I feel full. I spent a good deal of time reading fantastic articles on Rajon Rondo by all the usual suspects. It is the same kind of feeling I get eating at my favorite all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant. Over-full to the point of discomfort but the process was worth it.
I'm a sentimental kind of guy (or haven't you guessed?) but I don't tend to wallow for long. I get up, brush off my pant legs, and set my eyes on the horizon ahead.
We've still got a basketball team and we've still got a rebuilding job ahead of us. Nobody said it would be easy or quick and there's still a great chance for this to be a huge success. Likewise there's a chance it could be a disaster, but hey, I'm an optimist so I'll put that thought in a corner and selectively ignore it for the moment.
The deck has been cleared for Marcus Smart. He's the point guard of the future and the pressure is on him to live up to that billing. Thankfully, he's got the personality to handle and even thrive in that role. The rest of the year also serves as evaluation and development for Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller and Brandan Wright. Brad Stevens will have a harder time producing wins but the pressure to win (aside from his own inner drive) is all but released.
There are more shoes to drop it seems. I do think Jeff Green and Brandon Bass are the next to go, though it might not happen until the trade deadline. Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner could generate some interest as well. If anyone wants Jameer Nelson or Gerald Wallace they can have them for a song. For the right price, newly acquired Brandan Wright could be re-packaged at the deadline (though I'd imagine they'll try to hang onto him if possible).
When that's completed Ainge will turn his full attention to scouting the college ranks for the draft. Baring unforeseen circumstances we've got 2 first rounders in this year's draft. We'll also have 2 second rounders (including the Sixers pick which should be the first in the 2nd round). The following year we've got 4 (!) first rounders and a bushel of 2nds. See here for complicated details.
We'll also have a ginormous amount of cap room this summer. Someone will do the math for us later, but barring more trades we'll have a ton of contracts expiring (or very likely opting out).
All of which we are going to cover in excruciating detail here on CelticsBlog. Look for articles on each of these subjects in the coming days, weeks, months, and (shudder) years. Cause this is what we do.
I hate to see Rajon Rondo go. This isn't a cold hearted attempt to "move on." It is, however, an effort to get back to work.
This is our team. We've been through worse rebuilding situations and we'll see this thing through. And when we are standing back on the top of the hill, we'll look back at these low times and appreciate the climb all the more. Because we are Celtics fans and that's what we do.