Kevin Garnett is a Boston Celtic. It feels completely alien to say it, and it felt even more foreign watching his smiling mug hold up the #5 jersey. But I have to tell you, during the KG introduction / press conference / lovefest yesterday, I did something that I haven't done in a good, long while.
I went to the cupboard, took out a tall glass, and cupped it in my hands. I went over to the refrigerator and pressed the button for crushed ice. I pressed the button for water and it began to flow, filling my cup about three quarters of the way. I slid open a white drawer, took out a small packet of green powder, and ripped it asunder. I poured the contents into the crushed ice and water and watched the crystalline powder filter slowly to the bottom. After staring a minute, I cupped my hand over the top of that glass, swirled the mixture together, and pursed my lips. Eyes sealed shut, I tilted my head back and took a sip, long and slow.
More after the jump.
For the first time in over fifteen years, I tasted the sickly-sweet sting. A flood of emotion washed over me as I swished the liquid between my cheeks and through my teeth. I felt like Dwayne Wade in that Gatorade commercial, a little head on each of my shoulders.
"This feels wrong! What are you doing? You're not supposed to drink that stuff; you promised!"
"Just shut up and enjoy it, fool! We haven't felt this way in years! We've got a shot now, do you hear me? We've got a shot!"
When the news broke that the Garnett deal was actually happening, I was both stunned and saddened. Even if you were a big proponent of this trade, we really did mortgage the future. Heavily. How bright would that future have been? Who knows? I always maintained I'd at least like to see how Jefferson, Pierce, and Allen worked on the court together before committing our remaining trade assets. I would have liked to see who was desperate at the trade deadline and used Theo's expiring contract, Gerald Green, and future picks to secure the missing pieces and turn our team into a contender for the remainder of the Pierce/Allen tenure. How good could that team have been? We'll never know.
Danny went with the sure thing in Garnett over the nebulous future of the Jefferson-Pierce-Allen led team. I can't say that I blame him; it saves his job, Doc's job, pacifies the fanbase, makes the team relevant in both local and national media, brings millions in revenue to the team, and of course, gives the Celtics a puncher's chance to represent the Eastern conference in the NBA Finals and hopefully, hopefully, win it all.
Are we good enough to beat an elite team in the Western Conference? No, not with Tony Allen's health in doubt, Brian Scalabrine logging heavy minutes, and over-reliance on players who have yet to play a minute of professional basketball (Davis, Pruitt, Wallace). I wrote a few days ago decrying the fact that we appeared to be Done in Free Agency. The Garnett deal changes everything. Now, I actually believe Danny when he claims "we're not done." Man, we better not be done, or else we're in a heap of trouble.
I can't say that I'm as giddy as Jeff. The curmudgeonly realist in me simply can't overlook the depth issues facing the Celtics post-trade. We're still too thin in key areas. However, it seems that Boston is now a preferred destination for many of the remaining free agents out there and we should have the pick of the litter. Ownership has proven that they're willing to shell out for a championship and there's no turning back.
Let's be clear: this is an all-in move; if the Garnett/Pierce/Allen troika does not bring a title to Boston in the next 3-4 years, and Al Jefferson continues his ascent toward stardom, it will be deemed a failure. The team will have to rebuild for the following 5-6 without much youth in the pipeline while Bosh's Raptors, Howard's Magic, and the fully grown Baby Bulls all hit their prime. I really, really hope this works.
Regardless of the end-game, this team is going to be fun to watch and will win its fair share. After suffering through last season's tank-fest and having to cope with something so foreign to my nature (read: root against the Celtics) for so long, it's going to be fantastic to see a competitive product out there on the court.
I removed the glass from my lips long enough to swallow that first sip, and felt unusually refreshed as it left my mouth and cooled my throat. I went to raise the glass again, but hesitated. As much as I knew how good gulping down the rest of that green nectar would feel, something kept me from finishing the glass right then and there.
If you drink Kool-Aid too fast, you get a stomach ache.
I set the glass down and re-fixed my gaze on the New Big Three as they beamed proudly, displaying their jerseys in tandem under the strobe of a hundred camera flashes. They seemed genuinely ecstatic to be playing together. I wished the season would start tomorrow. I looked back at the glass, longingly, wanting to guzzle the lot of it.
No, no. Let's savor what's left of this glass, this time. Once it's gone, it might well be a long time before I'm capable of making another.