So as I've been reading about the KG/PP/Doc drama, I've been wondering what a Celtic's team would look like if all the hype were true. to be honest, not only is this a difficult concept to fathom, but it's just plain hard to imagine.
Paul Pierce alone has been the face of this franchise for years. Not only that, but the guy stuck around after 2007.... 2007! That was awful! I watched every one of those games, and for 2007 alone Celtic's fans everywhere owe Paul Pierce a beer. Apart from that, watching Paul vs. Kobe in the Finals is still a fond memory of mine. Paul was just unstoppable, and how we loved him because he wasn't Kobe.
As for KG, he instantly became my favorite player in 2008 (he stole that honor from Allen Iverson, who's still sore about that to this day.) With his animal-like tenacity, amazing defense, and dream-shake turnaround, KG won me as a fan overnight. The guy was a Beast!
As for that other guy from 2008, well.... yeah.
Moving on from these two alone is difficult and painful. What would the Celtic's look like, who will carry on the history of the franchise? And then there's Doc. I'm not a huge fan of the guy, but he can coach, and over thee years he's proven it. Behind Phil Jackson and Tibs, their are few guys other than Rivers I would want coaching my team.
So what are the Celtic's prospects moving on from these guys? Well, we have the next tier as I would call them. Rondo, Green, Bass, Terry, and Lee. Now, I'm assuming that if KG, Paul, and Doc go, Jet will either retire or look for a trade to a contender (calling OKC.) So barring JET, what does a core of Rondo, Bass, Green, and Lee earn us? The answer is not much.
Rondo is an All-Star, and a top 5 PG in the league, I give you that. But he's not the sort of player who can carry a team a la LeBron. He just doesn't score enough. He needs a complement of talented players who can score, and then he can be effective. AHA! you say, I've got you! Jeff Green can score! Yes you are right. Mr. Green showed in the Playoffs that he can score efficiently, and that healthy he might be a solid 20ppg type of guy. Yep that's true. Bass also has shown he can score as well as defend. So you've got two players surrounding Rondo for the future. There's also Courtney Lee, who while coming off a bad season shooting, showed he could play pesky defense and hit the mid-range jumper.
Now you're sitting there saying, Yeah! And you haven't even mentioned Bradley, Sullinger, Crawford, Melo, Shav, Williams, etc. No I haven't, and yes we'll get to them in a minute. But track with me for a moment, that core of Rondo, Green, Bass, and Lee can't win. That team with a center added, even a good one (DMC or Howard) that team won't win. There's not enough scoring, rebounding, or rim protection on that team; we'd be an eighth seed in the East at best, stuck in Lottery mediocrity most likely.
So seeing this, if PP/KG leave than we have to add talent. Losing both contracts gives us roughly 9 million to play with (I think, I'll admit I'm no cap wiz, and if someone with more abilities in that vein wants to correct me, please do.) With 9 million maybe we could get a guy like Milsap, but that's still not enough to compete for the Finals. That might not be enough to get out of the first round even. So if we're losing KG/PP we're probably looking at something of a rebuild, even if it's a soft one, to get the team moving to a post KG/PP era.
Again there is a problem here. Father Time works against us yet again. Rondo, Green, Bass, Lee are all in the 26-28 year old range. Not exactly the prime age to be rebuilding. Then there's the fact of Rondo's injury and the questions surrounding that. So the reality is if KG/PP are retiring, than the Celtic's will have to either settle with mediocrity or look to trade and get younger. And chances are this will mean unlodaing those second tier guy's ie. Rondo, Lee, Bass, and Green. They're just too old for a rebuild.
So if you're on the blow it up bandwagon, or considering it, realize Danny would be dumping these guys. As for the rest of the team. Sully and Bradley are young and on rookie contracts, and won't ask for loads of money when the time comes so they'll probably stick around unless they get bundled in trades. Same with Melo, he'll be allowed to develop, unless he's bundled. Crawford's probably worth keeping around, as he's cheap, and has shown he can carry a crappy team with scoring (see that team in Washington D.C...... whatever their name is.) Terrence Williams, Wilcox, Shav, and D.J. are all cheap so you'd keep them unless you bundle them.
So understanding everything I've just said. What do we move Rondo, Green, Bass, and Lee for? This will become a big question in Boston and something Danny will probably have nightmares over. Here is what I would envision personally.
You're going to want to do poorly next season. 2014 is a draft you can build a franchise around. That being the case, you'e going to want at the very least a lottery pick. a top 10 would be ideal. This draft is actually interesting though, in that there's a firesale on picks right now. When pick's 1, 2, and 3 are for sale, you know crazy things are going to happen on draft night. With the 9 million available to him, I can actually see Ainge buying a pick or two in this draft, along with the Celtics 16th overall. This draft has been slated as weak, but I think there's some potential to be had. If we grabbed 2 or 3 players in the first round of this draft, did poorly next season, and grabbed a future all-star in next years draft we'd have a nice young base. All of this on top of Sully, Bradley, and Crawford (?).
Now that I'm really daydreaming, would the Cavalier's sell the 1st overall pick for Jeff Green? They want a quality starting SF, would Green's superb season be enough to make them bite? If not then what else would it take? Noel is a solid defensive big man. But drafting him wouldn't hurt our chances at doing poorly the next season, his offensive game isn't there yet.
At any rate, I would grab probably 3 players out of the first round of this draft if possible. If I had my way, I'd go for Noel (using the above method), Schroeder, and Caldwell-Pope or Muhammed. Understanding Noel is a long shot, I'd buy a late pick and chase Glen Rice Jr. in the late first/early second round.
Moving on from this year's draft. Trading Rondo is the next big challenge. He's our biggest asset in this process, and I'd be happy going one of two routes with him.
Route 1: Trade Rondo to a fringe contender who has young pieces. Atlanta, Brooklyn, Toronto, Denver, Houston, Portland, Utah, Clippers, all fit into this category. Move Rondo for one maybe two young players, and a pick in this our preferably next years draft.
Route 2: Trade Rondo to a crappy team for a high pick in next year's draft, and a young player.Milwaukee, Charlotte, Phoenix, Sacramento, Dallas, New Orleans, Detroit, All fit into this category. Basically do this to allow us to grab two players out of next years potenially star studded draft.
Finally, after all this, we've gotta move Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass. You could either shop these guys for the pics aforementioned in this years draft, or try to move them for something resembling young talent. Both of these guys have played with Dwight Howard, maybe a team trying to lure him would bring these guys in to try to lure Howard? Just a thought.
Sigh, I'm tired of typing now, so I'm going to wrap this up. In conclusion, if PP/KG are gone, we've got to hard rebuild, not soft rebuild. This is Boston, we don't settle for anything less than CHAMPIONSHIPS! If we're going to compete post KG/PP we're going to have to completely rebuild. These are just my thoughts on the matter, take them for what they're worth, and finally I'll add...... this is only if I believed the hype ;)