As expected, July 1st was much more eventful than draft night. Now that the quiet period has been lifted, we're getting rumor after rumor and breathless updates on everything Rasheed Wallace is doing. I think I can understand where Ainge is going with all this, but that doesn't necessarily mean I like it.
The Need For Sheed
The big news of the day is that the Celtics are reportedly making a huge push to show Rasheed Wallace the love and recruit him to Boston for the MLE. It isn't clear how many years the Celtics are willing to commit. I would imagine it isn't very many given his age, Ainge's aversion to long term deals, and the mere fact that we have to make such an effort to get him to sign with us instead of another team that also has the MLE to offer.
I get why they are shooting for Sheed. He's probably the most talented guy that they can reasonably get for the MLE without stretching the contract out several years. This is classic value shopping. Besides, he fills a very real need and would seem to fit in perfectly to our system that asks big men to play defense and stretch the floor with shooting. I just wish it didn't have to be Sheed. I'll probably grow to like him but I still have a bad taste in my mouth about him that isn't going away until I see him win some games for us. Even then, I'm pretty sure I'll have a nagging feeling that he'll end up hurting us at some point.
Say It Ain't So Powe
The other big news was the revelation that Powe doesn't appear to be in the Celtics plans going forward. This I'm much more disappointed about. I understand declining to give him a qualifying offer because that's guaranteed money. My thinking all along was that they would give him a partially-guaranteed contract and perhaps even one that had team options for future years. Instead they told him "Good luck with another team" and explained that they couldn't tie up a roster spot on him.
I'm sorry but ...what? Last year they tied up a roster spot on Sam Cassell (cutting Darius Miles in the process) so that he could be an extra assistant coach. You mean to tell me the 58th pick in the draft or Gabe Pruitt have earned a spot over him? Don't we need more depth in the frontcourt?
And that doesn't even take into account his personality. We need more Leon Powes in this world and on this team, not less. It was bad enough losing Ryan Gomes and Delonte West but at least we got something for those guys. Leon Powe is pretty much the definition of a class act and he had a direct impact on beating up the Lakers in the Finals last year.
I understand that Ainge is focused on the bottom line, but losing him cuts to the bone.
Assorted Other Stuff
- Robert Swift makes sense to me as another low-risk, high-upside move. Worst case is Patrick O'Bryant. Best case is a decent 7 footer off the bench. He'll have an unpaid tryout during the Summer League. I'm willing to bet he'll be on the roster by training camp.
- Can't hurt to give Mike Sweet-tooth a shot too, but I'm much less optimistic about his chances.
- Sounds like the Celtics are looking at Grant Hill and Anthony Parker as options to back up Pierce. No surprises there. Hill likes it in Phoenix and Parker could probably get more money overseas, but maybe one of them will take a shot at a title with us.
- Thankfully Eddie House is back for another year. He knows his role and plays it well.
- Not sure what to make about the prospect of Marbury re-signing. He didn't exactly impress in his short stay last year. His attitude seems to be in the right place and he still has talent, but can his body still do what he used to be able to do? We'll see.
- The Pistons signed up for Charlie V and Ben Gordon. Not sure if that was worth dumping Billups for, but whatever.
- After we (presumably) sign Rasheed and maybe one other player, I imagine Danny will largely sit back and see which free agents don't get big money and have to settle for a shot at a ring. Baby is in that group.
Interesting mixed bag of a first day. But one day does not an offseason make. We'll see if we're in better shape at the end of the summer than we are now.