• Now that the draft is over, it’s time to talk about free agency. In the Herald, Mark Murphy names a couple of big men who might be available in the C’s price range (i.e. the mid-level exception and below):
Think Chicago’s Brad Miller or maybe even Shaquille O’Neal, who soon may have absolutely no reason to return to Cleveland.
Those are two of the best options Ainge will have to plug the hole left by Kendrick Perkins who will be recovering from surgery to repair what is now believed to be the so-called triangle – tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament.
The problem with relying on the mid-level exception and other cap exceptions: Every player available in that salary range comes with problems. I listed about a dozen of the more interesting options last week, and aside from Brendan Haywood, who almost certainly won’t be available at the mid-level, every one of those players has at least one major red flag sticking out of his back.
In the cases of Shaq and Miller, the red flags are obvious: They’re old, and after years of consistent productivity (on different levels and in different ways, obviously) their statistical profiles veered dramatically in the wrong direction last season.
Can that trend be reversed in a lesser role? Can the C’s, so thin up front now, actually offer a lesser role?
• Think Doc is having a tough time getting over Game 7 and contemplating his future? Check out this detail from Murphy’s Herald story (linked above):
“(Wednesday) night was the first night Doc got any sleep since our loss (in Game 7 of the Finals),” Ainge said.
And on Doc’s decision:
“It’s hard. I think you have to be there to really understand how hard it is on coaches. And when you take Doc, who is an amazing competitor, it’s just magnified. It’s hard, he needs some time, and he has a real big decision ahead of him.
“There’s a lot of tugs and pulls. I had this decision when I was coaching Phoenix. I felt like I shouldn’t be coaching, that I shouldn’t have come back, but I wanted to. Coaching is addictive in some ways, and it’s hard to walk away from contracts and different things.”
We’ll know by the middle of next week whether Boston needs a new head coach and a new top assistant.
• Avery Bradley will need six weeks to recover from his ankle scoping, but he’ll be ready for training camp, Ainge told the Globe. He will miss summer league, though. That starts on July 5th in Orlando.
• Luke Harangody is saying all the things you’d expect a son of Indiana to say about playing for the Celtics (via the Globe):
“Last night when I heard my name called it was a big deal for myself and my family,’’ Harangody said. “Just for them to give me a chance to make this roster and be part of this organization was a huge deal, especially being from Indiana, it was a big deal as well. It was just a huge deal hearing my name and being with the Boston Celtics.’’
• Via the same story: Danny likes the work ethic of both draft picks:
“One thing that led both of them to us are all the little intangibles,’’ Ainge said. “They play every possession. They don’t take possessions off. They give you the best effort at both ends of the court. And they’re different types of players.’’
Is Harangody the next Powe/Davis/Gomes second-round contributor? I’m skeptical, but Ainge sees it (via the Patriot-Ledger):
“The guys we’ve been successful with were a little bit like Luke in that they were terrific college players. For whatever reason, it may be they’re a little short for their position, or they are not as quick or don’t jump quite as well or have some sort of hole in their game, they’re not drafted high because we’re looking for the fastest or quickest.
“Like Leon Powe and Ryan Gomes, I see some similarities with Luke. When they got here, they were determined, like Luke will be, to prove their work and to prove their college careers weren’t a fluke. I’m confident he can continue his success as our level.’’
• Avery Bradley is not a point guard, and he’ll tell you so himself (via the Patriot-Ledger):
“Right now, a lot of the top guys in the league are called ‘tweeners’ and they can play the two or one,’’ said the 6-foot-3 Bradley, who will wear No. 0 as he did in college. “Me, I just call myself a player and I would call them players, too.
“I played point a little bit in high school and I was off the ball at Findlay. I’m a player, and I’m going to do whatever my team needs me to do to help us win.’’
• A detail you’ve probably read about Bradley but is worth repeating here (via the same Patriot-Ledger piece):
He was named the national high school player of the year and was ESPNU’s No. 1 prospect after that season, surpassing John Wall of Kentucky, who was the No. 1 pick on Thursday night.
It wasn’t just ESPNU, either. Rivals.com ranked Bradley 4th in his class, behind Wall, Cousins and Favors. ScoutHoops.com ranked Bradley 5th, behind those three guys and John Henson, who went to the University of North Carolina.
Everyone appears to agree on his talent. That’s a good thing.
• Harangody has been working on his jumper, the Herald reports:
“I think I became much more comfortable playing on the perimeter and the range of my shot. I feel like I’m shooting it very well right now, and I dropped a little weight. I’m also moving a little better, I just feel like I’m a better all-around player.”
Good. If the Celtics actually sign Shaq (unlikely, in my view), floor-spacing will be at a premium.
• Might we see Semih Erden in summer league? Ainge is thinking about inviting the 7-footer Turkish center the C’s selected with the 60th (i.e. last) pick in the ’08, the Herald reports:
“I think he can play in the NBA,” Ainge said. “He’s been working at it, so we’ll see what happens. I’m just not sure yet.”
• Chris Forsberg is in Vegas and sees the Suns and Thunder (among others) have better early odds than Boston at winning the ’11 title:
And since we’re in Las Vegas, we couldn’t help but take a glance at the early odds for next year’s NBA champion. Immediately after the Finals, the Celtics were — and remain — at 12-1 odds, that’s tied for sixth-best odds (with the Nuggets and Bulls). The teams in front of Boston: the Lakers (3-1), Magic (5-1), Thunder (8-1), Cavaliers (8-1), and Suns (10-1).
• Tom Haberstroh at ESPN.com evaluates the market for Ray Allen. Lots of fascinating nuggets here—I’ll break them out in a separate post later.