Post-game Reactions

Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog got this ball rolling a couple of days ago by linking to Tom Ziller’s must-read list of the top 50 free agents this coming summer.

As you undoubtedly know, the Celtics are going to be excluded from the maximum contract LeBron-Wade-Bosh derby. There are, however, some interesting questions Ziller and Clark bring up:

1) Does Paul Pierce opt out of his $21 million option? If he does—and if the C’s renounce salary cap  holds (and, thus, Bird Rights) on their remaining free agents—the C’s will find themselves under the cap with a total committed salary in the mid-$40 millions, with a projected cap in the $50-$55 million range, according to ShamSports.com. I’ve been adamant that Pierce won’t leave this kind of money on the table, but the possibility of a strict new collective bargaining agreement unfavorable to players does raise the possibility (as Ziller notes) that Pierce might opt out now and sign a three- or four-year deal just to create some stability for himself.

2) What do to with Ray Allen?

Ray’s an unrestricted free agent, but the C’s will have his full Bird Rights, meaning they can go over the cap to keep him. Should they? For how much?

3) The mid-level. The C’s will have the full mid-level exception to use, and they’ll definitely use it. Here is a random list of intriguing names that could be available for the mid-level:

Marcus Camby. Do you want another aging big? Well, this one tries hard and is in shape…

Brendan Haywood. Drooling contenders always interested in size will likely bid Haywood above the mid-level. Right?

Ronnie Brewer. A 6’7” swing man who can defend both the two and three but has never emerged as a scorer. Still just 24, but a restricted free agent, meaning the Grizzlies control his rights.

Travis Outlaw. He’s young (25), a willing clutch shooter, a small forward, and has the tools to be a solid defender. All of that might push him above the mid-level, though he’s coming off an injury-plagued season.

Kelenna Azubukie. A bad ass. I love him.

Josh Howard. Maybe the wildest of the wild cards in this free agent class. This season was a total wash out, and it ended with a torn ACL. At 29, he’s also older than you think.

Amir Johnson. Works his ass off on both ends, a solid athlete who understands his offensive limits. And boy is his offense limited. Toronto may have the most awkward front court finishing combo in the league in Amir and Reggie Evans.

Grant Hill. It’s the summer of 2009 all over again! Hill loves Phoenix, so I’m not sure it’s a lock he declines his $3.2 million player option.

Am I missing any good mid-level candidates, guys? Check out the list and let me know. Please keep in mind that a) you can split the mid-level up among multiple players; and b) the C’s do not have the biannual exception (valued at around $2 million) because they used it last off-season on Marquis Daniels.

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  • kenyatta

    Mike Miller and Rasual Butler. Both are swingmen that can shoot and have enough size to guard the 2 and 3. But if the Celtics got a swingman, wouldn’t they have to trade Daniels or TA? And how about that Barron guy in NY?

  • will

    daniels is a FA right? thought that was just a one year deal.

  • @will: Yes, DAniels was a one-year guy. But you can only use the biannual every two seasons.

  • Cos

    i’ve been hoping the Celts make a move for Childress for the past couple of seasons. Solid player who can play and defend a couple of positions, can handle the ball, and most importantly, can run with rondo in the open court.

    In my opinion, the biggest need for the team going forward is an athlete that can run with rondo, and plays to rondo’s strengths. TA doesnt have the handle, or the shooting, but when he’s on, you can see what an asset someone like him can be with rondo at the point.

    Im not suggesting that the team should push the old guys out the door, but that the team should start to get guys that complement rondo as in 3 years time, its officially his team.

    other ideas – imagine having childress, getting rid of nate, daniels, and maybe losing TA, and having Ray Allen as a 6th man. There’s your scorer and/or back up point off the bench.

    get rid of baby as no matter what he does, he’s still undersized to get a rebound when you have to have it, let alone put it back in the hoop.

    Once again, im hoping the team finally drafts a euro at some point in the draft and has him develop in europe for a year or two. cheap way to get a guy and have him develop without him affecting the current payroll. I never understand why they dont do this.


  • Snacks

    What about Josh Childress? Atlanta is going to be too busy pursuing Joe Johnson. We might be able to sneak in and nab him during the free agency rush.

  • Snacks

    I didn’t notice Cos’s post. I fully agree. I like the fact that he can run with Rondo, but I’d place more importance on his Perimeter Defense. Especially now that KG no longer erases defensive mistakes like he did in 2008.

  • I’ve also been on the childress bandwagon for a couple of years–wrote a post on him last off-season. I think Atlanta will make it difficult for anyone who is really interested, and the C’s, assuming PP re-ups, don’t have the resources to really push ATL in that regard.

