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:
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.
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?