First of all I'm pretty happy with the trade. We got by far the best player in the deal, Allen is coming off a season in which he scored over 26 points a game, and we were able to keep Al Jefferson and Theo's contract. On the other hand, I'm well aware of the downsides. Allen is 32 and coming off the same ankle surgery as Wally. The team hasn't addressed most of its needs (defense, size), and has in fact weakened the point guard position.
Still, I don't think this is over. In fact, Ainge said as much last night (reported by Bulpett):
Speaking on whether this is now the best Celtics outfit in his tenure, which began in 2003, Ainge said, "This team is . . . they have no excuses, this team out there. I mean, these guys can score the ball. We have experience, we have shooting, we have scoring, knowledge. I’m not saying our team’s perfect and it’s a perfect fit right now. We still have some work to do this summer to prepare us even more."
Those moves could be large.
According to one source, the Celts still aren’t sure whether they should close the door on a trade for Kevin Garnett, though Minnesota was looking for the fifth pick, as well as Jefferson, to make that work before last night.
That would be one heck of a gamble (not to mention payroll) if it happened. I always thought with the KG rumors that something else would have to happen to make it a complete team. It is possible we saw the other shoe drop first. Garnett might reconsider his objection to coming here now that we have Allen and don't have Wally. The pieces are still in place to make perhaps the best offer for Garnett. Jefferson, Ratliff, and next year's first rounder might be enough to get it done. Especially as deal after deal has fallen through and McHale is feeling the pressure. We can at least be reasonably sure that next year's deal won't be in the top 5, so that's already a step in the right direction. Still, you could make the case that with Ray Allen around, there is even more need to hang onto Al Jefferson because we'll need someone to take the torch from Pierce and Allen when they decline.
Even if the team doesn't revisit the KG talks, there has to be something else happening here. You can't tell me with a straight face that Sebastian Telfair is going to be our backup point guard next year (Wyc will make sure of that). Nor can you convince me that Gabe Pruitt is the answer at point (he's more of a smallish shooting guard). We also haven't added anyone of any real size. Ok, Big Baby has size, just not in the direction I was hoping for. Oh yeah, and Tony Allen can't be counted on to be our stopper when his minutes are all going to Ray Allen. Who will play defense?
On a lighter note, can I be the one that makes the kind of introduction David Letterman would love? "Ray Allen, meet Allan Ray."
So what's next? Only time will tell. July 1st is right around the corner and we'll see what other shoes will drop this offseason. Ainge isn't done making moves.
(note: For all the bloggers perspectives on last night's events, please see the Live Blog I conducted on ESPN's TrueHoop last night)