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Kenyon Martin: Deal With Celtics Was Close, But They Pulled Out

 

Kenyon Martin was very close to being a Boston Celtic earlier this season. Just one day after we at CelticsHub wondered about why the team didn’t sign the veteran power forward when he was a free agent, Martin addressed the possibility specifically last night on the heels of another strong effort for Boston’s division rival.

Martin was asked about whether it looked like the C’s could have used him out there last night:

“It’s their fault.  They lost,” Martin continued. “There was talks, there was negotiations, they chose not to do it.  It was out of my control.  I’m a Knick now, so they lost.”

And does Martin now play with a chip on his shoulder because of being passed over?

“I’m just here to prove to people that I’ve never lost it.  I guess I’m a better person than I am a basketball player.  But the chip I’ve always played with hasn’t gotten bigger.  I’m here to prove what I can do – that’s everybody, every night.  It doesn’t start with the Celtics.  Whoever puts that uniform on is opposite us.  They’re going to see what they’re missing.”

Martin got even more specific though about what caused Boston to pull out of a potential deal with him earlier in the year.

The former number one pick spoke to Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com to give further details:

“It was real close,” Martin told me before last night’s game. “Like, the deal was almost done. From what I understood, Doc wanted me and the players wanted me, but in the 11th hour …”

In the 11th hour what?

“They didn’t pull the trigger,” Martin said. “And I’m not talking a few days ago or even a few weeks ago. This was a couple of months ago.

“So now I’m here and I’m going to make them pay — I’m going to make all the teams that passed on me pay.”

So there you have it: the Celtics kicked the tires, but appeared to leave Martin at the altar, or close to it. As I went through yesterday in my column, there were problem a few different reasons for this. His numbers last year weren’t stellar in LA. His rebounding, the one area Boston probably wanted to address most, appeared to be on the decline. The Celtics wanted to wait things out to see if anyone else became available. All of these factors were possibilities on why Danny Ainge failed to pull the trigger.

Like Paul Pierce though, Martin is defying the numbers at his advanced age, putting together the kind of consistency offensively and usefulness on the defensive end of the floor that Doc Rivers would kill for right now from a big man off his bench.

I guess my biggest issue though with the non-signing, is the fact that Rivers is unwilling to play the guys that were signed in place of Martin, in Shavlik Randolph and D.J. White when the team could really use them.

When Boston goes small against the Knicks without Kevin Garnett, New York has equal or better rebounders at almost every position on the floor. Jason Kidd is a great rebounder for a guard, as is JR Smith. Carmelo Anthony is a terrific rebounder when he’s engaged and has the size to outmuscle Pierce. Martin, especially on the offensive glass, is a major weapon.

Last night, Doc didn’t have any answer for any of these guys with the rotation he played and the numbers showed it. 15 offensive rebounds and 29 second chance points for the Knicks. There are two guys on the bench that can rebound pretty well and their names are Randolph and White. It’s clear Doc doesn’t trust them, so I’m not sure why they are on the roster if they can’t get on the floor in games like this.

Rivers deserves some flack for being too stubborn to play them, especially coming off a nice comeback effort in Memphis Saturday night, but some of it has to go back on Ainge too for passing on Martin. Whether he wanted flexibility at the trade deadline or was just unconvinced Martin could contribute, he had to know Doc trusted him and that’s a big factor in signing anyone. You want guys your coach and players trust. Martin was that guy.

Ainge balked when he had the chance, and the C’s, playing without Garnett for the next couple weeks, will be paying because of it when they had the guy who could help them fill KG’s void right under their noise.

 

  • High Rollers

    I wanted K-Mart. Have to agree that this is another head-scratcher, along with not seeing more Shav and DJ. Something’s gotta give.

    • KillerGymRat

      Ditto

  • The Cardinal

    Prior to the KG injury and had Wilcox continued to play decently, I'm still skeptical whether K-Mart would have gotten any real playing time. After the KG injury and with hindsight considering how Wilcox has disappeared then yeah, he would be playing now, but that's just the way things work out sometimes. I've said it before that given Boston's recent experience with signing old-a.. bigs who then turned into injured, stubborn (see O'Neal, J. for postponing off-season surgery), roster-clogging gimps, I can't fault Danny for being cautious about signing another recently injured grandpa who is not even a center.

