This all may change next week or 5 minutes from now (when someone points out a critical flaw to my thought process) but as of now, here's my humble plan on how to approach the offseason.
- Make the team younger and more athletic
- Maintain cap flexibility
- Try to give the Big 3 one more shot at a title
Step 1 - Go Big In The Draft
Enough of the combo guard best-player-available shenanigans. Bet big on a big. My draft crush at the moment is Jeremy Tyler but Nikola Vucevic (if he fell to us) would be fine too. Then, buy an early 2nd round pick and grab JaJuan Johnson for even more size. If we still have our own 2nd rounder, then you can take the old best foreign player available and hope he develops overseas for a year or two.
Step 2 - Bring Back Some of the Bench
Nobody is less excited about running back our bench than I, but our options are not terribly great right now. Obviously we have to offer Jeff Green the one year tender. If he gets a better offer somewhere else, we can chose to match or sign and trade him or just let him go. If he can't get a better offer, we could get a one year rental look at him to see if he can improve upon last year's dud.
Delonte West needs to be back and hopefully we can keep him healthy this time. For that matter we can try bringing Marquis Daniels back as well. He's not someone you can count on as your backup wing, but as a 3rd stringer, I don't see any risk. And speaking of 3rd stringers, we can invite Von Wafer back to camp too. All these guys could be available on short term (probably even one year) deals for near the minimum.
Step 3 - Get Some Big Vets
Getting back to the bigs, we can't let KG and Jermaine tear out their hair (ok, bad analogy) trying to teach the new kids the ropes, so we'll need someone over 6'8" who has more than a few years of experience. Here's a name that may not wow you, but might be just what we need: Jason Collins. Here's what Peachtree Hoops said about him earlier this month.
When Atlanta signed Jason Collins to a contract for the 2010-2011 season I wrote that the move felt like a "rounding out the roster move" and that I would have "preferred someone with a little more upside". Little did I know that it would be Collins who probably had as much to do with the Hawks reaching the second round of the playoffs again and helping erase the bad dream of a playoff beat down suffered at the hands of the Orlando Magic just one season ago.
Not sure what his price tag is, but he might be worth a short term investment as a really-poor-man's Perkins. Other options would include Joel Przybilla, Kwame Brown (I guess), and for karma purposes our old friend Leon Powe. I'm not sure what the going rate on Reggie Evans will be, but if he's cheap enough, he's just the kind of guy I'd like chasing down rebounds for us. Notice how Big Baby is not on my list. He's probably better than most of these guys but he's also going to be more expensive and I don't want to commit to him for more than a year. A sign and trade would be ideal, but that will depend on the market (update: don't hold your breath)
Step 4 - Round Out The Roster With D-League Talent
I think Chris Johnson is headed back to Sactown but I'd like to see Stephane Lasme, DeShawn Sims, Tiny Gallon, Tony Gaffney, and others get a camp invite.
This gives us a starting lineup of Rondo, Ray, Pierce, KG, and Jermaine and a rotation that includes Bradley, West, Green, Collins, and one other veteran big man. The rest of the roster is projects and guys that could eventually break into the rotation or provide spot minutes in the event of the inevitable run of injuries.
This plan may seem underwhelming to many. There's no blockbuster trade. There's no major free agent signing. I'm not even sure it is worth using the MLE if it even exists - except to break it up into two 1 year deals - perhaps with team options for a 2nd year. Still, this plan accomplishes the goals I set forth above. The team gets younger and more athletic, we maintain cap flexibility to 2012 and beyond, and the Big 3 get one more (long) shot at a title. Because the way I see it, if the Celtics can all get and stay healthy for the 2nd half of the year, they can beat anyone - just like the Mavs did this year.
That's my plan and I'm sticking to it, ...for now.