Post-game Reactions

Despite the likelihood of a final blast of superheated rhetoric over the next week, the owners and the union are inching their way closer to a deal on a new CBA that could save the 2011-12 season.

The owners have swapped out their call for a hard cap with a proposal that features the continued use of a soft cap with some poison pills, including: 1) a more restrictive set of penalties for excessive spending and 2) new limitations on the use of the MLE and the applicability of Bird rights. There’s also the potential for the long-rumored amnesty clause that would allow teams to buy out the contracts of their biggest salary albatrosses without the money counting against the salary cap.

The roadblock remains the split of BRI, where the players are looking for something around an equal split whereas the owners want the players to work for something around the starting wage at Wal-Mart.

If you haven’t kept up with the latest, check the links above as we head into a crucial weekend of bargaining. But assuming cooler heads prevail, and names are signed on the line which is dotted, we’ll soon be in a position to report on some actual news related to the Boston Celtics.

It will be a lot of news.

The Celtics have only the following players under contract for 2011-12:

  • Kevin Garnett
  • Paul Pierce
  • Ray Allen
  • Rajon Rondo
  • Jermaine O’Neal
  • Avery Bradley

Of these, Bradley is unlikely to make a major contribution this year and O’Neal remains a prime candidate for an explicable injury followed by an inexplicably long recovery time. As Bill Simmons suggests in this piece on Grantland, Ainge could also just pay the unreliable O’Neal’s first-year membership dues for the National Basketball Retired Players Association and be done with him.

So, let’s project forward 10-12 days. A deal’s done. While Doc Rivers is putting together some semblance of a training camp, Ainge will have to close deals for more than half his roster, including half his likely playoff rotation. That’s problematic for a few reasons:

1) The Celtics can’t afford to burn out their big four early on while the newbies get acclimated to the on-court systems and the off-court culture. They need greater contributions from the bench from day one to avoid a third straight second-half collapse.

2) In the KG-PP-RA era, Ainge’s strengths as a GM have only intermittently included an ability to find an appropriate supporting cast, even when given a full summer. This time, he’ll have around two weeks. You could make a credible argument the 2010-11 team was sabotaged when Ainge loaded up on aged veterans last summer. He can’t make that kind of mistake again if the Celtics harbor legitimate hopes for another finals run.

3) Ainge and Rivers may see the condensed off-season/pre-season as a legitimate reason to bring back Jeff Green and Glen Davis, neither of whom inspires much confidence after last season’s failures. Both will also be seeking multi-year deals, the kind that suck up 2012 cap space.

With those concerns noted, I hereby declare it is almost time to get cautiously excited about the prospect of normal NBA activity.

Not exactly the textbook definition of joy, is it?

But after a summer of NBA discontent, we gotta take what we can get.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • skeeds

    Main problem is that Ainge isn't just looking for a supporting cast right now. To be realistic, each one of the big 3 needs a backup that can handle 20-25 minutes on the court each night, and take a considerable load of their backs. Green is good enough to take some minutes from PP, IF he wakes up. Delonte is as good as they come, and can cover both Ray and Rondo magnifficently, Ainge would be nuts not to go after him.
    And here's where things become complicated. Truth is, we're not going to find a better backup PF than Davis in the market. But, a slow BBD, an old KG and a semi-retired Jermaine make a pretty awfull backcourt. If we resign Davis we have to make sure he pairs up with an athletic center, a young healthy energetic player that can make sure Baby NEVER has to play the 5 again.

    that's A LOT of things to shop for, and given the circumstances I can't see how Ainge can pull it off. That's why I'm affraid he'll do something stupid like trading Ray…

  • cos

    Im more afraid of him doing something stupid as in tie up our cap space for next season preventing from going after D. Howard. I know some people think he wont come to boston, but without the cap space we'll never know. I just want the celtics to have a shot at going after him.

  • go celtics

    our best chance is a long lockout and shortened season for our old guys.. that already sad… we had the lead in the 4th quarter gm7 in 2011 finals…………………………………. frustrated

  • W2.

    PP/Jeff Green
    Oneal/Aaron Gray

    That team is a fourth place team in the East if Doc plays some of the young guys and is willing to lose a few along the way. I can live with that if it means some freshness for the vets in the playoffs. Obviously this is not a perfect roster, but I just can't see huge upgrades through free agency.

  • Badmonkeygod

    The starting wage at walmart? Seriously? No one in the league makes less than 4 times what a starting physician makes after 10 years of college. Brian Scalabrine has pulled in, what, $14M in his career and averaged 1pt and 1 rebound per game? (No offense, Scal, but I don't know if your skillset should put your career earnings above that of a good Oncologist.)

  • W2.

    "But, a slow BBD, an old KG and a semi-retired Jermaine make a pretty awfull backcourt."

    Thank god they play in the fron tcourt.

    • Mark

      Even still it doesn't inspire that much more confidence.

  • pam

    I hope we get the 5th seed this year so that we get a higher pick in next years draft. For that to happen we need someone other than chicago and miami to step up. I hope orlando gets the 3rd seed (we dont have a good enough center to defend dwight if he is still there), atlanta gets the 4th seed (they will have a super weak bench) and we get the 5th and beat them in the first round. Getting past the second round looks pretty unlikely anyway.
    Then we somehow luck out in the draft, rebuild for a few years/ trade rondo for chris paul and sign dwight.