  • w2

    Daniels is gone unless he plays a role in bring the C’s a championship. I have visions of Q. Poindexter dancing in my head for help on the wing.

    I would keep Ray. There are few like him in the league.

    Amir Johnson is fairly limited, but could be fun running with TA and Rondo on the break. But would he get minutes and does he give you more than Sheldon (cheaper) who will have a year under his belt of learning defensive rotations? Not so sure.

    It will be fun to see what Danny and Co. pull together for next year.

  • matt

    if only sheed was only 1 year we could get a good player and chance for another championship….

  • Cos

    zack, I know the ziller piece lists childress as a restricted FA, but as I understand it, I thought the restricted aspect was only for the year he was gone, and since this is his second season away from the team, he’s now unrestricted. Im a long time NBA follower and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a player that was restricted for multiple consecutive seasons.

  • Jay P

    Atl is going to be pushing hard to re-sign Johnson, if Ainge gets sneaky, it might be possible to slip something in under the radar and steal him away while their focus is elsewhere.

    I don’t pretend to understand the CBA, it’s crazy, I got a better chance understanding Obama’s health care package.

    Does seem weird to me that Childress would still be restricted though.

  • slam

    I’d like to see us get Chris Duhon. Yes, as a starter, I think he’s terrible, but as a back up, I don’t think there are many better options if you’re looking for someone that will pass first, defend and spread the floor. We’ve screwed around for 3 years with Cassell/House/Marbury/Robinson as the backup point guard, and none of them are even close to what we need.

  • How about Luke Ridnour instead? I hate Chris Duhon. He’s awful, back-up or starter.

  • slam

    I think Luke Ridnour is a terrible defender, isn’t he? Besides that, yes, he’s great, but this team is always defense first. Every one of the guys we’ve had backing up Rondo over the last 3 season has been a bad defender in my opinion. I’m sure you you could (and might) do a more indepth analysis by looking at the numbers in the off season when there is more time for things like this! 🙂

  • jeryl

    Get rid of marquis dainiels, rasheed wallace, uno uno, scal, foe a good big center and a good shooting guard keep the three as super subs draft damarcus cousins,

  • @slam: Absolutely–much more to come in the off-season, of course. Ridnour is a below avg defender, yes, but systems matter a lot in defense. Ray Allen was a below average defender, too.

    I just like Ridnour because he can shoot–at least this season.

  • DRJ1

    I have a feeling (without evidence) that Paul is not planning on playing in the NBA for more than 1 or 2 more years. He’s been talking about retirement more and more, usually in passing, but still, it’s not something you do unless you see it coming pretty clearly. He even mentioned it in his first blog entry. Plus he has some kind of chronic issue in his knee.

    So, yeah, I think he will not exercise his option, and will stick around for the last year of the big bucks, then look around and decide what to do in 2011.

  • jeryl

    SLAM true to a point but i think nate is worth it he can get hot behind the three he need more consistent playing instead of the bench we got two good point guard rondo and nate we need another big like kevin or the old sheed and shooting guard like ray and pierce if not better get rid of [DANIELS, SHEED, UNO UNO,SCAL]” point blank period”.

  • Jay P

    The way he’s played most of this year, and the fact that he’s apparently completely lost the ability to create his own shot on that step back 15-18ft jump shot makes Paul Pierce not even close to worth spending 21 million on next year.

    I’m still hoping against hope that Paul will be the team player, and not take the option, give up a little cash (not like he needs it anyway) and structure a deal that will both allow him to finish his career in Boston (2-3 years maybe) and give the team some extra cash to spend elsewhere and maybe just maybe find some pieces to keep (make?) this team a contender.

  • al

    Mike Miller’s game died when he got traded to Minny, C’s need bench guys who aren’t one dimentional,

    Azabuke would be the ultimate get, he plays D, and hits 3’s, he’s like TA+Nate in one player, Travis Outlaw would be good as well…

  • Johnny Ratzloff

    How about JJ Redick? I love this guy’s shooting, and he can eventually become ray allens replacement when he retires/leaves. Or if we get lucky, Anthony Morrow? And I doubt we could get him, and i know his age is hitting 30’s but John Salmons?

