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Six Moves the Boston Celtics Should Make
Posted By Stephen Litel On December 6, 2011 @ 4:00 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
Finally, the 2011-12 NBA season is about to begin and the excitement is building. While many seem to focus on the reigning MVP Derrick Rose and his Chicago Bulls, Dwight Howard and his Orlando Magic, or the “Big Three” in Miami, there seems to be little talk of the one team in the Eastern Conference which has won a title in recent years: the Boston Celtics.
Now that teams can officially begin doing business, the Boston Celtics have some work to do and decisions to make. It should be quite interesting to see what Danny Ainge and company do prior to the season’s tipoff on Christmas to keep up with the younger Eastern Conference teams. There are many ways in which the Celtics can go about improving their team for the upcoming season as well as the future and here are a few.
#1 – Decide if they are going for one more championship push or starting over now.
The Celtics are in the midst of an important time for the franchise. This is a team that is one of the most successful in NBA history, but when they have had down times they have been very low. Because of the history of the team, as well as where they stand with their current championship-contending, but aging team, they must make the decision if they are going to roll with their current core for one or two more seasons or blow it up and start over with younger talent.
It seems as if the Celtics have made their decision for the shortened 2011-12 season: they are going to roll with their current core again. Recently, Danny Ainge stated he doesn’t expect to trade any of the core players on this contending, yet aging team, as he and the team’s brass believe they have one more run in them. A shortened season such as this will certainly help an older team such as Boston.
#2 – Make nice with Rajon Rondo.
While Ainge states he doesn’t plan on trading any of the core players, that doesn’t mean he won’t answer his phone and listen to trade offers. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be doing his job effectively and that is why recent reports have included the name of Rajon Rondo.
After the trade of Kendrick Perkins last year, Rondo showed himself to be a human with emotions and reports since his name surfaced in rumors Rondo has expressed some hurt feelings. After all, many believed that Rondo would be a Celtic for years to come due to his contributions to the team throughout his time in the NBA and his still-young age, but he has learned how the league is a business the past year.
The Celtics need to make sure their point guard understands his importance to the team, as well as their desire to keep him with them during this seemingly final run at glory with the current squad. If his head isn’t on straight, it could cause problems, although Rondo has nearly always been nothing but professional.
#3 – Determine if Paul Pierce is a Celtic for life.
As is the case with answering calls regarding Rondo, Ainge would also be doing a disservice to the franchise if he didn’t listen to calls regarding Paul Pierce. While it is nearly impossible to imagine Pierce in any other uniform, he may be one of the big pieces in obtaining younger players or draft picks for the future. He would bring more to the team than the older Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen.
It very well may be far-fetched to imagine the Boston Celtics actually trading Paul Pierce, but as Ainge said, he “doesn’t plan” on trading any of the core players. Plans can always change if the right offer comes along.
#4 – Figure out how to get more out of Jeff Green.
Last season after the trade which brought Jeff Green to the Celtics, his performance was underwhelming to Celtic fans. There were such high hopes for Green to fill many of the holes in the Celtics front-court rotations since he can play numerous positions, but Green never seemed to find a solid footing.
After an extended off-season, it looks as if a deal to retain Green’s services should be completed soon (he’s a restricted free agent) and Celtics fans should like what they are hearing from the player. He too was unimpressed with his performance last season and is a prideful player, stating he has “unfinished business” in Boston and is ready to show those who didn’t understand his acquisition why the Celtics believed in him. If Green does indeed come in as a motivated player, he should certainly help the Celtics greatly as they prepare to make a long post-season run.
#5 – Address the post situation.
While a rejuvenated Jeff Green would certainly help the Celtics, he won’t be able to address all of the issues in the post alone. That is why Boston has made a point to reach out to a handful of post players recently. Jermaine O’Neal has had a few moments in his time in Boston, but not enough to be a full-time contributor and many don’t expect Glen “Big Baby” Davis to be back with the team, which are a few other reasons the Celtics are exploring their options with other players. However, they are limited in what they can over because they are over the salary cap. If the cost is more than the Mid-Level Exception, the Celtics are out of luck.
Names such as Josh McRoberts, Chuck Hayes, Reggie Evans and Carl Landry have all come up in discussions recently. Hayes and Landry may be the bigger targets for Boston, as they would have more to give to the team than McRoberts or Evans, but any or any combination of these four players would be excellent fits with the team. The Celtics would be wise to continue conversations with these players.
#6 – Get in shape ASAP.
As is the case all around the NBA, it will be interesting to see what kind of shape the players are in when they return to the court. With an aging team such as the Celtics, it is of even greater importance. The youthful teams that are full of great ambition should seemingly be better prepared to handle a shortened and jam-packed schedule, but the Celtics are former champions with a very strong core. They also know their window is going to close soon, so time is of the essence.
While the shortened season may seem to favor the younger teams due to their young legs and ability to bounce back quickly, each game will hold more importance. There will be more urgency and more of a playoff feel throughout the regular season and that favors a team with the winning pedigree of the Boston Celtics.
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