Post-game Reactions

With the offseason winding down, our man Chad Ford over at ESPN.com has broken down the offseason moves in the Eastern Conference (Insider only), grading every team’s moves, while ranking them 1-15. There were no surprises at the top (Heat) or bottom (Cavs)  of the standings, but in between there were a few things that left me scratching my head, including the C’s own grade. Let’s allow Ford explain himself here though, before we go any further:

6. Boston Celtics

Key additions: Paul Pierce (re-signed), Ray Allen (re-signed), Shaquille O’Neal (FA), Jermaine O’Neal (FA), Nate Robinson (re-signed), Avery Bradley (draft)

Key subtractions: Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen, Tom Thibodeau

After an injury-plagued, so-so regular season, the Celtics got healthy and caught fire in the playoffs — making their second NBA Finals appearance in the past three seasons. Had Kendrick Perkins not gone down with a season-ending injury, the Celtics may have won the title. The question now: How much gas does this team have left in the tank?

Danny Ainge wrestled with that question. Was it time to blow up the team and rebuild, or should he bring the principals back for another two-year window? Ainge chose the latter. He got Doc Rivers to re-up, and re-signed veterans Pierce (four years, $50 million) and Ray Allen (two years, $20 million) to big deals.

He also brought in two veteran bigs to fill in for Perkins and a retiring Rasheed Wallace. Both Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal’s best days are behind them, but Ainge is hoping that together they can help hold down the paint for the next two years.

Did Ainge do the right thing? If the Celtics can make another deep run or two, he probably chose wisely. But if we saw the last gasp of the Celtics this past spring or if the Heat just steamroll everyone this season, then Ainge and the Celtics missed a critical chance to rebuild while they had the cap space to do it.

Grade: B-

I have a few choice words for Mr. Ford, after the jumpI am sorry but I find the B- a bit harsh here. I think you would have trouble finding any C’s fans, or anyone in the NBA for that matter, having any problem with the job Danny Ainge did this summer.

Ford claims that the C’s had the cap space to rebuild right now and blow it up, but in order for that to have been a possibility, the team would have had to wave goodbye to the face of their franchise in Paul Pierce, along with Ray Allen, and all other supporting pieces that became free agents during their Championship run. That was never going to happen, not if Wyc and the boys wanted to sell tickets this year.

Instead Ainge really did the best he could, reloading now with two of the top big men on the market, to go along with some low risk high reward additions in Von Wafer and Delonte West. Ainge also wisely kept almost everyone besides Pierce on a 1 or 2 year deal, giving Danny the option to blow it up for real 2 years from now when KG’s contract expires.

Put it altogether and the B- doesn’t make much sense to me, especially when you consider Ford put the Wizards’ moves head and shoulders (he gives them an A) above the C’s. Really Chad? Drafting John Wall (no-brainer), trading for Kirk Hinrich’s 8.5 million dollar contract and Yi gets you an A? I guess Chad must be grading them on a curve.

I may be wearing the green goggles here, but honestly there really isn’t much about this offseason I’d change for the C’s given the resources they had…….would you? Or am I in the minority here?

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • “…if the Heat just steamroll everyone this season, then Ainge and the Celtics missed a critical chance to rebuild while they had the cap space to do it.”

    Chad Ford, what are you doing? C’mon man. Pierce signed with Boston before Wade, Bosh, and James signed anywhere. Were the Celtics supposed to sit around and wait?

    Clearly only one choice for the C’s. I don’t mind grading solely based on the personnel Boston brought in, but to take into consideration what happened in Miami just does not stand to reason.

  • Tebucky

    If you consider that he’s looking at our 2009 squad as a team that was “so-so” and “caught fire in the playoffs,” his statements make sense because it’s the same core. Go ahead and discredit the only part of the NBA season that matters, Chad. I’ll take my B- and another run at the title and you can keep the chance to overpay for David Lee/Rudy Gay.

  • steve

    With so few chips to play this off season I think Danny did far more than expected. He got veterans to come to town at a discount for the chance to win a title.

