Celtics: No Trades Is Good Trades
Notoriously shifty Celtics GM Danny “A Trading Grace” Ainge shocked the world Thursday when he took a pass on his final opportunity to wheel, deal, and otherwise transact with other teams in the 2011-12 NBA season.
That’s right: the same man who once traded away Antoine Walker, then traded back for him, then traded his ass away again all within the span of two confusing years – the same man who is quoted as saying that if he was GM in 1988 he would’ve gladly traded Larry Bird for Chuck Person, Herb Williams, and twenty-four consensual seconds with DJ from Full House – actually chose not to pull the trigger on anything at the late March 15th trading deadline, despite the many visible signs pointing toward a seemingly inevitable shakeup for gang Green.
Technically speaking, this “doesn’t” come as a surprise, as Danny has been on the record for a couple weeks as saying he didn’t expect any deals to go down, but you’ll have to excuse me for not believing much of anything Danny says when you consider the fact that he spouted off the exact same tired clichés leading up to last year’s deadline… at which point he proceeded to drop a fucking nuclear bomb on the roster, trading away half the team in one fell swoop as though he was merely revamping the lineup on his last place MormonsRuleBitch fantasy squad.
Regardless of the shocking nature of Danny’s sudden fetish for staying the course, though, I gotta admit I don’t disagree with his decision. Not that I really agree with it, per se – truth be told, our current roster’s got more holes than a whorehouse – but I don’t necessarily disagree either, if that makes any sense.
On the one hand, now that Jermaine O’Neal’s Ghost is no longer haunting the team and Chris Wilcox has followed Jeff Green down the unfortunate road to heart surgery, the Celtics’ only big men are KG, Brandon Bassmaster Pro, and Greggy Stiemsmsmsmsma (fun fact: Stiemsma is the tallest ever Child of the Corn, breaking the previous Corn-record by over two Corn-feet).
No, seriously, I’m not forgetting anybody – that’s the whole fucking list right there, unless you want to throw JaJuan “I Allow Three Uncontested Layups per Minute of Playing Time” Johnson onto the court and watch him burst into flames. To be fair, JaJuan does look like he could be a solid player someday, but right now he’s lost on both ends of the floor and would probably benefit from some time to exercise his growing pains on a lottery-bound team, where there’s no pressure on his mistakes.
In light of all this, a trade built around JaJuan, E’Twan Moore and a draft pick for an inexpensive veteran big like Marcus Camby would have been more than welcome in my humble opinion, essentially getting two birds stoned at once. Or if that’s not your cup of twisted tea, maybe a deal with a borderline contender constructed around Ray Allen and multiple picks for an athletic-but-still-unproven center?
But nah, I guess that stuff makes way too much sense for Danny Ainge, and what fun is making sense? Little to none, if any. It’s far more exciting to cast off the shackles of logic in favor of directionless dumbness, and make wacky moves like trading a defensive stalwart starting center for a backup wing with a near fatal heart condition.
On the other hand, Danny’s decision to stand pat with the current roster isn’t one of directionless dumbness, unlike the majority of his recent decisions, and that’s why I can’t disagree with it. The move to make no move not only preserves our upcoming cap space and our small surplus of draft picks – both of which are more important than ever, what with the stricter luxury tax and the freezing of the rookie pay scale that came as results of the lockout – but it also gives this current Celtics core one more undisturbed run at a title, something which they’ve only really enjoyed twice, with each time resulting in a trip to the Finals.
Think about it: in 2009, KG’s season-ending knee injury and the “will he come back?” clusterfuck of a saga that followed it obviously derailed their title hopes (although they did fight valiantly in the playoffs that year, beating the Bulls and pushing the Magic to seven with Big Baby Davis inexplicably playing the best ball of his fat life), and then last season the literally-last-minute Perkins trade severely interrupted their chemistry, their mojo, their ubuntu, their flair, their pizzazz, and undoubtedly any other vague sense of camaraderie shared by the team.
Basically, the only two times this current Celtics core had a season undisturbed by major injury or trade – in 2008 and 2010 – they made the Finals. The fucking Finals, people! Like, the National Spelling Bee Lightning Round of professional basketball – those Finals.
So call me a jackass, but I think they deserve at least one more shot at it, considering they never really failed on their own terms. One year they were fucked by injury, and another year they were fucked by the long dick of Danny Ainge’s compulsive transacting, but aside from that they’ve been perfect, and playground rules in basketball clearly state, and I quote, “shoot till you miss, or until somebody bigger/tougher than you rebounds your make.”
Danny’s decision not to blow it up, or reinvent it on the fly, or lovingly spoon with it until the wee hours of the morn gives this team one more shot at contending, and damn it, they deserve it. And sure, you could make the argument that Ainge could’ve perhaps just tweaked the roster a bit, so as to give them more than a blind drunk puncher’s chance at it, but that would’ve come at a cost of future assets such as draft picks and cap space, which will be essential to the Rondo-centric rebuilding process in the apocalyptic remains of the Big Two’s departure this summer (luckily the Big One, Paul Pierce, will still be around to help gather Twinkies and fend off cockroaches – maybe spark up a fire or two, I don’t know).
When I look at the Celtics, I see a fifteen-year-old jalopy of a car on its last legs: ancient yet reliable, dilapidated yet proud, somehow both impractical and effective in the same breath. You know, one of those cars that you can’t get started for an hour and you think is about to breakdown for good, only then it springs to life and gets you to that orgy in your buddy’s downtown apartment without a problem, riding like a dream the whole way.
The best course of action with a car like that is pretty much to do nothing: there’s no point in dumping money into the thing for accessories like a new Marcus Camby, cause you’re going to need all that dough real soon for your next car, but at the same time there’s no point in getting rid of it for something better until it officially shits the bed, cause that’s just a waste.
Well, these Celtics don’t look like they’re ready to shit the bed quite yet, and even if they do, you know they’re not going to shit it without a ruckus. Personally, I’m absolutely on board with giving this team the final, uninterrupted title run they rightfully deserve, and I’m glad/surprised Danny agrees with me. Despite the fact that I definitely didn’t expect him to take this course of action, unlike most fans, I’m not upset that he did.
The old jalopy that is the Boston Celtics is rumbling along stock in the race to the Finals, backfiring as she goes, and who knows? She might sneak up on a few cars and run their fucking asses off the road before it’s all said and done, so stay tuned and don’t curse Danny Ainge’s name just yet.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I think he might know what he’s doing. That being said, don’t be too surprised if the Celts’ old shitmobile sputters to a stop and you catch me cruising by with a bottle of Moscato in the back of the Miami Heat pickup truck – you know, the one with the forty-four inch platinum rims.
Rajon Rondo photo by Salon de Maria
Larry Bird Hall of Fame statue photo by WallyG