I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day that I felt like sharing. Basically, it's a game, a competition almost. Come up with an exchange of two players, that neither team would ever imagine trading (or that one of the two teams would never imagine trading). He originally posited an idea, so outlandish, that it took me a bit to deal with the shock. But after I regained consciousness I thought it was a pretty good idea . . . although that might have been the medication.
Disclaimer: My friend is a basketball fan and not a Celtics fan, also, none of these trade ideas are actually serious.
His words were: "Miami should call Boston tonight, say 'Danny I'll give you D-Wade for Ray, straight up' then Danny will think for a second, agree, and say 'We'll see you in the finals.'"
That was about where I blacked out. But then I started thinking about it . . . And that trade fixes so many of the things that are wrong with Miami, doesn't fix their lack of a true center or lack of a real PG. But put Ray on that team and they are a finals team. So I finally said:
"Yeah man, that's pretty true . . ."
To which he said: "Of course the problem for Miami is that then Boston becomes unstoppable, I mean Pierce would have open looks falling out of his jersey and after two games of getting guarded by Wade, Kobe would call in dead for the rest of the series."
For three days I wracked my brain trying to come up with something comparable, something that I could follow up with. Something that would make a team, instantly unstoppable, or instantly scarier. But then, I had it, it came to me in a lightning bolt of inspiration.
I could make LA instantly more competitive and instantly more likeable . . . and then I felt a little dirty inside. But I soldiered on. And I called him.
"Dude, I think I have something that trumps the Ray Allen for DWade thing."
"All right, do tell . . ."
"Okay," I began, a little nervous, "LA calls up Toronto, and deals Kobe for Calderon, straight up. And then either just cuts Fish or makes Toronto take him."
"Because," I continued, "as much offense as Kobe is able to generate by being stupid good, he wastes a lot of possessions by not feeding into the post, where Gasol is probably the best offensive big in the league."
"Yeah," he replied, "but they'd still need to get a good-ish 2 guard to pick up some of the slack. I mean okay Kobe is dragging Fish's inadequacy kicking and screaming. But there's a lot of scoring that they'd need to make up with just Calderon . . ."
Which I was prepared for: "All right," I said, "what if it's D-Will instead?"
He laughed and said: "Then New Jersey is like 'Quick! click accept before they change their mind!'"
I want to bring some funny back. We've reached the stage of the season where the ominous cloud of the playoffs looms like . . . well something big and loomy. So I'm going to toss out a few other humorous things through the next week and see what sticks. Because it isn't that the regular season has no meaning. But it's the salad or maybe the bread sticks before a meal. It's not the meal. This is the starter and the starter is almost over and the real thing can finally start. So it isn't that I don't care how the next 10 games go, I'd like for Boston to win out . . .but if they lose every single game I won't be that sad . . . Okay, so I don't care how the next 10 games go. Because in just a few short weeks the Might Boston Celtics are going to steamroll through the playoffs like an angry minotaur in Pottery Barn and leave behind them only the shattered dreams, hopes, and bodies of every team they play.
My playoff prediction, regardless of where Boston places at the end of the regular season, Boston Celtics Champions 2011, final playoff record 10-0 (some of the wins won't be credited because some teams will have to forfeit because all their players call in sick with Spanish Influenza).