In preparation for today's game with the Boston Celtics or as our friends at Plissken at the Buzzer would call the Boston Three Party (great, great nickname), we traded questions with Jeff Clark from the excellent CelticsBlog.com. If there was a dream team of hoops bloggers Jeff would be manning the point.
Sometimes life just ain't fair.
Signed: Bitter Supporter of the Failed KG to the Bay movement.
Make the jump for our Q&A with Jeff about the Celtics and head on over to CelticsBlog.com for the Q&A I did for him about the Dubs.
Golden State of Mind: Whether it's media propaganda or brainwashing by bad NBA GMs and organizations, there seems to an unfounded principle in the league that it's automatically a good thing when your team gets under the salary cap or gets younger. For example there was a significant contingent of Warriors fans who claimed they would be extremely upset if the Warriors traded Monta Ellis or Andris Biedrins for the older and more expensive KG this past offseason, mostly citing that KG was on the decline, while Monta and Andris were rising stars on relatively cheap contracts. The Celtics did the opposite of the "common NBA logic" with the offseason acquisitions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. They got much older and added some really expensive contracts to their cap for the next few years. As a fan and astute follower of the game given age, contracts, etc which would you would rather have right now- Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, Jeff Green, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick (top three protected), Minnesota's conditional first round draft pick from the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade, and cash or Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett ( i.e. the Celtics' current roster)?
Jeff from CelticsBlog: Well, for the most part, that "common NBA logic" does make a good deal of sense. There are countless examples of teams that handcuffed themselves to large contracts and older veteran players that doomed their franchise to years of mediocrity or worse. The Knicks are just the most obvious and exaggerated example. So teams and their fans are gun shy for good reason.
On the other hand, every rule has its exceptions. You shouldn't trade young for old, but if the older player is Kevin Garnett, you do it. You shouldn't trade cap friendly contracts for bad ones, but when you have a chance to pair Pierce with Ray Allen and KG, that's worth paying for. We hated giving up Al Jefferson. But if he's lucky, someday years down the line Jefferson might be almost as good as Kevin Garnett. Maybe. KG is KG right now and should continue to be himself for another 3 or more years.
Golden State of Mind: A lot of people have poked fun of the KG deal from Minnesota to Boston saying that it was TWolves GM Kevin McHale's last great move as a Celtic, especially since he seem so fixated on sending Garnett to the Celtics this summer. Do you believe McHale was purely looking out for the Timberwolves with this trade or was there some collusion between him and Celts GM Danny Ainge going on?
Jeff from CelticsBlog: Both GMs have gone out of their way to state that they made the best deal available to them. Nobody else had Al Jefferson or anyone like him available for trade. Nobody else had Theo Ratliff's contract and the TWolves draft pick to give back to them. There were pretty good deals out there, like the Golden State deal that reportedly fell through on draft night. But the best fit was always Boston and both sides knew it. It was just a matter of getting KG to get excited about it and that didn't happen until the Ray Allen deal happened.
With all that said, nothing happens in a vacuum either. It would be naive to think that the relationship Danny and Kevin have didn't play some part in this. There's a certain amount of trust that is shared between those two that they probably don't have around the league.
Playing into the perception has to be the GM's reputations. McHale was slapped hard for his wink, wink deal with Joe Smith. The NBA has had to create new trading rules because of some of the things Ainge has pulled off. Remember when he traded Gary Payton and wound up resigning him a month later? You can't do that anymore.
I will stop well short of saying there was any kind of collusion involved. However, when you have a deal as complex and multi-faceted as the Kevin Garnett deal, you need to be able to trust that the guy on the other side is going to give you a fair shake and not make you look foolish. I think that's what Danny and Kevin had.
Golden State of Mind: The Western Conference elite include the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks. The Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz are a few notches below that trio, but by the end of the season could rank just as high. How do you rate the Boston Celtics, arguably the Eastern Conference's top 1 or 2 team, among those Western Conference powers?
Jeff from CelticsBlog: This is a lot easier to answer now that they have finally lost a game. This is a very, very strong team and they have come together very quickly. With that said, they just don't have the years of experience playing with each other that those Western powers do.
I like your description of that group that is a notch or two below the top 3. By the end of the season any of them could be right there, especially if one of the top teams slips. I think the same goes for the Celtics. They are one of the few teams in the East that has a legit shot at growing together over the course of the year and coming out with a legit shot at the title.
It is worth noting too that the Celtics probably have a better shot at it than Houston, Denver, or Utah, because they only have to play one Western team, and in a 7 game series, anything can happen.
Just wanted to thank Jeff for his great insights on the Celtics. Today's game should be a fun one. Maybe we can persuade KG that he should've come to the Bay instead of helping making the Boston Three Party happen- okay, probably not.
Also see: Q&A With Golden State of Mind over at CelticsBlog.com