Note: This was originally posted by TheFlex in the forums. Hint: TheFlex is me. A few edits have been made from the crude draft.
There are a couple guys I'd like the Celtics to pursue in both the draft and in free agency. Granted, we obviously couldn't get all of them on the list because for each player/group of players there's a separate route to getting them, but they are: Josh Smith, Carl Landry, Ersan Ilyasova, Chris Kaman, Javale McGee, Jamal Crawford, Moe Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Kendall Marshall, Fab Melo, Khris Middleton and Kim English. Of those who were with the Celtics last year, I'm interested in bringing back: Jeff Green, Bass, Wilcox, Dooling, Ray Allen, KG, Pietrus and Stiemsma.
I'll lay out my favorite path but obviously with this list and with our current assets there are a number of other options beyond the one below.
Op. 1: With the interest Josh Smith has shown in coming to Boston and the interest his current employer has shown in trading him, it's not improbable that the Celtics could get Josh Smith for a lot less than he's worth. Regardless, it's not likely, so we'll approach trade rumors as if we'll have to give up close to his worth in order to get him in return. Re-signing Brandon Bass for something along the lines of three years/19 million (with the season he had, and the decent showing he had in the ECFs he could certainly command that type of dough) and then re-signing Jeff Green for something along the lines of two years and the MLE is something that is likely whether or not the Celtics are looking to move them immediately after anyway. If we can package them and one or both of our first round picks to get Smith that is a conceivably fair trade for both sides. If we throw in both picks I would demand Atlanta's 2013 first rounder if I was Danny. I'm sure either way that's a plausible deal on both ends. The salaries on both sides match up decently but if we needed to take extra cap as a smoothing over for Atlanta we certainly have the leniency to do so.
At this point, we have a starting lineup for next year: Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Smith and Garnett. Those are five big horses on both ends we could be trotting out there next year to play anywhere from 25-40 minutes a night. However, our bench would be very thin, with only Moore and Johnson under official contract at this point outside of the starting lineup. Normally with the Celtics I would suggest wrapping up re-signings because we haven't been in place for big name free agents or even superior bench players like Jamal Crawford for a while. Even with the Smith trade though, we'd have anywhere in the neighborhood of 22-28 mil in space to piece together a very, very competitive bench depending on whether or not we take that extra contract from ATL.
Jamal Crawford only made five million on a mediocre team this year, and has a player option heading into this offseason that could make him an unrestricted free agent. He's 30, but can still pour on the buckets and is exactly what the Celtics have been searching for with over the hill guys like Stephon Marbury and headcases like Nate Robinson: an instant offense rotational perimeter guy. I haven't heard incredible things about his locker room psyche but haven't heard bad things either -- on a team like the Celtics, that's all we ask from you at least coming into the team. We could easily fork over 7-8 mil a year for 2/3 years and have a legitimate backup guard that can score and run the offense. He's also a very good three point shooter, something we were sorely lacking these playoffs whenever Pierce and Ray Ray went cold (which they did, on a number of occasions).
And still again, the Celtics have space, with 15-20+ mil in availability. At this point we should focus on a guy I like to call the anti-Josh Smith: a good defender but in different ways and a good offensive weapon but in different ways. Carl Landry knows his role on both ends, he knows he's a little undersized and yet still manages to produce. Tom Haberstroh wrote an article over the weekend talking about Landry's deceptive efficiency down on the block and he has the shoulders to muscle the East's big men such as Bosh and Stoudemire on the defensive end. He made around 9 million this year on a mediocre team and I would be fine with offering him the same type of money for three years. We were going to do the same with David West and although Landry is a little lesser of a player he's slightly younger and we wouldn't have to go into the luxury tax to get him, at least in the early stages of summer.
At this point we have four bench players, two who live up to their expectations as sixth/seventh men, who can score and play average-above average defense. Crawford isn't great on the defensive end but neither was Ray Allen, Bass, Dooling, etc. coming in. We can now go back to last year's roster and throw a one year, 8-10 million dollar deal at KG; a two year, seven million a year deal at Ray (everyone expects him to get KG money but he's having surgery this offseason and only made 10 million last year... if he wants 10 million a year then I say let him walk); a two year, three million a year deal at Wilcox; a three year, two million a year deal at Stiemsma; a two year, 1 million a year deal at Dooling and a two year, 1.5 million a year deal at Pietrus. Don't forget, Pietrus was also playing with knee injuries that will require surgery over the summer. I'm interested to see if his game bounces back assuming that he could come into Boston's training camp as close to perfect health as human being can be.
That's 15 players, whether the 15th be a throw away in the Josh Smith trade or more realistically our selection in the second round. The cap space of around 42 million is an estimate and could be as high as 44 million... at 42 million, if every player mentioned took the maximum potential money that I suggested it would leave us 12 million over the luxury tax. It's likely that not every one will demand the maximum potential cash and it's also likely that we'll have a few extra million in cap than 42 million, which would leave us just around the luxury tax threshold. We could (actually, we'd have to if we took that extra contract from ATL) deal our second rounder for half a million in cash. That means we'd get nothing out of the draft but in this same option we could theoretically have two first rounders again next year.
That leaves us: Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Smith, Garnett; Crawford, Ray Ray, Pietrus, Landry, Stiemsma; Dooling, Moore, JJJ, Wilcox and Player X from ATL/our second rounder (much more likely the second rounder; again, it doesn't seem likely we'd have to take on an extra contract). I'd love to see us draft Kim English in the second round or Khris Middleton if he drops. Both good scorers, though neither very athletic, but can put the ball in the bucket and seem to be mature. A very good team and possible to orchestrate in the offseason for sure. Go get 'em Danny!