    As for Doc and his now-legendary stubbornness, my crystal ball tells me he will swallow a bottle of Maalox and surprise the heck out of Celtic Nation by doing the following things: 1) playing Shavlik and banishing Wilcox to the end of the bench to see how that works;
    2) once Lee is healthy, keep Crawford in the starting lineup and bring Lee off the bench with Terry because of Lee's defensive abilities and because no way in Hades should Terry and Bradley ever be paired together as the only guards on the floor; and
    3) on nights where he insists on playing Jeff Green as a power forward, bringing T Will in as Pierce's backup at small forward.

    Whether any of this helps the C's to get out of their current funk, the crystal ball has suddenly short-circuited so I don't have a clue.

  • GymRat

    I think Ainge is a terrible GM. Where it not for the brilliant move of bringing in KG and Allen (though this likely doesn't happen if you didn't happen to win a few NBA championships with the other GM aka McHale). But since then his moves are iffy (at best) and often ridiculous. How can you gamble on Darko but not take a risk (minimal one at that) on Martin.

    I honestly wonder if Ainge has a thing against aggressive players. His picks are almost all passive types who have talent, but lack fire. When is the last time we brought in a guy with some grit and fight who likes to bang and do the dirty work? K-Marts numbers where low, but he wasn't getting much run as a backup to Blake and shared the floor with a huge front line that included Jordan, Griffin and Evans. He's still really athletic (especially for his age) and loves to do the things that win games like set screens, box out, and attack the glass.

    If he was plotting for one final run, why not sign K-Mart to the minimum exemption and let Bass walk. You save a ton of money, you don't lose anything (save for maybe a few mid-range jumpers) and at the end of the season you could have let him walk or resign him if it looks like we could get one more year. Resigning Bass to that contract was just silly.

    Ultimately it doesn't matter as it's not like if we signed K-Mart we'd win that many more games, but I'm really hoping ownership does some inventory this off season and considers that there should be some big changes…starting with the GM who spent most of the season "not considering" trades for Pierce, KG and Rondo instead of signing guys like K-Mart.

    • Anthony

      LOL… I've been disagreeing with you a lot lately. I wouldn't go as far as to say DA is a terrible GM. I think he's above average. You can't judge him by the moves he didn't make and all the rumored trades. Is Sam Presti a bad GM because he resigned Perk and didn't resign Harden? He could've kept Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Harden by not resigning Perk or he could've sent Perks contract to Houston if he was worried about salary cap. As Bill Simmons pointed out, Perk doesn't give OKC any advantages except against teams like Memphis, San Antonio and possibly the Lakers. You saw how Miami exposed them in the finals and how many times Blake and Deandre dunked on OKC the past 2+ seasons.

      However, I agree with everything else you said. It struck me as weird that DA drafted Sully, Melo resigned JGreen, Bass, and Wilcox. Did he forget that KG's natural position is also PF? Either sign Bass if you want consistency (that obviously didn't work out this year) or sign JGreen if you want potential. If I were DA, I would've resigned JGreen for a little less than the $36 for 4yrs (but who know how the contract talks worked out), and sign a guy like Reggie Evans to help KG REBOUND and clog the middle. KMart had a couple of decent games but I'm not too concerned that the Celts missed out. He doesn't turn this team into contenders even had we sign him.

      • KillerGymRat

        I think you've been disagreeing with me all season :)

        But that is what this site is about, discussing opinions and I always appreciate another perspective. Especially when I get to come back and tell you how right I was that NYC was not going to blow the division, and we had next to no chance of moving up past 6th.

        I can go with you that DA is not actually terrible and more likely passable. But come on now, lets look at the signings before we say he's above average. An aging Shaq. Jermaine O'Neal. Darko. Not landing D West. Letting Allen go to Miami. I could go on but there is enough there to support my point he makes some boneheaded moves and I'd struggle to point out the great moves he made since the big 3 arrived and that championship season.

        As far as Presti, I really think they blew it with the Harden deal and took themselves out of championship contention, definitely this season and possibly next. I can't imagine they knew Harden was THAT good. I would have let even Ibaka go to keep that guy. That said, they did manage to stay an elite team so it wasn't a disastrous move like counting on two aging O'Neals who couldn't stay healthy to anchor your D, or tying up cap room with a mediocre power forward who forces your all star to play out of position and signing an inconsistent and passive player like Green to a star contract.

        Presti's other moves were genius. He has the best eye for talent in the league (look at those draft picks). Had they kept Harden they would be the most talented team in the league and scary good in another 2 seasons once Westbrook, Durant, Ibaka and Harden all hit their prime.

        I can forgive DA for a few poor decisions. But in earnest, tell me the great moves he's made since 2009 to have him be above average. Save for convincing KG not to retire, I can't think of one.

