What options do the Boston Celtics have? CP3?

English: Chris Paul in a game against Boston, ...

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The NBA has gone down the path of the super team and Boston has to make some adjustments in order to stay in the game. If they do not land a super star or two they will at the most be a 4 seed in the future, which doesn’t  seem bad however depending on the talent that they have they might not be able to make it past round 2. Of course that is the optimist side of the tracks, they could also slip into mediocrity just like they did in the early 2000’s and Ainge and Doc will be two names of the past and I must admit that I am not so sure that I want that, those two have done a good job. Doc is not shy and will play who he trusts, who is producing and who he needs to in order to win and Danny will make whatever necessary trades he needs to in order to keep this team in the Top 3 of the NBA. So lets pan out some scenarios that could keep the Celtics battling each year.

1. Land Chris Paul from the Hornets and hope that Dwight Howard isn’t traded so that you may try to lure him to Boston to join CP. Another key part of that is surrounding them with enough other talent and viable starters to push them past the other top teams. However, you have to look at some other key issues to this and that is what did they give up to get CP3? Recently I have heard that the names thrown into the deal are Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, E’Twaun Moore, Jeff Green and some first round picks to get CP3. So with no picks to surround them with talent you must rely on free agency to draw some talent in and while that might not be such a bad idea, you just never know who you can afford after giving max contracts to both CP3 and Howard. Also Howard has said that he wants to be in a big market and (this is the kicker) a warm market. Sooo… unless we trick him into thinking Boston is warmer than Orlando, LA and some other markets we’re not going to get him. So with questions surrounding that will CP3 stay when the other big name that could come here has already make it hard? Not sure. Scenario 1 is a dangerous road and one with the likely hood that we don’t keep Paul and while we have a crazy amount of cap room can’t get Paul or Howard to come here.

2. Trade Rondo in exchange for some real promising young talent who can actually score but actually keep the Clippers pick and hope it lands in the Top 10 or Top 5 of the draft so that you get a great player who can potentially start off the bat. The Celtics seem to be stuck with players just because of the cap situation they always are in, which is the case now. With what I have read on the internet and his play last season it seems that they are not happy with Jeff Green, they apparently tried to trade him back to OKC, with Rondo to get Westbrook and Perkins. However they have to try and resign him because they are limited in options to fill out the roster which also means that they are likely to try to bring back ball-hog Glen “Big Baby” Davis even though the majority of fans are sick of him taking shots he can’t hit and missing a wide out player. This scenario gives them an opportunity to start over and get some talent in they like more and restart the Celtics around the players they got back for Rondo and the Clippers pick. This scenario is also dangerous just because you probably don’t have any super stars on the team just now and the Clippers pick has to be a hit and Ainge has to resist from trading him if he is a potential all-star. The chance of this turning into what the Celtics were in the early 2000’s is kind of high.

3. Stay on the current path and keep Rondo, let Avery, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore develop and hope that they can contribute if not become borderline stars and then sign some free agents, most likely NOT CP3 or Howard but starters at least and hope that is enough to bring you a banner or two. Names in the 2012 that could be on the radar: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley (T-Wolves drafted Derrick Williams who is a SF/PF type of player so one of these two might not be back) O.J. Mayo (Restricted but as of now still might be available) and some other decent names, so maybe you gamble on Rondo and see who you can draw to Boston with him as your star.

4. This scenario is what I would do if I was in Danny’s shoes. I would try to trade Rondo but also will very willing to go forward with him as well, it’s either Chris Paul or stay with Rondo. Unless of course some ridiculous deal is thrown your way that you can’t ignore. You have to look at the young pieces that you now have in Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore and add to those pieces in the 2012 free agency class and the 2012 NBA draft. What I would definitely keep in mind and not trade away is that Clippers first round pick which one site (nbadraft.net credited) has already put up a mock draft (extremely early) and the Celtics pick is now 8th. So you have a Top 10, maybe a Top 5 pick and then you look at the 2012 free agency to fill out some key areas. Kevin Garnet and Ray Allen are not on your salary anymore so you look at, in my opinion, Michael Beasley who is not a star but a decent starter or Kevin Love who is a better than Beasley or at least played that way. I’d also keep my eyes on other young guys like O.J. Mayo and some other key veterans who may or may not be available like Chauncey Billups or Allen Iverson who can get you some key minutes off the bench if they haven’t lost too much game. Heck, maybe, if you land the right young guys via draft and free agency you can get KG and Allen to come back for crazy cheap and very limited minutes either starting or coming off the bench. This is an unlikely scenario but one I like, of course, cause it’s mine. As a last note to this scenario I would, depending on how the 2011 season worked out and how well they played, consider trading Rondo and Green again.