  • dslack

    Pierce giving up some cash wouldn’t really help the team. He’d need to give up a huge amount. And why would he do that? It’s nice to be nice and all, but even if he gave up his entire salary and re-signed for the veteran’s minimum of about $1M, and even if the Celtics renounced their rights to Ray Allen, the Celtics would still have their first round pick, who will draw a couple million in salary, and therefore would only have like $8M available under the cap. And no midlevel exception. And no Ray Allen. And this is a ridiculous scenario anyway. If Pierce doesn’t give up more than $16M or so in salary, there’s no benefit to the team in terms of being able to sign new players, only to the owners, who would save some money.

  • Count me in the Mike Miller camp. His game has declined playing for two miserable teams lately, but having a legitamate deep threat off the bench that can play 25-30 minutes and keep Ray’s and Pierce’s minutes down I’m all for it.He may be a bit too expensive for C’s blood though.

  • Salmons is slated to make $5.8M next year with a player option. If he turns that down, it stands to reason he’ll ask for more than the mid-level. Redick is restricted, and Orlando likes him.

  • I love Green

    I’d love us to get Brewer for the mid level. The guy has lockdown defense, hes tall, and is still developing into an offensive player. Plus he can back up Pierce, or whoever our SG will be next year. If that doesn’t work, a good backup PG could be Ridnour or Felton. Our biggest concern will be getting a replacement for Ray, Paul, and KG. I don’t think Danny sees Big Baby as Kevin’s replacement, but he’d be good to keep as an active bench player.

  • I love Green

    Oh and we need to give Anthony Morrow a look. He can shoot like Eddie House, but can also hold his own on the defensive end. Hopefully Paul opts out of his deal to sign a much smaller one. Then we could start working for the future with that extra cash

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    i see the future and it looks…..bleak. the Cs are handcuffed by unmovable deals to aging veterans. my predictions…
    – pierce opts in
    – ray says, thanks but no thanks, signs multiyear elsewhere
    – finley says, thanks but no thanks, and signs 1year elsewhere
    – TA is reupped 1year
    – shelden is reupped 1year
    – quis gone (if he gets an offer elsewhere, otherwise signs 1year)
    – nate gone
    – scal gone
    – landry gone
    – mid-level spent on a journeyman SG
    – perk traded for picks/prospects/expirings before the deadline next year
    – pierce traded for picks/prospects/expirings before the deadline next year
    – Cs miss playoffs and get lottery pick
    – doc is let go
    – *new CBA in effect*
    – kg and sheed retire after season
    – Cs miss playoffs and get lottery pick lowest of the low.
    – rondo frustrated with rebuilding process, danny asks for patience.
    – Cs miss playoffs and get lottery pick
    – most exciting young team in basketball (think OKC) makes an unexpected push into the postseason
    – conference finals
    – banner#18

    CONCLUSION: enjoy the playoffs this year 🙂

  • shane

    @dont_drink_the_koolaid wow yhu summed tht up pretty good lol but no i think pierce is going to stay a celtic untill he retires and i would keep perk he is a good center but sheed is taking his mins and sheed is lazy !

  • Perry

    I agree that any major free agent move would depend on Pierce opting out. I have no idea what he would do. I do think Ray will either stay in Boston or move down I95 to MSG. Is 8 million for 2 years a gamble on Ray?

    Brewer or Outlaw would address the lack of athleticism. My fear is if the Celts get bounced out in the first round, it leaves Danny an open lane to shop Perk and Davis. Their contracts are of value. If that’s the case, which I hope it is not, Haywood would be a logical signing.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I agree with Kenyatta & Brian about Mike Miller. Brian, his game is actually up in all shooting %s & rebounds! Mike has size. He is a 6’8 guard who is shooting 50% & 46% form 3 & 82% from the free throw line. He is getting over 6 rebounds a game as a shooting guard!

    Ray was never known as mr. defense before he came, just a knock down shooter. I’d say Ray’s best D has been played since he became a C. I think Mike would likewise have a similar improvement in the system. He is very smart & a team player. I don’t think the Wiz want to give him up though.

  • I love Green

    @Kool aid- If that schedule goes to plan we’ll probably be down 20-18 in championships to the Lakers. So hopefully none of that goes the way you said it. We need Danny to pull off a Pau Gasol like trade, giving away crap for an all star.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @shane i like perk – kinda. i just think he is not a franchise cornerstone and if they pay him like that they will regret it. would love to have him around for a reasonable price but think he will be more valuable in a trade.

    @perry. 8M for ray for 2 years is a bargain. i think he could fetch more on the open market. and if he thinks he has a better chance at titles elsewhere, maybe he bolts.

    @i love green. very possible danny fleeces someone, and i hope so. just don’t think they’ll be able to fine-tune to get back. i think they’ll have to give away some talent to get rid of unwanted contracts….which means starting from the ground-up

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