        • KillerGymRat

          And yes, agreed, K-Mart isn't a big signing. It's more the point that guys like him (and Evans as you mentioned) are difference makers. I mean look at Miami. They were already the most stacked team in the league and they sign Birdman because they know active defensive players like that are the real difference when it comes to 50/50 balls and hustle plays and making the most of every possession. It would be nice if Ainge realized that.

        • Anthony

          Lol… no, I'm pretty sure I've agreed with you more often than not. It's great to have a discussion forum with people making legitimate points instead of the recent trolls wasting their time and ours.

          Going into the season, I predicted the Knicks to finish 4th in the division behind Celts, 76ers, Nets. Obviously Bynum's injury affected their entire season. I still think Knicks won't do much in playoffs. They're just too streaky for my liking.

          Shaq was great when he played and you can't blame his injuries on DA. Though I liked Darko's skillset, I wasn't totally sold on him. He was a minimum contract so you like the risk factor. I HATED, no, LOATHED the JO signing. I was practically jumping for joy when he was out for the season and eventually no longer with the team. Not landing David West was out of DA's control. he had better offer from IND. Same thing with Ray, he wanted out and I think he wanted something like $9 mil for 2-3 yrs. That's way too high a price for a guy with bad ankles.

          Here are a list of DA moves after the championship. You also have to remember that he had to stockpile a bunch of "talented" players to make the trade for KG and Ray. Lastly signing Posey (still my favorite player from that championship team), Eddie, Cassell, PJ and Thibs were very underrated moves that led to the championship.

          - Resigned Rondo to very team friendly contract
          - Resigned Tony Allen, Big Baby and Doc
          - Signed Rasheed
          - Signed Barbosa
          - Traded for JCrawford
          - Traded for Nate
          - Traded for JGreen plus others (IMO this was a good trade)
          - Traded for Bass
          - Traded for Keyon Dooling
          - Traded a injured Marquis Daniels for 2nd round pick
          - Drafted AB, Sully

          I say those are above average moves.

          I wouldn't go as far as saying Presti is a genius. Obviously everything can be looked at in hindsight but what great moves did he make? Drafting Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka? Durant was an EASIEST draft pick he can make. I would like to see who he would've pick had he had the #1 pick. Also, he instructed Boston to draft JGreen. He missed out on Noah who would've been a better compliment to Durant. It's sort of understandable that he chose Westbrook but Kevin Love was available. Again, another player that's a better compliment to Durant. I will give him credit for drafting Ibaka though I think he's a bit little overrated. He also had a chance to get Rubio instead of Harden. By comparison would you rather have the line-up of Durant, JGreen, Harden, Westbrook or Durant, Love, Noah, Rubio? Adding to that point, the pick he used to get Thabo ended up being Taj Gibson. I already went through the disaster of a move by trading Harden and overpaying Perk. He could've corrected that by making Houston take that contract which he obviously didn't. Harden's stats may be skewed because of Houston's system but he's a beast any way you look at it. Having said all that, I'm not seeing the genius moves that you credit Presti for?

          Daryl Morey is a stats/ numbers freak which all his decisions are based on. RC Buford makes a lot of underrated moves but you have to give some of the credit to Pop for getting the most out of his players. I think Ujiri from Denver is also among the better GMs. I can't think of any other GM who I consider very good.

          • KillerGymRat

            Good discussions indeed.

            I'll concede a lot of those points of what DA did right, but I'm still not sold on the Jeff Green trade as it still has yet to pay off (to anyone who argues for it I simply say look at our record) and the thing that gets overlooked is not just the decisions you make but when you make them. Every player has a window and wasting a season of a hall-of-famers prime is criminal. IMO the Green trade cost us two prime years from PP and KG and that isn't worth whatever he might provide down the line.

            I'm also not a fan of the Bass for Big Baby swap as Big Baby has proven to be both a better rebounder and defender, and much better in the low post. All things we need. Bass is much more athletic and a better mid-range jump shooter, but that's something we have plenty of.

            We traded for Nate, but then got rid of him (further confirming my point that DA does not like fire in his players). Nate has been better for Chicago (this season) and Golden State (last season) than any of the role players we've had since. He made a huge shot and beat the Heat tonight.

            DA gave away Big Baby and Nate because (as I understand it) there was a maturity issue. But that's a stupid reason to break chemistry. That team was incredible and had the best record in the league. You don't mess with it, you just deal with the maturity issue. So great, we got more mature…and got our asses handed to us by not having offensive fire power, or chemistry, or interior D.

            Blowing that season and the one following to me shows off that DA doesn't understand risk/reward. You can't waste prime years in a small window.

