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The Other Big 3

When the Garnett rumors surfaced before the draft, I thought it would be great as long as we made another move to put someone next to KG and Pierce.  When the Ray Allen trade happened, most of us felt that we still needed to add someone else to work with Pierce and Allen.  Now the other shoe has dropped and the shockwaves of the impact are being felt around the globe.

We’ll have plenty of time to talk about how KG will fit in with Pierce and Ray Allen.  We’ll have ample time to talk about what other players the team will have money left to put around them.  We’ll have the rest of the offseason to figure out how the team is going to turn this on-paper-juggernaut into a real banner hanging from the rafters.

For now, I’d like to look at the big 3.  No, not Bird, McHale, and Parish.  Not even Pierce, Allen, and Garnett.  Nope.  Not yet.  Instead, I want to look at the three men most responsible for making this deal happen and the men who are responsible for following through with it.  Danny, Doc, and Wyc.

Danny Ainge

DannyThis is officially Danny’s legacy.  This is what he’s been working towards his whole tenure as Celtics GM.  He swung and missed at other big name trades (Allen Iverson, Carlos Boozer, Chris Paul).  He made a lot of sideways (and perhaps backwards) moves (LaFrentz, Ricky Davis, Walker, Wally, Telfair).  But he kept gathering assets.  He kept picking up building blocks.  He kept finding gems late in the draft.  Frustration mounted when it looked like it would all be fruitless machinations.  But still Ainge preached patience.

Back in February I said that this summer would be the most critical for Ainge.  Either he had to go for the knockout or he should be replaced.  Well, he just threw a one-two combination that landed us Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett without giving up Paul Pierce.  Call it a desperate move or a stroke of genius; he’s laying it all on the line right here, right now.

The thing is this deal does nothing but turn up the heat on him.  He has to win now.  He has to keep working.  He has a bench that is kiddie-pool in depth and he has to find some cheap, veteran players to fill out this roster.  The team still needs a point guard.  The team could still use a center.  There are still holes to fill.  The team can’t sell us on Theo’s contract year or Telfair’s new lease on life anymore.  They need more players.

He’ll need to find players for cheap too because the best free agents are gone (there’s not a lot of guys out there worth paying luxury tax dollars for) and there isn’t much left on the roster to trade.

Moving forward, this might be where Danny’s talent of finding talent in the back end of the draft comes in.  The team is going to need to fill holes with cheap veterans and young, non-lottery talent.

The other shoe dropped, but Danny’s still not done.  In fact, he’s got a lot of work left this summer.

Doc Rivers

DocThe whipping boy of the fans is still the coach of this team …for now.  His limitations are widely reported.  He’s not the best X’s and O’s coach.  His in-game decisions are slow and suspect.  His rotations make your head spin.  He reacts poorly to opponents’ game planning.  There doesn’t seem to be a plan on defense.  With all of that said, I still hold out hope that he can make this work.

Consider for a moment his greatest talent.  He’s a people person.  He got Paul Pierce (who hated the whole situation a few years ago) to buy in.  He’s going to need to work with some huge names and get them to work together.  As a bonus, these aren’t your typical prima donna big names like Shaq and Kobe.  These are class acts all the way.  I think he can get these guys on the same page because they will want to be on the same page. 

He’ll also have to get the role players to play their roles.  With 3 potential Hall of Famers on board, that shouldn’t be hard either.  Think Scalabrine will be chucking 9 three pointers a game with Ray Allen on the floor?  Nope, he’ll be setting picks like he should be.

Doc still has an opening on his staff to bring in a guy that might be able to help him with formulate a defensive gameplan centered around Garnett.  The rotation is now plug-n-play.  In game decisions will be less critical when the stars are carrying the load.  Doc’s style of letting players play through their mistakes was probably not the best fit for his younger teams, but the veterans might like it better.  They can react real-time to things happening without being micromanaged.

Finally, consider the fact that Doc is officially out of excuses.  So either he succeeds, or he’s gone.  Simple as that.

Wyc Grousbeck

WycThe ownership of this team has promised all along to pay up if the opportunity presented itself to win Championships.  True to their word, they are primed for future luxury tax dollars.  Right out in front as the face of the ownership team is Wyc Grousbeck.

Wyc strikes me as an owner that gets the fan part of this business.  He’s a business man by trade, so he’s not going to overspend for a lesser product (like say, the Knicks roster).  Still, the fan in him wants desperately to add banners to the rafters.  He’s done his best during the rebuilding years to distract the fan base with scoreboards and dancers and concerts after the games.  But he’s known all along that winning is the true draw.  A winning team is really all that matters in this business.

This is the Celtics we are talking about.  It isn’t just the players and coaches that have to live up to the legacy and tradition.  The owners feel that pressure too.  Wyc wants to put his name in the history books.  Not as the caretaker of a team that sorta-got-by; but as the chief architect of a team that brought the title back to Boston.  Here’s hoping he gets his wish.

To get there, he’s going to need to keep spending.  As I said before, this deal alone doesn’t mean the end of business this summer.  It is the centerpiece that needs to be built around.  That means opening up the checkbook to bring in more players.  Those players will cost money.  Perhaps luxury tax money.  Cut the check Wyc.  You can’t go sorta-all-in.  You have to go all the way.

By the way, I’m sure some small part of Wyc is grinning not just because he landed Kevin Garnett, but because he was able to get rid of Sebastian Telfair in the process.  Wyc seems to put a high value on character, and I’m sure that nothing pleased him more than getting rid of guys like Blount (who quit on him) and Telfair (who I’m sure he felt betrayed by).

The Other Big 3

Danny, Doc, and Wyc have their work cut out for them, but they’ve come a long way.  The team is ready to contend for championships.  They have put the team in position to be great but they aren’t done yet.  Now it is their job to guide that greatness to the end goal.

Banner 17.  It isn’t a slogan, it’s a mission statement.  It’s all that matters.