  • James Patrick

    I loved your response. I hope Ford gives you some answers about why he graded them so low. This is the happiest I’ve been since the Big Three became the Big Three!

  • Mark

    I’d give the C’s an A- and the minus is a result of not signing a true backup at SF. @Brian I sense a little fire in your writing…LOL…That’s one of the reasons Celtics Hub is my favorite place for Celtic news!

  • dslack

    Brian, you’re totally right. Plus, after Wade and LeBron were off the board (I’m not even really counting Bosh as a premium free agent — any time you get a chance to plunk max money on a guy who leads his team to a 40-42 record and a berth in the lottery, I’m glad when you avoid doing so, unless you’re also grabbing 2 genuine superstars), there wasn’t anyone worth spending max money on, even if the Celtics had had a feasible way to generate cap space (which they did not). Danny did a great job, given lots of constraints.

  • Ross in Maine

    Ford loses some credibility with me on this one.

    A- hands down. The minus if for loosing T.A. (I’d of given him the 3 years he wanted, injury prone and all). Otherwise, a perfect off-season where everything went our way.

  • Jay P

    Other than getting Tony back, no, nothing I would change.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Daniels and I think he’ll bounce back this year. But I have to admit, if I had my choice between Tony or Quisy as of this moment, well the choice is obvious.

    Clearly an A though, Danny exceed my wildest expectations. Never in my life would I have expected to sign both Jermaine and Shaq Oneal this season. And for a team that lost both of starting and back up Centers from last year, and came up short on a title because they couldn’t rebound, how could you possibly ask for more than the best two Centers in free agency this year, and one on a veteran minimum.

    Add in the low-cost/low-risk/insanely high upside signings of Robinson, Wafer, West, Daniels and great value picks of Bradley and Harangody, I just do not see how you grade it any lower than an A.

  • NHBluesMan

    A- from me (like some others have said, the minus being the loss of TA).

    We added 3 guys who were in key roles to post-season teams last year, some low risk potential high reward players, and solved our only BIG problem from the post season (rebounding).

    I don’t care what anyone else says, I’d take Shaq over Sheldon Williams as our 3rd center any day of the week.

    I’m so excited for this coming season. I just hope we can get some extra help at the 3 spot, although i have faith that, being in a single role this year instead of trying to fill in acouple different places, Quis is going to thrive in the C’s system

    the biggest question mark is health, but when you look beyond that, we have arguably the deepest, most talented bench in the league.

  • DeVelaine

    I just have to requote something already quoted once in this place. I think Chad Ford missed it when he decided to do his rankings.

    “Imagine if you were the GM of the New Jersey Nets or some other team with gobs of cap room and only a few players (say a young point guard and center) locked in. Say you went out and signed Paul Pierce, Ray Allen,Nate Robinson, and Marquis Daniels and you got them all for relatively short years and fairly cap friendly deals. You’re doing cartwheels right? Fantastic, A+ summer haul. Well, that’s just the guys that the Celtics re-signed.”

    He’s usually pretty good at proper evaluation, but I’m going to have to say that the true measure of this offseason for the C’s is somewhere above his B-. I’m not sure if it’s an A or even an A- because this is still an old team and health will be a concern, but Aside from Miami… Who legitimately got better this offseason and can instantly call themselves contenders? Especially in the East!

  • DeVelaine

    @myself: Okay, I posted that too soon. The Bulls did get better, significantly. Them getting Thibs was the steal of the offseason. But I still don’t think they can beat us in a 7 game series. Rose’ll get owned again, Boozer buckles under pressure, and the crowd should be able to get into Noah’s head as per usual.

  • BunkerHillG

    I’m surprised we haven’t heard more about Cliff Ray being let go. The Globe had a pretty good piece on him: http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2010/09/14/ray_of_sunshine_will_be_missed/.