            Presti is fortunate that Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka are all young enough to take the hit for this season. I'd be saying the same thing about him if it was 5 years down the line. Having a legitimate shot at a title is a rare thing and you have to do whatever you can to strike in that window.

            I'm with you on the Durant draft pick, but it's not his fault they lucked out in the draft, and it would be interesting to know if he would have taken Oden first. I don't agree on Love. I like him a lot, but I don't think he and KD would mesh well. He's best in a slow down half court and needs the ball A LOT to get his offense. I don't see him being happy just being a rebounder and outside shot, and KD wouldn't have the lane to drive with Love down low. He's also struggled to be healthy and that hand has cost him well over a season already. Love is also not such a great defender as he hates to come out of the paint and quicker forwards or good shooters eat him alive. While Westbrook is a once in a generation freak of nature athlete. Even if he doesn't work out, Westbrooks durability and athleticism will give him a higher resale value. Minnesota wouldn't even give K Love a max contract (stupid move IMO, but that just goes to show what they think of his long term value).

            Noah would be a great addition. I would indeed take him over Green and flipping Green for Perk and Nate certainly doesn't even out that oversight. But I'm not a huge Noah fan as I think he's overrated and there are plenty of guys that can get you those same numbers.

            I'm also probably in the minority but I would take Harden over Rubio. Within two years (if not already) Harden is going to be an MVP candidate and one of the top 5 if not top 3 players in the league (Kyrie might be better – the other top two being obvious). He has one of the best handles for his size, is unstoppable getting to the hoop, and can score from anywhere on the court and plays solid D . He's already proven he can score with the best in the league, and he's doing it without a Westbrook and Ibaka, or D Wade and Bosh. While Rubio is an incredible passer, he's a horrible shooter and a mediocre defender at best (being generous with mediocre). He has great hands and gets lots of steals, but in a Rondo kinda and in large part due to his size. I'm also not convinced he isn't going to be a guy that consistently misses tons of games due to injuries.

            I would love to see this game: Give me Durant, Harden, Westbrook and Noah and I'll definitely be happy against K Love, Noah, Rubio and Durant. I just don't see that second team meshing well. Too many guys who need the ball to be effective (save for Noah). Durant is not a catch and shoot player so Rubio would have to share the ball. Rubio isn't a slasher/scorer and is a terrible shooter, so if Durant has the ball nobody will guard Rubio allowing them to double down on Durant or Love. Westbrook, for all his flaws, actually creates more space and keeps the D more honest than anybody on team 2 paired up with Durant.

            There were a lot of great players in that 2009 draft, but if all things are equal (meaning I'm just drafting the best player) I take Harden over anybody. He's that good. And good in a way that wins you titles (as in getting to the rim better than anyone in the league and making his free throws). (CONT'D)

          • KillerGymRat

            However Presti is making his picks and decisions they are working. I challenge you to show me any GM who has done better over that time in building assets and getting wins. He's set OKC up to be an elite team for the next 5-7 years. While Miami–which was built because those guys wanted to play together–will be disbanded as early as the end of next season and a lottery team in 3 years. RC Buford is good, but I'm convinced Pop could have a winning record in the NBA even if given a D-League team. He's just incredible at getting the best out of people and making a system that works.

            Even though I'm not a fan of the Harden trade, bringing in Martin (with an expiring contract) and getting Lamb for it and managing to keep the team elite is huge. As is resigning Ibaka for such a discount. Getting both Durant and Westbrook locked in for long term deals (lets not forgot it's a small market and though they would make less somewhere else you have to know LA and other big markets are appealing). Drafting a star is one thing. Keeping a star signed and happy is another. Just ask Orlando. And Presti has done all this without the luxury of being able to bump against the luxury tax like Boston, LA and other big market teams.

            He does get cut down a point for signing Fisher (twice) that guy is a tool. But hey.

            Maybe he's not genius, but that's one helluva turnaround and an organization that is going to be stacked for the next half-decade. They'll also be cleaning up on discount free agent signings as soon as LeBron peaks and Durant is the king.

          • Anthony

            To counter your points:

            - It really just comes down to how you look at it. Lose now or lose later. Resigning Perk would have ruin Celts payroll for the foreseeable future. Would Perk have have made the Celts any better in the past 2 years? I'm a Perk fan but I have to say no. You have to consider that the salary cap will be tougher in the up coming years and Celts will not have any flexibility had they re-sign Perk. This is where OKC is stuck as well unless they choose to amnesty him. But they still have to pay him. Simply put Perk wanted more money. DA made a good business and a good basketball decision. IMO, JGreen's "potential" ceiling is Top 15-20 player while Perk's potential is a Top 15 center if he's lucky.

