Simply put, the key to us winning Banner 18 is a few good men & Larry Bird.
Much like how Danny pulled off the megatrade that brought us KG from Minnesota through our old buddy, Kevin McHale, we now need to turn to another Celtics legend and now Pacer's GM, Larry Bird, in what will likely be the last season and title run in this Celtics Big 3 era. I just hope Danny doesn't flip the switch and trade away KG or Allen after the lockout (although I wouldn't be entirely surprised if he did. if anyone has the guts to pull this trigger, it's Danny). I am all in favor of KEEPING our core for one more run at the title. Here's how we can keep our core and upgrade our roster. I wouldn't exactly call this a blockbuster trade, but it may be one that makes sense for both us and Indiana.
Heck, I would even throw in O'neal in the trade in a salary dump so that we can free up some cap space to sign a top-caliber FA.
Rush is a very solid wing defender, has good athleticism, and can block shots. He hit an impressive 41% of his 3s last season and is capable of providing a some offense off the bench, but I imagine him to be more a lock-down defensive type guy like Tony Allen (plus a bit of Eddie House's sharpshooting ability), which we desperately need.
Hibbert provides a huge frame at 7'2". He can post-up and can hit from 15 feet out, which would help us spread the floor. He uses his sheer size in the paint as a rebounding weapon and to block shots. With Oneal's nagging knee injury, we need another reliable big man on the floor to take the load off the injury-prone JO (I doubt he will last throughout the season). I think Hibbert fits the profile we need. I wouldn't be against starting Hibbert over JO either.
Both Rush and Hibbert are young talents with a couple of years of experience under their belt. They both only have 1 year left on their current contracts, so the trade would also make sense since Danny is looking for short-term contracts that will come off the books to free up cap space for the 2012 free agency.
Delonte West and Carlos Arroyo: Re-sign them to back-up and limit the wear and tear on Rondo. I love Delonte's tough mindset and slick ball-handling skills but he's also prone to injury. Arroyo showed us he is very capable of running the point and he's already had some experience with our playbook, so I'd bring him back as insurance.
Troy Murphy: We didn't utilize him last season due to his ankle injury and poor conditioning, but I wouldn't write him off just yet. Just 2 seasons ago, he ranked among the top 10 PFs in the league in rebounds, points, shooting %, while averaging double-double figures. I like how he is still deadly at shooting 3s from the top of the key. If he can get back to 80% of his form, I'd take it.
Anthony Parker: He's a quality defensive player and outside shooter. He's also an underrated passer and can find the open man under pressure. At 35 yrs old, he's still a quality swingman and possibly the only one available in FA which we can still bring in at cost if we get him for the vet minimum.
Reggie Evans or Chuck Hayes: Both of them are rebounding machines and great hustle players. They can play the 4 and switch to an undersized 5 if needed. I would prefer Hayes over Evans, but I would bring in whoever we can get at cost, since we still need cheap big bodies to fill the roster. Hayes is 28 and may be looking for a bigger role and payday, while Evans is 31 and perhaps we can get him for the vet minimum or a low risk short-term contract in a back up role.
J.R Smith, Arron Afflalo, or Nick Young: Perhaps what we are lacking most in our roster is a young prolific shooter that can come off the bench take over stretches of the game. He will be the potential successor to Allen. A few names that first come to mind are Smith, Afflalo, and Young. Depending on the new collective bargaining agreement and salary cap, we will be able to determine what players we can sign. Smith is an unrestricted FA and both Afflalo and Young are restricted, but I say we still go after them if we have the cap space.
I think signing Smith would make the most sense here. All indications point to him parting ways with Denver. We can offer him a chance at the title, a respectable player's coach in Doc, and a chance to learn from one of the best pure shooters of all time in Ray Allen. Smith is extremely talented, athletic, and has a shooters instinct. Yes, he does have some on-court and off-court issues, but if any team can instill discipline in their players, it would be the Celtics. Just take Marbury, Delonte, and Robinson for example.
If we aren't able to sign any top-caliber talents at SG, I've entertained myself with the idea of trading O'neal for OJ Mayo or Anthony Morrow (provided that we sign another competent center - perhaps Kwame Brown?). The trade works out from a salary point of view, but I would imagine the other teams will also require future draft picks, which I doubt DA is willing to give up. So I think this option is unlikely, but an interesting afterthought.
Imagine this! Roster for the 2011/2012 season:
PG: RONDO, WEST, ARROYO
SG: ALLEN, J.R. SMITH, RUSH
SF: PIERCE, GREEN, PARKER
PF: KG, MURPHY, JJ
C: O'NEIL, HIBBERT, EVANS
I believe this is the roster that can get us back to the Finals and bring the title back to Beantown. It gives us depth and versatility. It also gives us a well-rounded mix of offensive options (which we were lacking last season) and improved defense - a clear upgrade!
Let me know your thoughts!
Will this roster help bring the Celtics Banner 18?
Yes, I can taste victory already! (55 votes)
No, not even close... (21 votes)
Maybe, but still needs a few changes (what would you change?) (34 votes)
110 total votes