Doc Rivers is the ultimate players coach and he made it clear who he favored, his veterans - The Original Big Three. Yes, he did state that when he signed the new five year deal that he was up for retooling, but in my opinion that was with an orderly retiring of the Big Three.
When he stated he wanted to be like Greg Popovich and Jerry Sloan, it was also understood how they treated their own elder statesmen: John Stockton, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginoblii - revered with an orderly retirement.
Let's look at the facts: Boston, when none expected, came within one game of their third appearance in the NBA Finals in six years, there was strategy put in place - last summer - to roll with the core group. We have to be real specific when looking at the reload around the core group that happen.
- Doc had four years left on five year $35 million deal;
- Doc called, 35 year old, Jason Terry the FIRST DAY of free agency and offered him the mid-level; at that point we still intended to key Ray Allen; JET was not originally a replacement for Ray;
- We gave Kevin Garnet a three year deal with a NO TRADE clause; essentially we tied him to Doc's four years;
- We gave long term, mid-level, money to Brandon Bass and Jeff Green; integral pieces around the core;
- We offered Ray Allen a two year deal for mid-level money with a NO TRADE clause;
- One could imply by the contracts to Terry, KG, and Ray, that we would pick up the final year of Paul Pierce's contract; BUYING at least TWO MORE years with the BIG THREE plus the aging Terry, and KG having a third year.
- We then draft Jared Sullinger, who is the anti-thesis of UPTEMPO (if this was Danny's Strategy) and we then draft a project - Fab Melo - who might be ready at the end of the original Big Three era. We drafted a plodder (Sully) in the mold of Kendrick Perkins, Big Baby, and frankly Paul Pierce.
Essentially the notion of what Doc was signing up for was a reloaded team with his core that would take him through three of last four years of his contract. In my mind this a signal that we are going to have an orderly transition to retirement with the Big Three. The granting of No Trade Clauses to KG and Ray meant that the organization was giving up their leverage and flexibility. If Danny was going to reload and go younger or build the thing around Rondo with uptempo guys, why would he do the above at all. The moves last summer severely limited his options. In my opinion, this could Doc's central argument. This is what he probably signed up for; to join at the hip with his Big Three, and their orderly retirement. Even, if one was going to make the argument that Rondo had emerged at the leader after his performance against the HEAT or move on from problems with Ray Allen; the Celtics brass reloaded with the same core. .
First Breach of Ubuntu:
- We under-estimated Ray Allen's discontent with the fact he was tinkered with in the Memphis deal; if we take what OJ Mayo stated, he heard the management was prepared to do the deal but there was real push back from the team (one could read that was Paul, KG, and Doc). We were already dealing acceptance of Jeff Green after trading a popular player in Perkins.
- Doc then, doubled down and convinced Courtney Lee to come to Boston for supposedly less money and definitely less playing time. We forget that we gave up four players PLUS a second round pick for Courtney Lee; this was the Ray Allen replacement, not Jason Terry - a multi-year commitment to two aging stars.
- Then we rounded out the roster with Barbosa, Milicic, Collins, and Wilcox.
Danny's breach came with his allowing rumors to persist and actually entertaining deals with KG's no trade; regardless of the Celtics record, that to me is a breach of trust. And although Ray left, he already rolled the dice on giving him a no trade. To me, the ultimate break came when Danny was dangling Paul and KG at the trade deadline, essentially one-half into an reloaded strategy that had legs for at least three of Doc's four years.
For Danny, Wyc, and other Celtics to be talking about retooling after they created their own inflexibility over the summer in my book was heresy. This is where I come in and say the they did not behave like say the Spurs. Once Pop and team made the decision to reload with Parker, Duncan, and Ginoblii, they did not flinch - even when they were eliminated in first round by Memphis two years ago.
I think all the noise that surrounded the Celtics around the trade deadline killed loyalty - in a certain respect - that Doc had with Danny and Wyc from the fact of the decisions they had just made during the recent off-season.
My point is you do not give KG and Ray no trade clauses and then load up with a bunch of mid-level contracts to four to five guys, and then say that well you know we are going to do a tear down in the middle of that.
Danny and Wyc could have taken the organization in a different direction last summer, by letting KG, Ray, Bass, Wilcox, and Green go or at least sign Green and a few others to one-year deals like Dallas did. This would have put Paul on notice and in play for a trade and a transition, to either a Rajon Rondo era or something else. Whether Danny and Wyc, thought Doc convinced them and then six months later they had misgivings, you do not see the Spurs, Jazz, Dallas, of Lakers acting this way. Look at the Jazz, Ty Corbin misses the playoffs and barley makes it the year before and they are still doing it the way they did it as if Jerry Sloan was still there.
If this Big Three era was truly a Five-Year plan (off KG's contract) then they should have pivoted then to preserve any sense of confusion in the minds of Doc and the Big Three. They did not, the reloaded with their aging veterans (including the implied contract and no trade with Ray Allen). What Doc, KG, and Paul did in the Clipper package was say, we are not going to go through another year of on pins and needles coming to the trade deadline.
You do not hear this level of noise out of the Spurs, Mavericks, Lakers, or Jazz camps. As for the Jazz, Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap are clear to what the Jazz think; they are not considered max contracts and THOSE two did not get the Jazz into the playoffs so let the free market decide and still retain the rights for get nothing or a sign and trade.
For this Celtics Fan, Danny and Wyc, better not have a problem welcoming Doc and the two remaining Big Three back, based on their own indecisiveness. And, I trust this sheds light to the rest of my Celtics Fans that Doc, Paul, and KG did not breach the principles of Ubuntu.