Post-game Reactions

With Marquis Daniels’ neck injury earlier this week and Nate Robinson’s knee going pop last night, the Celtics are testing exactly how close to the edge of the cliff this roster can go before the weight of its injuries pushes it into the ravine.

Even with Delonte West expected back as early as next Wednesday against New Jersey, the Celtics have to be wondering if this plague of injuries will ever cease. Because Boston can’t do what it did last year – let the veterans downshift into second gear, give away games, and hit a switch in the first round.

Things Have Not Worked Out As Planned For The Celtics

They’re a damn good team this year. Possibly the best in the league.

But they’re nowhere near invincible and unlikely to win four rounds of playoffs without home court advantage the majority of the time.

So, with the February 24 trade deadline approaching, Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have decisions to make on how best to position this team to raise banner #18 in June. Because roster stasis feels more and more like acquiescing to the blind hope that somehow they’ll get through a month without another player going down. That somehow Rivers will have the time and personnel to get both starters and bench working in fluid concert before the start of the playoffs.

Doc suggested his team wasn’t mentally tough enough against Los Angeles last night. To that, I would say this – what team wouldn’t struggle mentally under the strain of player after player going down with injuries? What player wouldn’t look at a thinning bench, a strong opponent and be tempted to play some hero ball, especially when the guys on the floor with him are unfamiliar?

Now 3-4 in their last seven games, and tied with Miami atop the Eastern Conference, the Celtics continue to make no excuses for their play. They claim they should be winning every game, no matter who is healthy and who is not. That’s exactly the mentality you want from a team aspiring to a title, but there has to be some doubt creeping in about whether there’s enough on this roster to get it done.


The Celtics need to make a move for a backup small forward who can defend elite wing players. This was a problem even before Daniels got hurt because his injury history always promised he’d spend an extended time on the injured list. It happened last year and now it’s happened this year. And even if he is able to come back, can the Celtics count on him anymore than they can count on Jermaine O’Neal?


Not unless they’re also sold on Von Wafer as a defensive stopper they can use to cover the Lebron James’ and Dwayne Wade’s and (ahem) Kobe Bryant’s of the league.

Of course, Boston could also use more consistent post-offense, a great offensive rebounder off the bench and additional athleticism and youth but there’s a limit to what’s possible with the team’s limited trade assets and potential buyout targets.

The bottom line here is the Celtics owe it to the ghosts of Red Auerbach and Larry O’Brien to do whatever they can to put themselves over the top. Cutting an end-of-bench fringe prospect to pick up a veteran buyout makes sense. Losing some combination of Avery Bradley, Nate Robinson, and a future first round pick wouldn’t hurt if the return was a fix at the backup three spot that carried the C’s through to the end of the playoffs. Losing someone more significant in the rotation shouldn’t be out of the question either, if there’s a possibility to better fit the parts around Boston’s four all-stars.

On some of those points, I’m sure you’ll disagree. That’s fair. We can argue all day about who the Celtics should trade for, and who they should give up and orders of magnitude.

But there’s one thing we should all agree on:

This year is not about building for the future. This year is about this year.

And this year, the Celtics are all in.

Time to push those chips to the center of the table.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • kricky

    If they can make the trade you describe above they have to do it. But who is really out there to be had? A combo of Bradley, Robinson and a very low pick isn't very enticing.

    Anybody they do get would have to work themselves into the C's system. Especially if there role was primarily a defensive one. Would they be able to fit in by playoff time?

    Unfortunately our best option may be to just pray for health.

  • Patrick

    Keep in mind you can't trade both Avery & Nate unless you get a backup PG. I wouldn't mind seeing Nate go at this point. Not a good enough PG, not big enough SG to defend anyone, and his only upside is his offense…but where exactly is his offense? And why can't a slam dunk champion EVER dunk in a game?! Just once! I know he won't throw it down every night, but please Nate, just once before you're traded!

    Shane Battier (the rockets are looking to move contracts this season)

    • Jamie

      West is backup PG as of next week. We all can see that PG is not that position Nate should be in anyways.

  • GreenMachine
    • This trade needs to happen.

      • Ryan DeGama

        Houston isn't interested in J.O. unless his summer retirement is an absolute lock. Even then, it's sort of a break even deal for them unless they love Nate.

        • kricky

          And why trade an expiring contract (Battier) for a 2 year one (Nate) when the whole point of this deal is to clear space for next year?

    • Scott

      Of course we'd like to get rid of O'neal, i am reluctant about Nate because i live in Seattle, and love him, but he is too inconsistent. Plus when Delonte is back, who knows how much he'll play. Secondly…. No one wants JO. He is hot garbage because he has been so injured. Looked like a great fit in the beginning of the season, and if we can get rid of him that'd be awesome, but i dont see that happening, unless someone really wants to unload some cap space for next summer (maybe the nets..? do they need capspace?). Check out my trade down below. Straight up Pietrus for NateRob. I'd be sad to see him go, but if it meant a chip, i am all for it.

      Shout out to Ray Allen.. My Idol – would still love to see him in a Sonics jersey, but happy for him and all his accomplishments. YEAH BABY!

  • I_Love_Green

    Oh crap. Who's going to guard Lebron tomorrow when Pierce and Allen are on the bench? I really don't think Von can stick with him, but that may be our only option for atleast 5 minutes on sunday.

    And a trade for Battier, or Rip hamilton being bought out, then us signing him would just be fantastic. Imagine having Hamilton coming off the bench for us! Oh my god that would be sick.