    Thibs is an obvious a loss to us, but I am surprised that they didn’t keep Ray to work the two old guys, O’Neal and O’Neal, into our system and then with Perk as he recovers from the injury. According to the Globe article, PJ Brown said he couldn’t have made the return to the league without Ray (and we know how big that was), so Cliff does more than develop young bigs…

  • Scott

    The fact that all he had to work with was the mid level, and the vets min is remarkable. he convinced players to come here simply because he got them to believe they could win is remarkable. every player he signed has something to prove, and that i think, will make this team very dangerous, not only in the playoffs, but i wouldnt be surprised if the reg. season was a success for this team as well. lets remember – had they had home court in the playoffs, i think they wouldve won the chip. just sayin.. go green.

  • Donaldtower

    Danny simply did the best job in the NBA (except for Pat Riley in Miami). He did so much with so little!
    Congratulations to Danny Ainge for an excellent job and lets forget this unexplainable B-

  • Chuck Conti

    That was a totally stupid grade. Just because Lebron and Bosh signed with Miami, Boston was supposed to blow it up and rebuild? If the team that was a few points away from the championship is supposed to blow it up, what does that say for every other team in the league except for the Lakers? Was everybody except Miami and L.A. supposed to reboot? Do they all get graded on a curve because several of them thought their team was pretty good and just needed tweaking? Wow, I guess San Antonio should have blown it up. Phoenix lost Amare, so they should have traded Nash and blown it up.


    Absolutely stupid. Sorry if I’m being rude, but that is the dumbest thing I’ve read all summer.

    If he wanted to say that Ainge gets a B- because they didn’t replace Tony Allen and are relying on the previously underwhelming Marquis Daniels, that’s fine. But to talk about Ainge perhaps missing a chance to rebuild?

    Sports Blog Fail.

  • Rangatiratanga

    Absolute joke i give Danny an A+.Kidding me all we had was the mid level and we got Shaq,JO,Delonte,Wafer not to mention a future star in Bradley.This Chad Ford guy can go stick his grade up where the sun don’t shine.

  • Rangatiratanga

    In fact i give Danny an A++,how you like them apples Ford.

  • Rangatiratanga

    OMG i didn’t read the last part of the article because i was so infuriated about Chad’s lame grading.Ok this article becomes nonsense full of crap the fact he graded the Wizards higher than Boston……AHAAHAAHAAAAAAA.Let’s see where his grading gets him when we hand the Wizards a professional BEATDOWN.

  • Batman

    Oh come on…..When Garnett’s contract finishes we’re gonna blow up then.


  • Rangatiratanga

    Damp is considering joining the Heat after being waived by the Cats.

  • Jeff

    Ford’s an idiot for this rating…The Wiz? Really? How exactly did they get better?

    Because they have a PG who won’t go Scarface in the locker room for $100 mil? Because they got a 7ft Chinese Stiff? Or maybe because they traded to get a pansy who got B Slapped by Rondo in the playoff’s a couple years ago! Oh that must be it!

    Don’t quit your day job Ford…oh wait…this is your day job! Moron.

    The C’s had BY FAR the best offseason of anyone besides MIA, which was not really an offseason it was more of a colusion 4 years in the making.

    CHI – Please, good but I’m afraid that adding Boozer and Brewer while losing Salmons, Miller, and Hinrich is not really a big deal. Thibs is a big addition but they won’t win diddely! Now if they can trade Deng for Melo then all of a sudden They’d be an interesting Dark Horse, but if they lose Noah in the process then it’s not going to work because Boozer will get pounded inside in the post season.

    I would like to know who exactly the C’s could have signed that would have made their offseason “A” worthy? Lebron wasn’t happening, and no one other than Wade would’ve been any better than who they had.

    If they got Gay for $10-12mil, yeah okay, or Lee for the MLE alright but other than that…they did awesome!

    Remember, before FA started we were looking at the possibility of an offseason including: losing Ray, Sheed retiring, Perk hurt, Doc gone, lose Nate, lose TA, lose Quis, and get in return Brad Miller and Adam Morrison along with maybe sign who? JJ redick to replace Ray?

