A 1-4 defeat at the hands of Miami in the Eastern Conference Semifinal is extremely disappointing. Oh well, another season falling short of the ring. In a see-saw season for the Boston Celtics, our hopes began with “We are the most underrated championship contender ever in history”, then softened to “We are still looking ok, we have a chance”, then to “We can still turn it on when we need to, we have the Big 4”, to “We’re not doing very well at the moment but we have the heart of a champion”, to “Shaq is going to dominate when he returns, he’s going to turn this around”, to “We are too proud to go out like this, we just have to win 3 in a row”, to “Years of misery is forthcoming”.
Maybe not. Maybe we can still keep our core. There are some glaring holes that need to be filled, but if Doc returns we can put a great squad through a full training camp and be ready to contend for the title in a lockout-shortened season which will favour the old legs of our favourite OG Big 3.
Purely for dreaming purposes, we have compiled our 2011-2012 Celtic offseason wish-list…
1. Sign Doc Rivers
If we are to keep our core intact, it all starts with the brain.
2. Convince Shaq and Jermaine to retire
It’s obviously time to call it a day guys. Everyone knows how bad Shaq feels. We’re sure Jermaine feels guilty too.
3. Forget about the Perkins deal
Yeah, those days were good with Perk in the middle. It was sad to see him go and it was difficult to replace his services this season, but enough with the excuses. Psychologically the Celtics lost some toughness down the stretch, but it was mostly just in their heads. ‘Ubuntu’ lives on. The squad need to put the box of tissues away, move on and focus all their energy on the challenge ahead. Plus we were never going to use Perk in the closing lineup in tight games because of his deficiencies at the charity stripe. In a couple of months Green for Perkins looks like a steal for the Celtics.
3. Keep Ray Allen and Jeff Green
I’m confident that a Jeff Green who has completely assimilated to his new home, would not only be a youthful complimentary piece, but could surprisingly be the 6th man of the year. I’m imagining a confident go-to scorer in the second unit that can also be used as a stretch 4 once he gets his 3-point shooting touch back. He has the talent, IQ, athleticism and length to grow in to a versatile top 10 small forward in the mould of Lamar Odom. In the Boston system I also can see him be a great lock-down defender in the vein of an ’08-09 James Posey’.
Ray Allen has a player option on his contract so he can simply stay the course. But I smell a new deal for a smaller amount in the way of ubuntu.
4. Let Big Baby walk
Cult status doesn’t count for much if your team has big ambitions. BBD is good and has the tools to be effective in this league but not for the Celtics. I could see him tear it up for a team like Houston, Toronto or Golden State, who’s undersized bigmen are asked to hustle, run and score. In Boston his ceiling is “Meh”.
5. Look to free agency to fill the holes in the roster
Aside from Rondo, the Celtics do not have the desirable pieces or draft picks to make any flashy trades this summer. In fact, the pieces we hold are either not economical or are declining in value. Our only choice is to entice free agents who believe that they have a strong chance of winning a ring in Boston.
6. Stay old!
It might sound silly, but if we play our cards right, we can continue to pitch cheap contacts to ageing quality vets. This keeps us in the running for D12 in 2012. The O’Neil’s were busts last season, but there is a great crop to pick from in the upcoming market. Heady and tough veterans tend to fit the current defensive-minded and disciplined half-court style of the Celtics anyway.
7. Add role-playing bigs
Tyson Chandler most-likely will stay in Dallas if they get to the finals. If he somehow ends up in Boston they would automatically be at the top the Power Rankings going into next season.
Tim Duncan would want to retire in San Antonio but if they don’t resign him Boston would be a logical fit.
Samuel Dalembert won’t come cheap but doesn’t he address all of the issues we have? An obvious winner of a signing.
Chuck Hayes is a little undersized but is an extremely tough soldier. We would love to have him and his tremendous versatility. Hayes in place of Big Baby already makes us better.
Kris Humphries is someone we like as an inside presence. Underrated but highly skilled in the roles that the Celtics are lacking.
Yao Ming might not be wanted by anyone this summer. We’ll take the risk if it comes cheap. Boom or bust signing for whoever takes him.
Carl Landry always seems unwanted. We want him and his reliable scoring punch.
Ronny Turiaf can provide the shot-blocking we lack.
Reggie Evans can average 15-plus rebounds as a starter.
Kenyon Martin can definitely help and is ‘gettable’. The injury risk could pan out as deja vu so this one is a bit scary.
Joel Przybilla, always liked him and is a bench center monster!
Ben Wallace quietly had a solid season in Detroit. Over the hill but undeniably serviceable of the bench.
Alexis Ajinca is big, can block shots and shoot the three.
Joey Dorsey had one massive game in the single game he started last season. He was great in college. Is he a hidden gem?
Jason Collins as a plug-and-play defensive center. The Collins experiment worked against Dwight Howard for your information.
Jeff Foster, meh.
