At 9-2 the Boston Celtics stand atop the Eastern Conference standings and even at the top of many publications' power rankings. They have one of the strongest starting 5's in the league (regardless of who's playing the 5) and one of the deeper teams in the league (despite a few injury issues early on). So why are we (as fans) spending so much time trying to think of ways to fix this team?
Well, the short answer is boredom. What's left to complain about when the team is doing so well (so far - no jinx)? I'm guilty of this too, but isn't it funny how we've already started posting zany trade proposals, compiling lists of trade assets, and wringing our hands over the 15th roster spot?
I suppose it is in our nature to tinker. When the team isn't where we want it to be (which usually ends up being 98% of the time for any fan), we spend countless hours discussing ways to make the team better. It becomes a habit. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this team is perfect or on an easy path to the title. Danny's job is never finished and there's always room to get better. But sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make. And sometimes the best moves are the ones you wait for the right time to make.
So lets look at a few items of discussion:
"Lets bring back Rasheed Wallace!"
I think it is pretty safe to rule this one out...
With Jermaine O’Neal out several weeks with a sore left knee, you and I both know what name comes to mind as a free-agent replacement: Rasheed Wallace. While ‘Sheed’s agent, Bill Strickland, wouldn’t completely rule it out, it doesn’t sound like Wallace is even contemplating the possibility of coming out of retirement – for the Celtics or anybody else. “I have not talked to Danny [Ainge, the Celtics’ president] or Rasheed about that, but I think Rasheed is through,” Strickland said. Wallace, 36, isn’t believed to be working out on the court in any capacity in the event a team might be interested in his services.
Even in (reasonably) good shape, I wouldn't be interested in re-opening that book. Despite his playoff efforts, I just don't think his "we'll be fine" attitude did anything to help the team pull out of its regular season malaise last year.
"Let's sign [insert castoff player here]"
Let's be realistic here. Anyone that is still a free agent now obviously didn't get a call from us (or any other team) before now. So why would we want them now? And any player cut at this time of year is either a huge headcase or not talented enough to worry about. Maybe in a few weeks or months we'll a Sam Cassell situation develop where a guy gets bought out for cap reasons that could help us. There are whispers that Jared Jeffries might be a guy that fits that bill, but I'm not sold on him either.
The point is, there's no rush here. Wait and see what happens after Christmas. Besides, the D-League has guys available all the time. They might not be as talented as some of the name-brand guys out there, but they might have more work ethic and hunger - which is all you need out of a 15th man or emergency backup guy.
"Let's trade [Perk, Bradley, Harangody picks] for [recognizable player]"
Otherwise known as "out of sight, out of mind" and "the grass is always greener." As our moderator named "Chris" reminded me the other day, you have to look at your own roster and decide who would be more valuable to another team than he is to us.
In one sense, you could make the case that this applies to Perkins. He's an expiring contract who's not playing and may not play up to his full potential for another year. But still... It's Perkins. Having him available even at 75% makes you a better defensive team. In a rotation with whichever O'Neal brother is healthy that week, he'd be even more valuable because he could stay fresh. I'd much rather keep him around - even if it means risking losing him for nothing at the end of the year.
Bradley is a piece that you could shop, but nobody is beating down our door for him when he can't get on the court. And any move involving him and/or Harangody would be (by salary matching rules) minor in nature.
On another note, heading into the season I might have named Glen Davis as our best trade chip, but he may have played himself into "we can't afford to lose him" status. Obviously if someone blows us away with a sweetheart deal, you pick up the phone and listen. But once again, he falls into that "more valuable to us than he would be to anyone else" category.
I'm not suggesting that Danny Ainge should take an extended vacation (though he may have earned himself a few extra rounds of golf). But the team might be best served by being patient, watching to see what longer term needs we have, observing what players may become available, and waiting for the right opportunities to present themselves. And they might end up mostly standing pat. Imagine that. Maybe we'll just have to sit back and enjoy the games.
But what fun is that? Hmmm, where's that trade checker?