Tonight at the Roaracle for one showing and one showing only we have the Boston Three Party. Yes, I'm still bitter about the Boston collusion and think KG should be on the Warriors right now. Yes, part of me still thinks Nellie and Mully only traded Jason Richardson because they thought they were going to get KG either on draft day 2008 or later that summer. Yes, part of me still thinks that the Warriors didn't really plan on ending up with Brandan Wright or are that attached to him.
BUT I do love the work that Jim has been doing over at SBN brother site Green Bandwagon blogging about the Boston Celtics. Make the jump for his insights on the Celts!
Golden State of Mind: This past summer the Celtics pulled off two major trades. One was Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and the #5 overall pick Jeff Green to the Seattle Sonics for Ray Allen and the 35th pick Glen Davis. The other was Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, cash considerations, Boston's 2009 first-round draft pick (top 3 protected) and returning the 2009 1st round pick back to Minnesota from the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade in 2006 for Kevin Garnett. What are you feelings on both trades now? Do you regret or think the Celtics front office regrets either move given how the former Celts are playing on their respective teams so far?
Jim (Green Bandwagon): When the Ray Allen trade originally occurred I was upset because it did not make the Celtics a contender. Obviously the Kevin Garnett trade changed that. In hindsight I love that draft day deal. I do worry about Allen's health. But the same was true for Wally Szczerbiak and Allen is a significantly better player. Meanwhile, you could make the case that Glen Davis, assuming he does not eat his way out of the NBA, could have a more productive career than Jeff Green. Davis is in the perfect spot to develop. He's on a winning team with a veteran cast, in particular KG, that can motivate and challenge him. I was a huge Delonte West fan and even I don't regret him moving to Seattle. Similarly I was a big Al Jefferson fan, though more for his performance on the court than his comedic genius. And five years from now I can envision a scenario where Jefferson is putting up double doubles and KG is out of the league. But it would still be worth it. I refuse to criticize those two deals, no matter what happens from this point forward. They were power moves that made the Celtics better. Also those people who look at Jefferson and Garnett's numbers and come to the conclusion that they are about equal clearly do not understand what KG brings in terms of leadership, intensity and individual and team defense.
Golden State of Mind: NBA media and fans alike have stood in awe of how loaded the West is and continued to crack jokes about the Leastern Conference this season. With their near-perfect record against the West this season the Celtics however seem to be the exception to this rule though. How do you think they stack up against the West? If they played in the Western Conference where do you think they'd rank currently in the leftside's standings and win totals?
Jim (Green Bandwagon): If the season ended today Utah, Denver, Phoenix, LA (Lakers), New Orleans, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston would make the playoffs out West. Realistically we're headed for a season where a team wins 50 games and misses out, which is something I can barely comprehend. I would argue that the Celtics are better than everyone on that list except for a healthy San Antonio and possibly a healthy Lakers squad. I really believe that. The Celtics just play great defense and never get blown out. Still it is hard because many of the Celtics victories against the West came with an injury to a major opponent's player or before a big trade.
Lakers twice - No Pau Gasol
Utah Jazz - No Kyle Korver and Mehmet Okur
San Antonio - No Tony Parker
Dallas - No Jason Kidd
Houston - No T-Mac
Still Kevin Garnett missed the victories over Dallas and San Antonio. And even though Chris Paul terrifies me, I would pick the Celtics to finish third out West. I think the Pistons would have success out West as well, as long as they realized they had to come to play every night.
Golden State of Mind: Let's say worst case scenario the Celtics don't win it all or even make it out of the East this season. What changes if any do you anticipate this offseason? What is the championship window for the Boston Three Party? How many more seasons do you think this core can play at a high level?
Jim (Green Bandwagon): The Celtics have a great deal of money committed to Ray Allen (2 more seasons), Paul Pierce (3 more seasons) and Kevin Garnett (4 more seasons). Thankfully Rajon Rondo is on his rookie contract for at least two more seasons and Kendrick Perkins has a very reasonable deal over the next three. Furthermore, Glen Davis, Leon Powe, Brian Scalabrine (regrettably) and Gabe Pruitt are definitely back next year, although in the case of Pruitt no one knows what that means. After that it gets blurry. I can't imagine Scot Pollard will be back. His health at this point won't allow him to contribute. The real question is whether James Posey (player option), Eddie House and Tony Allen (the C's did not pick make a commitment to him last fall) will be back. If Allen continues to recover from that knee injury from last season and a team throws any kind of money at him, he's probably gone. Doc Rivers admitted to begging Posey to sign with the Celtics and if he wants significantly more money I don't see how Boston could keep him. Bottom line it is difficult, given how much money the triumvirate makes. Realistically I think the Celtics can win this year or next, especially if they keep Posey and add another big man that can play. Two seasons from now the Celtics should be competitive but I'm not sure if they will be realistic contenders. Ray Allen's health and consistency are already a concern. KG and Pierce are durable but the NBA can take its toll. I just don't see it three seasons from now. Finally, the fact that Phoenix went from a fun loving contender to a bunch of guys that could no longer stand to be around each other that fast concerns me. And that was with Steve Nash making everyone look good. I say that because the atmosphere around the Celtics has been so positive this season and everyone has bought in. How long will that last? As great as Danny Ainge's moves were last summer he will ultimately be judged by what he does, or does not do, over the next two years.
Special thanks to Jim for coming on our show. Definitely make Green Bandwagon a regular stop. I'm sure Jim will be blogging well into late May about the Celtics' playoff run.
Make sure to check back in a few hours for my responses to his answers.