For all of my End of Days bluster and hyperbole, there's still a chance that Danny Ainge will look around and decide that the best team he can put on the court will look a whole lot like the one that pushed the (now NBA Champion) Heat to 7 games.
When asked if he would bring back the four free agents if he were allowed, Ainge said, "In my perfect world, absolutely. It was a good mix of guys, and had we been healthy this year we had a real chance. Had we had the team that we sort of thought we’re hopeful to have before the year started, I think we had a real chance this year. And we did in spite of it. We were close anyway. But there’s nobody on the team I wouldn’t want back. And now it’s just a matter of trying to piece this thing together with the framework of the collective bargaining agreement and budgets.’’
I still think that even if the core is brought back, things will still be different next year. If Ray is gone that changes things drastically. Even if he comes back he's almost assured a 6th man spot behind Avery Bradley. With a full training camp and plenty of practice time and Danny Ainge leaning on Doc we should see a lot more of the young guys as well. We'd have to in fact, if we want the Old School guys to have enough to survive to and through the playoffs. Plus, argue all you want about the details, but in general it feels more than ever like this is Rondo's team now.
Yeah, I know, we've heard all this before but it still feels to me that next year's team is going to be different somehow. My gut is telling me that Danny will not simply run it back. He's going to do something unexpected or creative. Did anyone think he had a shot at David West last year? Yet he almost pulled it off. He was unafraid of going after Chris Paul and nearly traded Pierce and Allen at the deadline. This is not a man who takes the easy road without at least checking the GPS for some roads less traveled.
Still, he's not likely to make a move just for the sake of making one. If he thinks he can help this team - with a few tweaks - to make one more run, great. If he has the chance to start to rebuild on the fly and still compete, even better. The bottom line is that he lined up these contracts to expire at the same time in order to give himself maximum flexibility. He's got lots of options. One of those options is to run it back (while kicking that flexibility out another year). We'll see what paths he takes in the next few weeks.
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