            - Same thing with Big Baby. He wanted more money and wanted to be the "man". He's a solid player but he's far from that. It's unfortunate that we have to witness Bass play this season but just judging by last season, it was a good trade.

            - Getting Nate helped us win a couple of playoff games so that's a plus in my books. I like his fun and i guess you can say immature personality but I didn't think Doc was a fan. Remember DA actually re-signed him but it was a necessary part of the Perk trade.

            - I really disagree with the statement that DA blew up the team. He got rid of 1 piece in Perk. For one, Perk missed a good chunk of the second half of that season as well. IMO, Perk was not a difference maker since we were knocked out the playoff by Miami. He was a liability in the OKC-Miami series. Last year, Perk may have added depth but KG would not have switched to center which played a big part in our playoff run. Can you imagine the offensive ineptitude with players likes Perk, AB, Keyon, Stiemsma, Pietrus, JO, Hollins, etc.? That team would struggle to score 80pts. I argue that it would put more responsibilities on the Big 3 and waste more of their remaining good years.

            - Last point, another side effect of not having Perk was that it forced Rondo play with more edge and we witness that for all of last season. And in my humblest of opinion, although hypothetical, I think OKC wins the championship if they flipped Westbrook for Rondo last season. Also, don't forget DA stole that pick from Phoenix by way of CLE to get Rondo. He traded Jiri Welsch for that pick… JIRI WELSCH!! That's an genius move if I ever seen one.

            - Pre-Big 3, DA also drafted Rondo, TA, Gerald Green, Big Al, Delonte, Gomes, Perk, Powe. That's a decent group of picks even if he has drafted a few duds.

          • Anthony

            Now to the Presti discussion:
            - I wasn't a big fan of Kevin Love coming out of college but 2 years in, he completely transformed his body and his game. I think you counter your own point by saying Love clogs the lane. Doesn't Perk clog the lane even more? Durant can play with anybody and I think Westbrook is the one that forces Durant to play his style of game, not the opposite. Durant was playing SG his first 2 season while JGreen was at SF. I just don't see how Love wouldn't be a better fit with Durant. Love isn't a low-post player that you give him credit for. Look at his 3FGA. He's at 5 per the past 2 seasons. Also, Love did a get max contract, he just didn't get max years which I think was his decision, not management.

            -I think you're overrating Harden just a bit. Like I said, he's a beast and he can ball. MVP candidate in 2 years, I think not. He will not be MVP as long as Lebron, Durant, CP3, Kyrie, DRose are still playing at high level. Let me make it clear that I'm not trying to make a comparison, but put JGreen in the Houston system and he average 20+. According to Bill Simmons, DA wanted Harden as part of the Perk trade but OKC reluctantly decided to deal JGreen instead. Does that go as genius DA move that just didn't pan out?

            - I wasn't saying that I would've picked Rubio over Harden but it wasn't a difficult decision where Presti showed any semblance of genius. Had he picked Rubio he would still have a great team and no one would fault him for making that pick.

            - As far as Presti doing such a great job in keeping his star, DA has kept the championship contending Big 3 for 5 years. Buford has kept his Big 3 for God knows how long. Presti kept his for 1 year so far. I need to see how the next few years turn out before I label Presti as a genius. Even Dwight has played in ORL for 8 years and I have to say Dwight is a exception to the rule since he just a f–g baby and a headcase.

            -I think Presti falls under the better to lucky than good rule. Getting the #2, 4, 3 picks in consecutive years is luck not genius. Who know what DA would have done with those picks but I don't see how he could've done much worse.

            - As it stand OKC is over the salary cap this season and next even without KMart. Ibaka takes over his salary and everyone gets the yearly pay raise. They can't signed anyone valuable unless they amnesty Perk but as I mention, they still have to pay him even if it doesn't count against the cap. They are stuck in that level 2 where they are not quite championship caliber but nowhere near lottery pick. That can be good or bad depending how you view it.

          • Anthony

            Wow… sorry I replied by writing a novel. LOL

          • KillerGymRat

            RE: Presti/Love.

            A max contract by definition is maximum money for maximum duration, so Love didn't get one. And the reason was Minnesota is banking on Rubio and holding the true max deal for him. But I digress.

            I'll preface this by saying Love is one of my fave players. The difference between K-Love and Perk clogging the lane is Perk isn't really a post scorer so he isn't really clogging the lane since he's not trying to post to score. Not sure how many T-Wolves games you watch but while Love shoots a ton of 3's he typically does so in transition or pop outs. Most of his offense comes from down on the block and around the rim. He's a beast down low and has a great back to the basket game. So why I say he clogs the lane is to really use him he has to be in and around the paint where he often draws double teams. So that's a lot of bodies to drive around.

