perk got dealt...or when President Obama questioned his jumper. The kid is fragile and this could slow him from the start in a season when all systems have to be go from the start. There's also the fear that Paul wouldn't sign an extension with Boston (I'd have to believe a deal wouldn't be consummated without that first). Furthermore, there is no guarantee that getting Chris Paul guarantees Dwight Howard. Now you're left with Paul, 1 year of Pierce and KG and Ray either off the books or back and really, really old. Not very attractive to future free agents. Sort of like the year Orlando missed out on Duncan and everyone else.

None of these reasons are enough to sway me at this point though. If Danny can make the deal, even if it takes a 3-team swap (NOLA is rumored to be scoffing at Rondo; my guess is to drive up the price) with OKC to send Westbrook to the Hornets and Rondo to Oklahoma, it has to happen. This, in fact, might make the most sense, as Westbrook needs a change of scenery after last year's playoffs and would still provide star power to New Orleans, while Rondo would be the PERFECT point-guard for KD as he dominates the league this year (the only guy balling consistently during the lockout...just watch).

With 10 days to go before free agency and Camps open up, we're sure to hear hundreds of rumors. Some will be outlandish, some impossible and some completely plausible. I know that I won't hear a better one than this though. Now I just have to wait and see if Danny can make it a reality.