It seems like Banner 17 happened in a blur. One minute we were picking our hearts up off the floor after the draft lottery and the next we were jumping on tables with Paul Pierce. Part of what has our heads spinning is the total roster turnover from a year ago. For the most part we've been rooting for Paul Pierce and laundry (the green and white jerseys).
There are players that we rooted for and enjoyed watching a year ago that had to leave to make all this happen. Those players are gone but not forgotten. Many of us still pull for guys like Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, and Delonte West. In fact, there's been an understandable sentiment to bring some of those guys back. Wouldn't Gomes look great coming off the bench? Wouldn't Delonte be a viable backup to Rondo? Someone is going to take one last flyer on Gerald Green, why not us?
Forget it folks. I know that Antoine Walker's second stint in green taught us that anything is possible, but I don't see these guys coming back. Not for any one reason, but each player seems to have moved on and will likely stay gone. Let us look at them one by one.
He's the most realistic option simply because he's a free agent. However, he's still a restricted free agent, so even if he wanted to, he couldn't give the Celtics a hometown discount. The TWolves can and will match any reasonable offer he gets. They need more guys like him, not fewer. McHale seems to agree. He's got a list of restricted free agents and at the top of the list of players he wants back is Ryan Gomes. The only other option might be a sign and trade, but honestly, what other available players do we have on our roster that the TWolves would really want? It was sad to see him go in the package to get Garnett, but a return seems unlikely at best.
Similar to Gomes, West is a restricted free agent. The Cavs gave him a qualifying offer and can match any offer he gets. He established a solid role in Cleveland and even has a chance to start. The Cavs seem interested in re-signing him and he seems interested in getting that long term security locked up. Again, I don't know of many sign-and-trade deals we could work out to pry him away. He's hilarious, he always gave his full effort, he sometimes couldn't stay on the floor, but I always enjoyed watching him play. I'll just have to live with watching him play for someone else.
Let's review. McHale reportedly didn't want Green in the deal but settled for him (and Gomes?) when it became apparent that Danny wasn't about to give up Rajon Rondo. In less than a year, Green was ecstatic to be traded to his hometown of Houston because he couldn't break the rotation on a 60 loss TWolves team. A few months later the Rockets released Green so they could sign someone named Mike Harris to a 10 day contract. Does that sound like someone that could make an impact on an NBA Championship club? It was fun watching him win the dunk contest. It was great debating his merits and trying to convince myself that he wasn't Kedrick Brown 2.0. He'll be someone's pet project this summer, but it won't be in Boston. We all just need to move on.
Third time's a charm? Sorry, no. I'm as big a fan of Walker as there is. I still have the number 8 jersey in my closet. It was a fun couple of go-arounds with him. But I just don't see how he could contribute on this team any more than Scalabrine does. He looked old when he was still young, now he's just ancient. He got his ring in Miami but now he can't taunt Paul about it anymore. He's in the last year of his deal (there's two options that no team in their right mind would pick up) so he's either going to be a nice trade chip or he'll be bought out. I'm not sure where he'll end up, but I really doubt it will be in Boston.
This one should be painfully obvious. He's a cornerstone piece in Minnesota.
Theo Ratliff, Wally Szczerbiak, Sebastian Telfair
No, no, and no.
I think you get the picture. Boston is in a prime position to pick and chose from the best free agents on the market. However, they don't have much leverage to get into bidding wars on good, young talent.
Ryan Gomes, Delonte West, and Gerald Green are not walking through that door. And that's ok with me because Eric Montross, Todd Day, and JR Bremmer are not walking through it either.
P.S. I have to give another Thank You out to all these guys for being good enough (at some point) to be included in on the trades that landed us two future Hall of Famers. For that, we'll always be grateful.