            I have to agree to hugely disagree with you on Harden. He's an MVP candidate already this year (not a serious one to actually win) but he's currently 10th on the KIA tracker, and has been as high as 4th (I know it doesn't mean all that much but it points to talent). Anyone can score in Houston's system agreed. But Harden is the focal point and facing double and tripple teams with entire teams building their defensive schemes around stopping him…and he's still unstoppable. He's really that good.

            I do have to point out you seem to be playing by different rules for DA than Presti. If Presti makes a good pick or retains a star it's luck. While if DA does it it's a shrewd move. Presti has a team on the rise that just went to the NBA finals and has the third best record in the league. So who is making the better decisions?

            I also would hardly call OKC stuck. Their superstars are still developing and haven't come close to their ceilings. They may not be able to beat Miami this season, but they are clearly championship caliber as they can beat everybody else. If Miami gets knocked out they are the clear favorite.

            Miami (at best) has 2 more shots at the title. After that the luxury tax will force that team to be disbanded or revamped. OKC is in perfect position to run the table for the following 3 seasons and to use these next two post seasons to gain experience and time for Westbrook, Ibaka and Durant to mature. If you hear them speak you'll hear them say how as a team they came much farther, much faster, than they expected. They obviously want to win this year…but they are a rare team in that the window is HUGE so they don't have the pressure or Miami or SA or many other top teams. 5 years from now their core trio will just be entering their true prime years.

            OKC's future looks pretty damn bright to me and IMO Presti deserves a lot of that credit.

            Oh, and you left Shaq out of that Orlando comment. They've lost 2 franchise players. Oddly both centers.

          • Anthony

            Let me first respond to the ORL comment. They had Otis Smith as GM for both centers. I think that alone speaks for it self.

            As far as KLove goes, I was merely trying to say that the front court of him and Durant would be potent. I think you're diminishing that talent of both of them by saying they can't play well together.

            I think our disagreement with Harden has more to do with how we define an MVP as oppose to how good Harden is. It is crossed my mind now, but would you consider him to be better than Pierce at his prime (the few years prior to and after Antoine was traded)? I didn't recall Pierce ever being mentioned as an MVP candidate. And he was singlehandedly carrying the team in the playoffs also. Harden was a big reason why OKC couldn't get over than hump and we still have to see how he produces in the playoffs this year. (He sucked in the finals)

            If you read correctly, I said OKC was in the Level 2 category. Everyone wants to put them in the Category 1 of clear cut championship contenders but IMO, they are not. I think last season they were borderline Category 1 but I feel they regressed as a team by trading Harden (even with the improvements of Durant and Ibaka).

            I believe you are the one that have DA and Presti playing by different rules. You are the one that referenced DA as terrible, later putting him as just average, while labeling Presti as a genius. I was merely trying to defend DA by pointing out his track record in the draft, which i consider to be above average. I only said DA was above average, never said he was a genius.

            DA has kept his championship core for 5 YEARS, has 1 ring, 2 finals, 3 conference finals and both time that they lost in the semifinals was to the Eastern conference champions. You can't diminish what DA did because of what happens with injuries. How good would OKC be if Durant and Ibaka were injured? Yes, KG was that important. I must repeat this again but OKC did not deserve to be in the Finals last years. Spurs were absolutely killed by the refs. It was just blatant that Stern & Co wanted a Miami-OKC finals.

            You still haven't point out the genius moves of Presti? You can't compare his top 5 picks with DA's late teens- early 20's picks. It's a fact, lottery picks tends to pan out better. I've already pointed out the Harden trade and Perkins re-sign as bad moves. The draft scenarios that I mentioned above are all speculative so we will never know. Same for the Harden instead of JGreen trade that DA wanted move.

          • GymRat

            Well it's honestly an impossible argument at this point, as I said what I said and gave examples, but you are discrediting them all based on your opinion. You are surely entitled to your opinions (such as OKC not deserving to be in the finals)…but that's not a fact.

            The facts are while Presti has been GM his team has gone from a record of 20-62 to making the conference finals 2 years later. To being in the NBA finals 2 years after that and only 4 seasons after being one of the worst teams in the league. This year they are already 7 games better than last years record and (despite your opinion of them as a "category 2 team") are favored by most analysts to return to the NBA finals.

