Well, here we go. The draft is in three days, free agents are squawking about the sort of team they’d like to play for and rumors of various deals are sprouting all over the place. Some nuggets that may be of interest to C’s fans:
• I missed this last week, but Marc Stein had this to say on names Boston might consider should Doc Rivers retire:
As noted in this cyberspace more than once recently, sources consistently volunteer NBA TV’s Kevin McHale as Rivers’ most likely successor. Although it’ll be interesting to see what sort of endorsement McHale gets from Garnett after their frosty final days together in Minnesota, McHale’s looming candidacy stems not only from his Boston ties but because no former teammate of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is closer to Ainge than McHale.
The only other two names to gain any traction so far: Massachusetts native Vinny Del Negro (another ex-teammate Ainge is known to be fond of) and underrated Celtics assistant coach Armond Hill (although there are suspicions Celts ownership will insist on someone with a higher profile).
There’s no way Boston hires Vinny Del Negro. None.
Of these names, McHale is the only viable candidate. I guarantee you the Celtics have a short list of others.
• Some Boston fans fantasize about free agent Mike Miller as a versatile back-up capable of playing the two or the three (or perhaps serving as cheaper and less good replacement for Ray Allen), and it sounds like Boston is the sort of team Miller might be thinking about. Via the Argus Leader:
“I’m looking for a winner,” confirms the 6-foot-8 swingman, who averaged 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 54 games last season. “The last couple of years have taken a toll on me, as far as not being in the playoffs and not playing this time of year. So I’m looking to change that. This time, if it doesn’t work out, there’s no one to blame but myself.”
Miller’s puzzling refusal over the last two seasons to shoot as much as he should may have driven his value down to the mid-level exception, which is as high as Boston could go to sign him barring a sign-and-trade scenario. But if you use the mid-level on Miller, you’ve got only the draft, trades and the vet’s minimum exception to fill out a suddenly thin front line. Something to consider.
• The Bobcats want to trade into the draft and are trying to either buy a pick or trade for one, ESPN.com reports. I don’t think the C’s will deal their first-round pick (#19), and their second round pick (#52) has no value, so I would be surprised if the C’s are discussing anything with Charlotte. But they’ve shown interest in D.J. Augustin before. That said, the Bobcats may not be willing to part with Augustin, since their starting point guard, Ray Felton, is an unrestricted free agent. (Side note: No, I’m not interested in Ray Felton at the mid-level).