This will indeed be a critical week for many teams, but perhaps a little bit more so for Danny Ainge and the Celtics. Two previous trades brought in draft picks that will turn into real people this week. Add our own draft pick which Ainge had publicly hoped to be in the lottery, and throw in the potential loss of a player to the expansion draft, and you've got a nice start. However, that is just scratching the surface of the potential of this week.
First of all, some deal could be swung with the Bobcats if any expansion list exposed players peak Danny's interest. Second, Danny has already stated that he doesn't want to draft 4 players (1 second rounder). That tells me that his first inclination is to trade up. If he can't get something in this draft, would he take future considerations?
And what of the numerous rumors of promises made to high school kids? If you believe the conflicting reports, Robert Swift will be a Celtic either at the 15th pick, or some time after that pick (they could hope he’s there at the 24th or 25th or they could try to move up to get him). More reports say that Danny is fascinated with Dorrell Wright, the anti-Kedrick Brown (all O, suspect D). Still more reports say that Danny is high on Sebastian Telfair. Could we see a historic triple play of teens in one draft? Not likely, but I do believe we’ll see at least 2 of those names holding up Celtic jerseys at a press conference Friday afternoon.
How about trades? I highly doubt the Celtics will get involved in the Shaq or TMac sweepstakes, unless Danny wants to repeat the Rasheed incident and play the role of facilitator once again. It looks like he’ll lose out on Abdur-Rahim again (off to the Nets). How about Stromile Swift?
Looking forward a bit, we still have that mid-level exception to use on a free agent. The Washington Post claims that Etan Thomas is our top priority. That would suit me fine since I’m a fan of his work ethic and energy. If that fails, will Ainge renew his pursuit of Brent Barry? Will he make a play for Quentin Richardson? Will he call up the Clippers about any of their excess power forwards?
I’ve certainly got more questions than answers, but I really don’t think Danny will be quiet this offseason. Look for him to make a big splash one way or the other. He’s made a lot of moves to acquire draft picks and tradable talent. This week could go a long way toward vindicating his moves or exposing his plan as an ill-fated flop. The honeymoon is long over Danny; now is the time to step up and show what the plan is all about.