            In my opinion that's pretty remarkable, and since Presti hasn't blown any picks (lottery picks are blown all the time) or made any trades that have derailed their steady improvement, yes, I call that genius.

            We won't really know the impact of the Harden trade until the season is over so while I would have kept Harden, Presti might share your opinion Harden cost them the finals and be happier with K-Mart. We will have to wait and see where that winds them up.

            Here again you are presenting opinion as facts. You claim signing Perk and not signing Harden was "a bad move" but based on what? According to their record they are better this year than last (by at least 7 games). So say whatever you want, but the facts don't support your opinion. So your opinion holds no weight against the facts.

            But you don't want to accept that, so basically what you are really asking me to do is convince you of something you don't believe. I can't do that. And don't really care too.

            Love and Durant could be potent. We'll never know. You posed the question to me which line up I would prefer. Just because I don't prefer it, doesn't mean it wouldn't be solid. But that wasn't the question you asked.

            RE: Harden. I don't think you can fairly compare Harden to Pierce in his prime – at least not yet. This is Harden't first season as a starter while Pierce was a starter from his rookie season. I think he has the talent and potential to be every bit as good as Pierce. And I would definitely say Pierce was unfairly snubbed from MVP conversations.

            It's unfair to say Harden was to blame for OKC losing to Miami. He played poorly. But so did everyone IMO save for Westbrook and Durant. And there was no hump. It was a big step forward for OKC to make the finals, not a failure that they didn't win against a team that had already been there.

          • Anthony

            Lol…this discussion can go on forever but what I did want to make clear is most of what I've said is opinion/ speculative and I've stated so. I think either I didn't articulate it properly or possibly you're twisting my words.

            I've re-read what I've written and I only used the word "fact" once. Only when referencing that lottery picks have better chance of panning out. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure that All-NBA First, Second, Third Teamers from league history, a good percentage were lottery picks as opposed to late teens, early 20s.

            All I said was Harden, based on the box scores, was a big reason why OKC lost the Finals. I saw his #s and said he stunk. I was basing on what he did in the 1st three rounds vs what he did in the Finals. You can see it otherwise. The Pierce comparison was just something that came to mind at that time and I saw a lot of similarities. Both are potent scorer, attacked the rim at will, great all-around players that helped their respective teams to the playoff despite a below average supporting cast.

            You contradict yourself by arguing my point that OKC is worse off by not re-signing Harden. I'm not sure how his is an argument? As far as Perkins go, it was based on how poorly he played in the Finals. And pretty much how poorly he's played since. Contract wise, OKC is stuck with Perks contract any way you look at it. If OKC ends up with 59 wins they are not better or worse than last year.

            My point regarding Presti was that your view of his genius vs DA seemed to be skewed. DA orchestrated trades that changed a 24 win team to a 66 win team that won the championship. Not to mention the ECF and Finals appearances despite a hobbled team. Why is his record discredited while so much credit is given to Presti. During the past 6 yr span, isn't it arguable that Celts were more successful?

            To sum everything up, I was merely stating my reasons to counter your points. Most of it is opinion based and speculative. As with most things, there isn't a right or wrong.

            Go Celts!!

          • GymRat

            I do get your point. I just respectfully do not agree.

            To sum up my point and conclude this particular discussion for myself, I actually invite you to go back and read through it from the start since I never compared DA and Presti so there is no view to skew. Originally I never mentioned Presti at all. I said:

            "I think Ainge is a terrible GM. Were it not for the brilliant move of bringing in KG and Allen (though this likely doesn't happen if you didn't happen to win a few NBA championships with the other GM aka McHale). But since then his moves are iffy (at best) and often ridiculous."

            It's a rather awkward sentence, but clearly from the start I've given DA credit for building a championship team. You can see I called the man brilliant (at least for that particular move). Now you seem to be arguing I'm not acknowledging what he did to bring in another championship or I am discrediting his record. Read it again for yourself. I did neither. His record is part of the reason I think he is terrible (more on that to follow).

            My point all along is I don't agree with what DA's done since. "Since" being specifically 2010/2011 and the Perk trade and his overall moves going forward from there. He's made a few smart moves as well. But nothing I personally feel changes the culture of the team significantly enough to get us back into the title hunt.

            Fueling my view is the fact that the teams record has gotten progressively worse every year since that season (though you have to put an * on last year and judge it by winning percentage due to the strike).

