Luckily I waited a few days to write about Celtics shooting guards. The past couple of days involved the best shooting guard the green have had in my lifetime. Danny Ainge has been blessed to have have a guard that continues to produce efficient numbers while logging starter minutes at such an old age (sorry Ray).
For starters, we are thrilled that Ray Allen picked up his option to return next season (if there is a next season) and he looks cool chilling on a golf cart. Currently, Ray Allen is the only player on the Celtics who plays a conventional two spot. No other guards, outside of Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo, are currently under contract, leaving Ainge & Co. with plenty of options and flexibility. Well not too much flexibility with a payroll of $64,867,622 (that's without Jeff Green, who hasn't re-signed, or Shaq, who retired… or did he?)
I don’t believe that Boston is satisfied going into next season with Rondo, Bradley and Allen as their only three options at guards. I mentioned in my point guards post that I would like the Celtics to bring back Delonte but not Von Wafer, although I have been quoted as calling Von Wafer “Instant Offense.” There are talks about Jeff Green starting, moving Paul Pierce to the two-guard (or the bench) and moving Ray Allen to the bench. Even if all of those moves take place, I still see the Celtics looking for more depth. The first place to look for immediate bench help will be the free agents, preferably veterans.
Every year there will be buyouts and ex-stars looking to capture their first ring. That is, if they can swallow their pride. That is why the first name I am throwing out for the Celtics to look into is Vince Carter. Carter has been around the league long enough and I believe many of the issues of past are gone. Of course he is older and doesn’t have the same skill set he once had. However, he wouldn’t hurt as a bench player for a playoff team.
A couple of other options to look at, which will help the scoring woes from last season: Jason Richardson, Jamal Crawford, JR Smith, and Michael Redd. These players carry the ability to score in flashes (Crawford and Smith more so), however if they are unwilling to play for anything less than an MLE (which may not even exist in the new labor deal), then the Celtics are SOOL (Shit Out Of Luck) here. I wouldn’t mind Jamal Crawford but I believe he will be too costly. Michael Redd seems like the best option and, because of his history of injuries, he would come at a cheaper price than the others. JR Smith will be looking for a big pay day and I have not heard much chatter about Jason Richardson’s contract or where he'd like to play.
The next place the Celtics can get help at the shooting guard position will be through the draft. Danny Ainge and his scouting staff have done a great job in recent years in the draft grabbing the likes of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins (sorry), and Tony Allen (now don’t we wish he was still here?). Like most Celtic fans, I trust Danny Ainge’s ability to add prospects to this roster and I think we all agree that the team needs to get younger.
The kind of prospects that experts are picking to be available to the Celtics at the 25th pick (Did I mention I will be at the draft?) are guys like Iman Shumpert (6-5, 222 lbs, Georgia Tech), Jordan Hamilton (6-8, 228 lbs, Texas), Marshon Brooks (6-5, 195 lbs, Providence), Reggie Jackson (6-3, 200 lbs, BC) andTyler Honeycutt (6-8, 187 lbs, UCLA). A few of these players will most likely be picked before the 25th spot, however, they could slip, which is why I am keeping them as options. Also, we know how much Danny Ainge loves to move around in the draft. He may move out of the 25th pick to go up or down in this years draft. I personally like Marshon Brooks a lot, but the way he has been working out and being compared to Kobe (yes, really), I think he will be long gone by the time the Celtics are on the clock.
Ainge has a lot of flexibility in determining this roster. I would hope he would move in a younger direction, but I understand if he adds more veterans to help the team win next year. It wouldn’t be fair to the big three if the Celtics make moves that will hurt their chances next season. I hope they pick up a polished college player late in the first, a player who has proven consistent improvement at the collegiate level. I would also like them to add one veteran as well, a person like Michael Redd who would be receptive to a bench role on a winning team, who can also spread the floor which is Boston’s best offensive asset with Ray Allen.
Of course all this talk goes out the window if the Celtics decide to move Ray Allen, who in my opinion, contains the most value in the market (besides Rondo but I don’t want to move him). I would feel bad because that would leave two houses Ray Allen would have to try to sell. If this move does happen, we will be looking at Paul Pierce and Jeff Green to get some playing time at the shooting guard, although I can easily see then running a smaller line up to get up and down the court. It will be very interesting to see what the Celtics come up with on Thursday night.
All Salary information came from ShamSports.
Editor's note: The Vince Carter reference is solely the author's opinion. John still wants to throttle Carter on sight and would likely have a stroke if the Celtics signed him.