    Like I said…offseason grade: Between A and A-

  • JP

    Losing TA and not being able to find anyone better than Marquis Daniels are the only 2 gripes I have this off season and they are small ones. Overall I think that DA made the Celtics one of the deepest teams in the league if Wafer and Bradley pan out into serviceable players this year.

  • Those first four alone on the “Key Additions” list should give them at least a B+, which turns into an A- when you consider the good draft picks (Bradley and Harangody). Looks to me like the only team with a better offseason was Miami.

    And that’s why I’m not an Insider.

  • Anthony

    All things considered I think Danny did a pretty good job. Certainly something more worthy than a B-. I felt the Celts overpaid slightly for Jermaine O’Neal and I wish something was done with Rasheed’s contract but little couldve been done with Thibs and T.Allen going elsewhere. TA probably would have left even if the Celts matched the offer since he wanted more playing time and spotlight.

    -Restructured Pierce’s contract.
    -Resigned Ray and Nate to a very fair deals.
    -Signed Shaq, Delonte, Wafer to minimum deals.

    6 players were signed or re-signed! Low risk high rewards!

    What else could the Celts have done for an “A” rating Chad Ford?

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    B- …..whaddevah

    Danny gets an A+ considering what he did with the limitations in place. The slickest was using the mid-level early on JO…which forced Shaq to agree to the vet min….and both combined add leverage to Perk and Baby extension discussions upcoming. How can you play a better hand than that with only the midlevel?

    He also kept everyone except Pierce to 2 year deals meaning they have their opening to rebuild. And Wafer & Delonte are great high upside, low risk moves. Also, I keep hearing the rest of the league how losing TA is such a big deal….maybe for a casual fan….but the guy simply can not be trusted to play crunchtime minutes, and can’t even be on the floor with our #1 PG, so it would have been suicide to give him long-term dollars.

    Seriously, what did ford really expect him to do?!

  • aaron

    he’s just upset cause ainge hasn’t signed scal, that’s all. poor guy.

  • Lifelong Laker Fan

    Ainge did the best he could, but let’s get real. This team’s signature is lock down, switching defense. When healthy, no one does it better. The center position (for this team)is about rebounding and defense, 2 things that the O’Neals are not exactly known for. Shaq will also have to get out of the way so that Rondo can be Rondo, also not exactly his strong suit. Considering what was out there, Ainge did OK. The real steal is Bradley. Your team has needed a backup PG ever since it was built.

  • Ersatz

    Uh, Jermaine O’Neal can’t play defense? Or rebound? That’s news to me.

    But I agree that Bradley is potentially a really good pickup. I don’t see him getting much PT this year though.

  • I don’t subscribe to ESPN insider so today I took it upon my self to scour other teams’ blogs on the TrueHoop network to see what Chad Ford said of their moves this off-season. While on PistonPowered (Detroit’s blog) I found an interesting article about the drafting of Darko Milicic. In light of his review of the Celtics off-season moves, it seemed poignant to share his thoughts on Darko, pre-draft:

    “Darko is really one of a kind. He runs the floor, handles the ball, shoots the NBA 3 and plays with his back to the basket, so you can slot him in at the 3, 4 or 5 positions. OK, a few other guys can do that too; what sets Darko apart is his toughness in the post. You have to love a guy who has the footwork to spin by an opponent but still prefers to lower a shoulder and bang. Fact is, Milicic plays in attack-mode at both ends of the floor. The more you push, the more he pushes back. While he won’t be asked to carry the Pistons, he’s capable of doing this earlier than you think.”

    These comments combined with his notion that the Celtics may have missed an opportunity to rebuild this offseason have left me bereft of all respect for Chad Ford as an analyst. And for what it’s worth, I’m ecstatic about Danny’s moves this offseason, which I would give an A-… the minus for not utilizing Sheed’s contract in a sign-and-trade. The depth at 3 concerns me a little, but I think beyond Pierce and Quis, Wafer, Harrangody, and even Big Baby (against less athletic forwards a la Artest and Nocioni) will be serviceable.

  • Lifelong Laker Fan

    Artest is a less athletic 3? he seemed pretty athletic in game 7…

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