So far, this offseason has been one jarring change after another, and yet nothing has actually happened. The rumor mill seems to be working overtime, but we are still one week away from the NBA Draft and I'm here to remind you that things are going to change a couple dozen times between now and then.
Danny Ainge said himself that they could go in a number of different ways this summer and he's open to everything.
Let's run down some of the buzz shall we?
Kevin Love: We are exactly one month into the Summer of Love and the Celtics have moved from being dark horses, to favorites, and back to being 3rd or 4th on the list. But again, nothing has happened. This is kind of like the stock market. If you own a stock and watch it every hour, you'll stress yourself out with each peak and valley, but until you actually sell the stock, none of the gains or losses mean anything. Maybe the Wolves do prefer other offers better right now, but we'll see how things shake out.
Joel Embiid: Well, things went south for him quickly didn't they? Again, we don't know the full extent of his injury and how long he'll be out and what the long term effects could be. We'll know more by draft night but not enough to know exactly how valuable he is and where he should be picked. If he drops to the Celtics they'll have a tough decision to make. I think Danny is a gambler and might very well scoop him up as a high-upside value pick. But if the prognosis is bad enough, even he might pass (or trade the pick to someone who wouldn't). We won't know till draft night.
Carmelo Anthony: Melo is going to have a lot of suitors and I get the feeling that he's going to very much enjoy the process. If something happens with him, it won't be till the free agency period. I think it would come down to Melo convincing the Knicks that he's leaving town one way or another, so they can either agree to a sign-and-trade (where they can get some help) or lose him for nothing (which they might be prepared to do as well). Seems like a long shot but I think it is worth investigating.
Then what? As Rondo alluded to, even if we land one star (be it Love or Melo) you kind of need that 3rd guy as well. Maybe it is Love and Melo. Maybe it is someone we haven't even thought of yet. None of this will be easy though. Sure we've got a lot of picks, but I think people realize what we've worried about. The Clippers pick is going to be low next year and there's a good chance that the Nets will keep buying talent enough to keep their picks low as well. We might not have the assets to pull off a KG & Ray summer again.
Slow and steady wins the race? If we strike out on Love and Melo and Ainge can't find any fireworks worth lighting, then we kick the can down the road another few months and try our luck at the trade deadline or the summer of 2015. If Ainge keeps drafting wisely, he can continue to stockpile assets that might just appreciate in value over time. For example, I'd say Sullinger is worth more now than a 21st pick. If Aaron Gordon straightens out his shot, he could be a steal at 6. If we grab someone at 17 that develops faster than expected, he could be worth as much as a future lottery pick.
Slower and steadier win the marathon? Or maybe we forget the fireworks and go the developmental route. Danny will always have his ears open, but he might just value his guys (and his picks) more than other teams' GMs do. So putting Brad Stevens in charge of taking boys and turning them into men isn't a bad idea either. I hesitate to call it the Presti-plan or the Spurs model because every situation is unique and lots of teams have failed trying this approach as well. Still, there's something endearing about watching young players grow and flourish together.
But Rondo though: Ahh, there's the rub. If there's no fireworks, will Rondo really be happy? He seems excited by the prospect of being a contender right away, as well he should. But if it doesn't happen, does he walk into Danny's office and give him a wordless stare that makes the paint peel off the walls? Even if he doesn't, it might not make a lot of sense to keep Rondo around since he'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Every passing month would diminish his value on the trade market as teams wouldn't want to give up too many assets for a short term rental. So if Danny is going to make the much rumored move of trading Rondo, this would be the time to do it (this summer).
Etc.: And we haven't even talked about Avery Bradley, restricted free agents, or the potential seismic shifts that could occur if LeBron opts to leave Miami (or recruit some big name to South Beach). Yup, a lot could happen this summer. Buckle up, it could be a bumpy ride.