I think the best option is to probably try to trade Rajon Rondo and get back a better PG, not many are actually better than him but just because of where the NBA is headed you have to try. Honestly I think it’s sad, like I’ve stated before, that a team must try to land a top name or names to stay in contention for a championship. It’d be nice if any given year any team could actually win the championship by just development of young talent and maybe making a minor move or two but alas this is not the NFL and you need at least two stars on your team. Bottom line is the NBA has 5 teams and the rest are jobbers, this is like wrestling now and the top teams are Hogan, Flair, Warrior and the others are Brooklyn Brawler and Doink the Clown. So who do the Celtics want to be? Either they make some moves to guarantee that they stay as one of the top teams, or gamble on draft picks and develop and hope that will keep them as a top team. Either way I believe in Danny and Doc and know that they will make what changes they need to make to get us back to Banner 18 and doing it sooner rather than later. The one thing that ties the Celtics up each year is that they can be forced to resign some talent that they do not like but are better than who is available to them in free agency but one thing I read is that teams (Heat) are going to have trouble filling out their roster due to the money tied up by the Big 3 they have, so many that will stop teams from making Super teams.

Can the Boston Celtics succeed with Rajon Rondo as the main guy?

Kobe Bryant pointing at Rajon Rondo

Image by Aaron Frutman via Flickr

Just as I feared the NBA decided to keep on its dangerous path of cutting the competing teams down to only single digits. Still making it possible for teams to go after multiple stars and create their own all-star team is going to put some other teams at a real disadvantage and a tough spot. So with that said you now have to look at your favorite team and wonder if they can draw 2 or 3 star players to keep your team relevant and in your state. I am against this move by the NBA because you have 30 teams in the NBA and could have only 5 of them or so will be competing year after year and that will make the NBA boring and more predictable than it already is.

So can Rajon Rondo be the main guy for the Celtics and draw in 2 other star players and lead the Boston Celtics to 18? Can Rondo develop a respectable shot, preferably 3 point shot, and free throw percentage? From the perspective of a shooter, yes he can draw in other players and at least attempt to lead a charge to banner 18. With that being said, can he draw in stars and not just average to above average talent? That I don’t know, it is possible but the chances might be better to draw in highly sought after talent if you had a better scorer at the helm, that way it doesn’t all fall onto their shoulders. As much as players want the ball, more chances to shoot and score and someone who is more than willing to dish it to them, they also want to win. So having a pass-heavy PG on your team puts a lot on the shoulders of the other guys on the team to score and get to the line and do it consistently and efficiently.

So can Rondo develop a jump shot and become a respectable threat to score? Maybe, but he has to work hard at it. The issue now is he is surrounded by Hall Of Famers and might not feel the need to work on it as much as he should and might not work on it until he is “the man” and he is forced to but will it be too late by then? I think of Rondo and I can’t help but think of Jason Kidd and that they are a little alike because both were pass-heavy PG’s who couldn’t shoot but Kidd worked on his shot and has a 3 point shot that has become respectable and one you must defend. Rondo has been worse in his first five seasons at the free throw line than Kidd was and that might be a reason, although Kidd was not Mr. Automatic either in his first five seasons. Rondo’s first five seasons he is about an average of 62% and Kidd was about 68% in his first five seasons. It is possible that he could develop a shot but the questions are always going to be there until he does and the questions hold some value and have weight to them.

The other question is whether or not Rondo was just a product of the Big 3 and not a real talent but I think that is wrong, Rondo is a very talented player and unique and earned his all-star votes. The Celtics are better with him on the team and it would be hard to see him in another uniform but it could happen because Danny wants to be the GM of the Celtics for a long time and waiting for Rondo to eventually develop a dangerous 3 point shot or jumper is just not a risk he might want to take. Would I if I was Danny, wait for Rondo to develop a jumper? No, probably not but I might pull him into my office with Doc and mention that the weight is on him more than ever to become a scoring threat and field calls from teams interested in him. Danny is a smart GM and will do what it takes to win and it sometimes requires trading away players he likes so to try to improve the team.

The thing that you do not want to do if you’re running a team is rent a player by giving up an all-star player. You do not want to trade Rondo to the Hornets for Chris Paul just so Paul can leave Boston next off-season and go to New York and now you are stuck without an all-star player at all. With all the positives and negatives from all of this I think in the end you must keep Rondo and go forward with him for better or worse and see how it plays out. Of course you take calls for him and try to get a young star here to help the Big 3 scoring but you also must remember that Rondo has some great speed and plays better with an open court, running the floor and could be a better PG with young guys surrounding him verses older players. However the Celtics are on the edge of rebuilding and like every other team want Dwight Howard and what is one way to draw him to your team? Chris Paul. Plus if you do grab Howard you almost don’t want Rondo on your team cause now you have two players who are horrible at the line, so do you want 2 out of your starting 5 to be targets for intentional fouls at the end of the game? Definitely not.

Even with all the excitement leading into this season and the potential for some weird and good deals via trade to happen I am still not sure if I’ll watch it. It’s just sad that a team, to stay away from years of mediocrity, has to trade or at least attempt to trade a player who is a very talented star. Current Big 3 getting old? No problem! Trade away the young pieces you have developed and get another Big 3 as soon as possible or be ready for some changes. I don’t know about anyone else but sometimes I forget who some of the other NBA teams are just because they’ve never been a contender, that’s sad.