            You actually brought Presti into the conversation and then I gave my opinion on him completely separate from DA. If you want to fairly compare them (I wasn't ever intending to but since you did) you can't do it based on their records over the same calendar period. Presti's first year as GM, Ainge had four years of experience as Head of Basketball operations and 3 future hall of famers on his team. Why not compare them from the year they started their careers? Ainge's first 4 seasons were not impressive at all. In fact we got worse over that period, losing more games each year from the time DA took over and missing the playoffs for two straight seasons.

            If you compare them from the start of their careers through their first 5 seasons (which I would propose is much more fair) then Presti is killing DA. Ainge won us the title in his 6th season. This is Presti's 6th, so we'll see if he can match Ainge there as well. If OKC loses, then you can say DA did a better job at getting a title, though Presti would have done a better job in terms of overall record and year by year achievements.

            My personal opinion is DA got lucky with bringing the big 3 together, as everything he did prior to, and since, has the team losing more games every season. The conclusion is indeed my opinion, but the record and trends over his 10 years is a fact.

            Go Celts!!

          • Anthony

            I'm sure I can think of more counterpoints but it's probably best to leave it at this impasse. Let's agree to disagree on most of the points but most importantly we do agree on – "Go Celts!"

          • KillerGymRat

            I can't agree that DA made a good business and a good basketball decision, and here's why – for the Celtics, their business is simple = win championships. It's a rare team in that we don't hang division or even conference banners.

            So DA's business is to win titles. So by that logic, it's always about win now. Which is why I think making moves in a season where you have the best record in the league, 4 all-stars and are a favorite to compete for a title was a terrible mistake.

            If KG, PP and Ray were all younger, I would agree with all the moves, because as you pointed out, they make sense in the long term. But the simple truth is the team played .500 ball the rest of the season after the trade, it really effected Rondo, and we got bounced out the playoffs quite quickly. The results speak for themselves. Would we have won the title if he stayed pat? Highly possible. We'll never know.

            But you don't have to resign Perk or Big Baby to find out. You can do (what I would have done with Harden) which is play out the current contract and negotiate in the off season. At worst you lose the guy and clear cap space. Instead we got one playable asset (Bass) and two assets that made no impact either that year or in the following in Green and Nenad (Green's impact this season is even iffy but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt).

            The reason this is a terrible move is you've just wasted 2 prime post seasons of 3 future hall of famers. You can't buy that back. You can't trade for it. You can't draft it. It's gone. And pushing title hopes further down the line just puts you at risk of injury or unexpected decline, or even an inability to resign. We've had all three.

            I'm not saying Perk is a great player, and his contact would have had to been addressed at the end of 2011 one way or another. But at that pont you've either won another title with him (which is the point and good business) or you blew it and now you can happily let Perk go or try a sign and trade.

            I think Green has a lot of potential, but by the time he steps into it KG will be retired (likely the end of this season) and Pierce will either be retired or only be able to contribute at a fraction of his star level and Ray is already gone. Which means you are completely out of the title hunt and rebuilding. If you ask me, that's a huge waste of the talent we had.

            The way I see it, and you seem to disagree, you have a window you need to attack. DA made long term decisions and cost us at least 1 if not 2 legitimate shots at the title. And now, sadly, save for a shocking dark horse run, that window is closed.

          • Anthony

            Your mention of the we hang banners and not division/ conference titles is so cliche. DA did his job at a far better rate than most GMs. By my count, Celts should have won at least 3 championships. KG's injury was a devastating blow in 2009 and he just wasn't the same when he returned in 2010. That had nothing to do with DA. I guess I'm just not seeing how he wasted 2 years of the Big 3? Celts was not winning a championship with or without Perkins in 2011. Especially not after Rondo dislocated his elbow. Last year, they were a few missed calls and a couple of mins short of reaching the Finals without Perk so I hardly say that's a waste of a year. Fact is, Celts got JGreen, Nenad, a 1st rounder (which ended up being Fab Melo), a 2nd rounder (TBD because JGreen missed last season) and cash. I say that's getting a lot back, even if you're not a fan of any of the players involved. Still a sound decision in my books.

            You're probably going to disagree but just for comparison's sake here are JGreen's per 36 as a starter vs Harden. Pretty impressive?

            9 GM 14 FGA .550 FG% 3.5 3 FGA .515 3FG% 6.1 FTA .754 FT% 5.5 REB 3.3 AST 1.2 STL 1.5 BLK 1.5 TO 21.7 PPG

            70 GM 16 FGA .444 FG% 5.7 3FGA .374 3FG% 9.5 FTA .858 FT% 4.5 REB 5.5 AST 1.8 STL 0.4 BLK 3.4 TO 24.4 PPG

            Just seeing that, I think the question is how good of a coach is Doc as opposed to how good a GM is DA?

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