|Irish Coffee: Examining the 2012-13 Celtics depth chart||07.23.12 at 12:39 pm ET|
The NBA draft is over. Summer League is over. And for the Celtics, free agency is essentially over. So, with the addition of former Hawks center Jason Collins and the training camp invites to Summer League stars Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith over the weekend, the C’s could field a 15-man roster as currently constituted.
The depth chart is beginning to take shape. While Danny Ainge could still welcome Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling or another player into the fold for the veteran minimum, the hard part is done. None of the four recently re-signed players or eight new additions could even be traded until December 15, and Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley don’t appear to be on the block, so any changes to this group would be a minor tweak at best.
That being said, let’s take a look at how this season’s depth chart stacks up to the one that finished the playoffs.
|Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge’s masterful Celtics summer||07.20.12 at 3:48 pm ET|
How do you think David West is feeling right about now? If you’ll recall, when he snubbed the Celtics for the Pacers in free agency last summer, he said, “In Boston, everybody is kinda realistic about the window that the Celtics have. Me looking at where I’m at, I think my window is a little bit wider.”
Since then, after watching the Celtics take the Heat to the brink in the Eastern Conference finals, West has seen his Pacers match Roy Hibbert‘s max contract (4 years, $58 million) — dedicating roughly $36 million annually to a “Big Three” of Hibbert, Danny Granger and George Hill — trade Darren Collison for Ian Mahinmi, and sign Gerald Green (3 years, $10 million) and D.J. Augustin (1 year, $3.5 million) as their biggest free agent splashes.
Meanwhile, Celtics president Danny Ainge painted his best masterpiece since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007 for Al Jefferson, the No. 5 overall NBA draft pick and a bunch of garbage. Not willing to call Ainge’s offseason a masterpiece? Take a look at what he had to work with this summer.
|Irish Coffee: What’s the bigs deal with the Celtics?||07.18.12 at 3:00 pm ET|
Thank God for Kevin Garnett. Again.
If not for his transition to center last season and the assumption that he’ll now man a position he admittedly hates for three more years, who would have earned minutes at the five other than Chris Wilcox? Fab Melo? JaJuan Johnson? Sean Williams? Might as well punch the Celtics faithful in the stomach thrice.
The bad news: As currently constituted, one among that trio will get minutes to begin the 2012-13 NBA season.
|Irish Coffee: The Kevin Garnett Comedy Hour||07.16.12 at 1:44 pm ET|
In honor of the Celtics center’s official re-signing for three years and $34 million over the weekend, after another season’s worth of interviews, I give you the comedic stylings of Kevin Garnett. Enjoy the NBA superstar’s take on everything from his joy of cooking to y’all drunk fans to our idiotic questions.
|Powerade gives Celtics fans figurative middle finger||07.13.12 at 1:04 pm ET|
Only a few miles north of Boston, Powerade unveiled an electronic I-93 South billboard that reads, “Congrats, LeBron. Championship has a nice ring to it,” as reported by the Boston Metro.
Just weeks after the Heat’s LeBron James averaged 33.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game to defeat the Celtics in a seven-game Eastern Conference finals, what better time for the sports drink company to remind Boston basketball fans of their most recent heartbreak? At least Butterfinger wasn’t behind dropping 900 pounds of the candy bars on Copley Square in thanks to Wes Welker for his drop in Super Bowl XLVI.
I’m guessing Gatorade sales just soared in New England. No word on James’ awareness of the Boston campaign. Maybe Zico should unveil a Kevin Garnett ad in Miami reading, “Congrats, LeBron. Suck on my coconut water.”
|Irish Coffee: Fifty shades of Ray Allen||07.09.12 at 7:14 pm ET|
Ray Allen‘s decision to take his talents from Boston to South Beach for half the price and better than twice the odds of winning another NBA championship ran most Celtics fans through the five stages of grief.
- Denial: The Celtics offered Allen $12 million over two years. The Heat offered $9 million over three years. He’s already made $178 million in his career, but there’s no way he’s going to Miami, right? RIGHT?
- Anger: If Judas Shuttlesworth prefers the glitz and glam of a team in its prime that eliminated the Celtics each of the last two seasons to the grit and balls of an aging team that took LeBron James & Co. to the seventh game of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, who needs him anyway?
- Bargaining: Never a great defender, the 36-year-old Allen missed 20 games this past season due to a pair of bum ankles, and then averaged just 10.7 points on 39.5 percent shooting in the playoffs. In the end, all he really did was run around and make a couple 3-pointers every night. How hard can he be to replace?
- Depression: Allen made 1,004 triples in a Celtics uniform, and each seemingly brought the C’s back from the dead, snared a lead or sent a nail through another coffin. Eight broke the NBA finals single-game record, and another set the league’s career mark — all against the Lakers. How can you replace that?
- Acceptance: Playing through bone spurs, the ever-prepared Allen gave the C’s everything he had until the end, and that never stopped Danny Ainge & Co. from shopping him every trade deadline, benching him for a 21-year-old kid and always keeping his longterm future in Boston on the back burner. Who wouldn’t leave?
Whether like Doc Rivers you believe, “He should’ve stayed,” you lump in with the traitorous likes of Johnny Damon or like me you think his time in a Celtics uniform had come and gone, and his departure won’t change the fates of either team all that much, one thing is clear: Ray Allen didn’t want to be here anymore. Now what?
|2012-13 Celtics free agent options at point guard||07.02.12 at 12:18 pm ET|
Two-thirds of the Celtics roster that came within a game of reaching a third NBA finals in five years joined NBA free agency over the weekend. While Kevin Garnett became the first to announce his plans to re-sign, everyone from Ray Allen to Greg Stiemsma can still leave Boston on July 11 once the league’s audit determines the salary cap (an estimated $58 million). We’re finishing up our examination of the C’s free agent options at each position with point guards (Also see: Centers, shooting guards, power forwards and small forwards).
Rajon Rondo makes this job a little easier. The Celtics point guard averaged 42.6 minutes in the playoffs, cementing himself as one of the game’s great floor generals, so forget about guys like Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, Jameer Nelson and Jason Kidd. All of them will be looking for starting roles, with the possible exception of Kidd, who seems settled in Dallas even if the Mavericks lure Williams.
Still, Avery Bradley‘s move to the two last season left C’s coach Doc Rivers with Keyon Dooling and E’Twaun Moore as his primary backup point guards. So, while Bradley could still spell Rondo at times and both Dooling and Moore remain options — the former for the veteran minimum as a free agent and the latter for his $0.76 million non-guaranteed contract — the Celtics could make an upgrade at the position.
The Celtics now have five players under guaranteed contracts in 2012-13 for roughly $45.8 million (Paul Pierce, $16.8M; Garnett, approximately $11.3M; Rondo, $11.0M; Bradley, $1.6M; JaJuan Johnson, $1.1M) as well as $2.1 million in cap holds for first-round picks Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo. Pending decisions on or by Allen, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Mickael Pietrus, Chris Wilcox, Ryan Hollins, Dooling and Stiemsma, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have anywhere from zero to $10 million to spend in free agency.
As a result, expect the Celtics to be linked to just about any and every free agent on the market. Almost nobody is out of their league. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at backup point guard, separating the current free agent players into three categories.