Today is an emotional day for the Boston sports fan. The Celtics win at the buzzer. The Bruins lose in a shootout to their arch-rival, the Canadiens, and they also lose out on Jerome Iginla, who was traded to Pittsburgh late last night. Meanwhile back in the NBA, the Miami Heat fall to our beloved Tom Thibodeau and his Chicago Bulls and lose their historic win streak in the process. It has been quite the windy-day-hang-glide-sesh. To put it simply, I do not have the emotional fortitude to coherently discuss my feelings on all of these.
Instead, you get a quick observation about the Celtics most recent signings! Yippee!
Celtics fans, myself included, were a bit perplexed when it was announced that Terrence Williams, Shavlik Randolph, and DJ White were signed to multi-year deals instead of just the rest of this season. I don’t mean to diminish the significance of bolstering the “stand until the starters score” lineup but the news seemed to make little sense from a purely-basketball perspective. Three guys who couldn’t make NBA rosters to start the season are now more likely than ever to be on the C’s to start next season. Perplexing indeed.
Making up the candied-coating of these signings is the Celtics’ need for an extended look. Doc Rivers had played this trio almost zero meaningful minutes in their initial 10-days. It makes sense that the C’s would want to these guys run wind sprints in at least three more practices before deciding on whether they were suitable for towel-waving, pregame dapping, and other methods of teammate encouragement.
Breaking through that shell and getting that first wave of chocolatey goodness tells us that signing these players to multi-year deals at (presumably) the lowest allowable money is smart business. If by some basketball miracle one or all of these players prove themselves more than just mere bench fixtures, the C’s have made themselves look like Daryl Morey in the eyes of other GMs (re: being equal parts jealous and impressed). The C’s also prevent themselves from getting Stiemsma’d* if that aforementioned miracle comes to fruition.
Finishing off this awful candy analogy, the gooey center is more smart business. Life is all about learning from mistakes. The Celtics got a big lesson when they tried to send Chris Wilcox to Washington in the deal that netted them Jordan Crawford, only to have Wilcox give them a big ol’ middle finger.
As BRobb pointed out at the time, Wilcox stood to lose his Early Bird Rights if he was traded. Early Bird Rights allow teams to exceed the cap to sign their own players, which means losing those would have meant losing out on the potential of Wilcox having fatter pants pockets come this offseason. Now I supposed the Celtics could have told Wilcox, “there’s no chance in hell we’re going to re-sign you because you still don’t know our defensive rotations,” but that’s not smart business.
Since we’ve established that the Celtics engage in “smart business,” telling Wilcox to go over to Long Wharf and take a longer walk wasn’t an option. Not only do the Celtics engage in smart business, they also learn from their mistakes thus upgrading their “smart business practices” to “wicked smaht business practices.” The C’s didn’t want to miss out on another opportunity to make a Jason Collins‘ caliber player a cornerstone of their franchise by getting Wilcox’d**.
In order to prevent that from happening, the C’s signed all three players to multi-year deals. While the exact details of Williams, Randolph, and White’s respective contracts have not been released beyond them all containing team options for next season, I have confirmed with the Collective Bargaining Agreement Guru Larry Coon that signing these players to multi-year deals would prevent them from having any trade veto power. Wicked smaht.
There’s no telling whether or not these players will make next year’s roster as a lot can happen in one offseason. Either way, the Celtics have prevented themselves from getting Stiemsma’d or Wilcox’d. It will be interesting to see whether or not they stick around like a Houston Rocket or go the way of Oliver Lafayette and Tony Gaffney (remember these guys?!).
*Since his block percentage is way down this season, the new definition of “Stiemsma’d” is a team losing out on their own cheap, useful player due to salary cap restrictions (Example: Team A got Stiemsma’d in the offseason because they didn’t have Player A’s bird rights and Team B could offer him more money). Please note, the future definition of “Stiemsma’d” will be a team overpaying for a fringe NBA player based on one good year of production (Example: Man, Team A really Stiemsma’d themselves by giving Player B almost 3 million a year).
** Having a fringe rotation player utilize his defacto “No Trade Clause” because he’s on a second one-year deal.
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