Erick Dampier, meh.
Ryan Hollins, meh. Actually, Hollins could play our tough guy.
We won’t catch Nene, Marc Gasol, Spencer Hawes or Dave West, so forget them. We wouldn’t mind having a go at Greg Oden but I think many franchises would also acknowledge his tremendous upside.
8. Strengthen scoring punch off the bench
Jeff Green will be primary option but there would be a need for some shooters at the backcourt positions. We could also use a ball handler and scorer in the post, preferably a back-to-the-basket type if they exist anymore.
Josh Howard is an obvious ‘want’. He has some ego problems though. Where he ends up depends on what every other GM sees in him.
Mike Dunleavy would be very nice. Thank you very much Larry Bird!
Leandro Barbosa would also be very nice as a FA pick-up. Additional ball-handling and athleticism here.
Michael Redd is healthy again and just might be able to reignite the flame he once had.
Boris Diaw can handle the ball for the second unit and play multiple positions.
Chris Douglas Roberts can flat-out score and could be handy off the bench. He doesn’t fit our ‘unwanted veteran’ brief but would be gettable.
Eddie House, Jason Kapono, Daequan Cook are some of the snipers we like best. No Sasha ‘the Machine’ Vujacic thanks.
Sought-after young guns who will be far too expensive include Rodney Stuckey, Wilson Chandler, Aaron Brooks, David West, Mark Gasol, Marcus Thornton, Aaron Afflalo, Goran Dragic, Jason Richardson and Jamal Crawford. We are allowed to dream of some freak signings though. It’s happened before.
9. Add some Defensive Glue (preferably with shooting ability)
Shane Battier was made for this Boston team.
Grant Hill gets that one last shot of the title that is due to him.
Andrei Kirilenko is a real long shot.
Tayshaun Prince could be nice.
Julian Wright could be our shiny new Posey.
Shawne Williams could be nice.
Anthony Parker is boring but fits.
Mickael Pietrus fits really well. My favourite of the bunch.
Jamario Moon almost fits but better suits a faster team.
10. Keep an eye on D12 for the following season
Who knows? Maybe Howard (Defensive Player of the Year for the last 3 seasons) wishes to rid himself of the Shaq comparisons and choose defensive-minded Boston instead of LA. In green he can be 2012’s Bill Russell and average a triple double with 20ppg, 20rpg and 10bpg.
The Good Life’s 2011-2012 Boston Celtic Roster Version 1.0
“Could this possibly happen? Hope the roster shakes out exactly like this…”
PG – Rajon Rondo
SG – Ray Allen
SF – Paul Pierce
PF – Kevin Garnett
C – Samuel Dalembert
6 – Jeff Green (SF/PF)
7 – Chuck Hayes (PF/C)
8 – Grant Hill (SG/SF)
9 – Joel Przybilla (C)
10 – Eddie House (PG/SG)
11 – Michael Redd (SG)
12 – TJ Ford (PG)
13 – Jason Collins (C)
The big signings above are Dalembert and Hayes. If the books are cleared of the O’Neil’s we definitely can make offers to them. If they sign, the rest falls into place. With Hill and Redd going all-in with Boston for their final appearance, a rehabilitating Przybilla signing up for the veteran project where he is always content with a bench role on a winning squad, then House returning to his old house and Ford and Collins rounding it all out. It will be a welcome 1-year dance for most of these pick-ups and Boston will have a chance to rebuild from scratch around Rondo and possibly Howard.
The Good Life’s 2011-2012 Boston Celtic Roster Version 2.0
“Really dreaming hard here but we win with this squad.”
PG – Rajon Rondo
SG – Ray Allen
SF – Paul Pierce
PF – Kevin Garnett
C – Tyson Chandler
6 – Jeff Green (SF/PF)
7 – Leandro Barbosa (PG/SG)
8 – Kris Humphries (PF/C)
9 – Josh Howard (SG/SF)
10 – Chuck Hayes (PF/C)
11 – Michael Pietrus (SG/SF)
12 – Ben Wallace (PF/C)
13 – Eddie House (PG/SG)
There is obviously too much wealth of talent and upside here. It looks like a stretch but all these free agents will be in the lower tier on the list of available players this summer. Except for Chandler, Hayes and Humphries, they all heavily regressed last season and can be had at basement prices. Chandler will most probably stay in Dallas but I can’t help but rectify our mistake of not signing him last year. Humphries is next, offering him a solid role as first big off the bench. Then you offer Barbosa big minutes in a free-flowing offensive tandem with Jeff Green on the second unit, to spell Allen and Pierce who will enjoy playing fewer minutes. Josh Howard and Pietrus are well worth a gamble. Big Ben and House are easy gets. Chuck Hayes is too good to be on the end of the bench, but let me dream. Crazier things have happened in this league.
Enjoy the rest of the playoffs everyone. The best since 92-93. “Beat the Heat!!!”