  • SteveB

    I would love that trade but don't see the Rockets taking on longer contracts. Especially with Jermaine injured and Nate's injury in the air. Battier seems to be the name kicking around. Seems like a good fit and right type for the Celtics. At this point I'd be fine with Delonte as the only backup PG. Rondo can play close to 40 minutes a game in the playoffs with no problem. The reality is that if Rondo goes down with an injury it won't matter if he has 3 backups, a banner is highly unlikely without him. It's always hard to give up pieces but the Knicks may not get Melo for that reason. They refuse to part with two good players to make the deal happen. Look at what was given up to get Ray and KG. That was a lot of players and some were good and some had really good potential. No different than the position we are in now.

  • Scott

    I got a better trade… Pietrus anyone? he is a great defender, and can hit the long ball…

    • kricky

      Either a trade for Battier or Pietrus would be an absolute wet dream. But I don't see either one happening. Not for Nate or JO. Who would actually want to take these guys?

  • Mark


    Minnesota saves 2 mil this year, gets Webster's 3 year deal off the books and gives Minnesota the smallest back court ever with Ridnour, Flynn, Nate and Bradley.

    Celtics get a back up 3 that can shoot, a back up 2 that can defend and half the contracts are expiring.

  • ElRoz

    Well, Pierce can play as many minytes as Lebron. Boston never had a LeBron or Kobe stopper…LeBron had a very good seriies against boston last yer and Boston won 4-2. Kobe was 6-26 in game 7 but won. Last time around Kobe acored 41 but Boston won. Yesterday he scored 23 and LA won…this is a team defense and a team effort – Boston was w/o Shaq, Daniels ,a d Nate – I would be confident they beat LA 4-1 4-2 with these three guys plus Delonte and Davis off the bench.

    They just need a guy to come in and play 15-20 minutes. VonWafer can do that and Boston has always played shorter players on LeBron to take away penetration – which is also done by team defense.

  • Rachel

    I'd love to see Battier in a celtics uniform. I think he's a good fit, has a high basketball IQ and would adjust quickly to the Celtics style of play.

    I'm more than OK with trading Nate, but I can't say that his recent play would inspire other teams to snap him up, even before this injury. Marquis has been good off the bench but the injury seems serious. Who in their right mind would trade Battier (or someone of his caliber) for these two? Adding J.O. will get us exactly nowhere, let's be honest.

    I assume that the "someone more significant" that Ryan is referring to is Big Baby. He's having a good year, so we could get someone good for him without having to give up a first round draft pick or Bradley… But if Shaq's not going to able to give us a reliable 20-25 minutes per game, I would hate to lose Baby's size.

  • ElRoz

    What about these guys:

    James Pose – Indiana
    OJ Mayo – Memphis, once his suspension expires.
    Rip Hamilton – Detroit …too expensive? Too injury prone?

    As for who Boston will use to get them…that's Danny and Doc's decision…I don't know enough about evaluating players to even speculate.

    The straneg thing is, if Boston can get Delonte, Nate, Daniels, Davis, Shaq gradually…all playing from April 1st into the playoffs, I'd be very happy…..EVEN if Von Wafer has to replace Daniels, it would still be a good bench.

  • AussieCeltic

    Pietrus will happen….just watch!

  • Scott

    mehh… none of those players are proven. You are giving up three players that have worked in the system the Celtics run, but not necessarily getting anything in return. If you take telfair out of the equation, it works just fine btw.

  • Dawson

    I think the prevailing attitude is if we can just get to late March, we will have a full roster. Delonte and Shaq will wil be back by the end of the month. And Marquis and JO by late March or early April. Let's not panic. We are 38-14, even with all the injuries. After Sunday, we will have no more games with Miami, LA, or Orlando. A new player, however talented, is going to upset the positive chemistry of this team, and he won't have enough time to adjust to our system for this season.

    • dtla la

      Did you watch the game last night?

      Because if you did, you know that we need a 3. We don't get a 3, one of the Big Three go down with an injury from too many minutes.

      • Dawson

        Yes, I did. And the lack of rebounding lost the game last night (as it did last year in the finals) — more than a 3. We need Shaq and JO back, and Delonte as a physical and tough rebounding back up point guard. I also believe Marquis will be back by mid March.

  • steveb

    Marquis is the big if in all this. If they knew a return date I would say stick with the team you have. Only exception might be to offer Nate for a 3. Even that scares me. Nate has played good defense and help win games in last year’s playoffs. Bottom line on any trade is finding a willing partner.

  • What's Your Excuse?

    Call Kevin….Oops I forgot he is no longer an NBA GM.

    • Batman

      Are you actually suggesting Kevin McHale gave us Garnett for free? You really need to look at that tarde again

  • lalsuck

    is it true that marquis will be waive?

    • Steve B

      I haven't heard anything on that. I still think if Marquis or J.O. realize they can't come back they should retire to help the team. I know Quis is much younger so I'm sure he would like to continue his career. If these injuries to his neck are going to recur I can't see him risking it. J.O. is another story. He is probably in his last year. He got some good money for this year and realistically won't be able to contribute much if anything, even in the playoffs. He has no loyalty to the club but he holds them back by taking this roster spot. Even Larry Legend walked away when it was time, with money owed to him, for the good of the team.

  • JP-

    I was watching the Suns Jazz game last night, I havent watched any of him this season, but what about Josh Childress? He was good on the Hawks a few years back, maybe he could do well, and he fits as a nice wing for the Celtics to pick up potentially. Thoughts?

  • hoki

    if jermaine is lookin at retiring could we get in on one of the melo deals to reduce salarys for a team?? eg the knicks.??jermaine for randolph??