Here's the set up: There's been talk about an potential amnesty clause in the upcoming CBA that would allow teams to cut a guy. The result would be some kind of salary cap relief.
Sounds interesting. I'm sure a lot of teams would love to cut a bloated contract to set themselves up for a brighter future. A lot of people have been buzzing about that, but we've largely left it alone. However, over on Grantland, Bill Simmons and Jonathan Abrams started discussing how each team could use its amnesty clause (or "Curry Cure" as Simmons calls it, referring to Eddy Curry's insane deal).
Let's get right to the Celtics.
Abrams: No one. If the Celtics were convinced that last season's ending meant restructuring the core, then the $21.2 million that Kevin Garnett is on the books for in 2011-12 would be considered. But they're not there yet. Though this may be a provision Danny Ainge wants back in the future if he signs Jeff Green to a long-term contract.
Simmons: If the Celtics don't use their Curry Cure on Jermaine O'Neal ($6.2 million in 2012), I am flying to Boston, taking a cab right from the airport to the Celtics offices, then setting those offices on fire.
He goes on:
Simmons: My best case-scenario: The Celtics use their amnesty on O'Neal, then sign Memo Okur after Utah uses its amnesty on him. So if you're scoring at home, I'm excited about a quintuple hypothetical: the lockout hypothetically ending, the amnesty clause hypothetically being part of the agreement, Okur and O'Neal hypothetically being dumped, then the Celtics hypothetically grabbing Memo.
I'm just at a loss.
I know full well what Jermaine O'Neal is. I know full well that we shouldn't expect much from him. But I also know full well that he's in the last year of his mid-level deal and that he's going to be gone after this season. I also know full well that Jermaine O'Neal, even now, is a better defensive player that Mehmet O-freakin'-kur is and, in case you haven't noticed, the Celtics are a defensive team.
We saw what having Nenad Krstic in the defense did last season, and he's younger and quicker than Okur is. If one guy can't make the proper rotations in the Celtics defense, then the whole thing goes to shit.
I hate to harp on this, but I feel like I have to say this again: This is who the Celtics have under contract and are guaranteed, barring trade or injury, to have play for the team this season: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Jermaine O'Neal. That's it. Jeff Green could still sign an offer sheet somewhere else. Beyond that, there are two rookies that will likely be signed but who knows if E'Twaun Moore will come back from Europe or if JaJuan Johnson will give up and sign overseas too. Even if they sign, they're still rookies with a lot to learn.
So taking all that into consideration, you don't just go cutting the only center we have. And you certainly don't do it with the hopes of signing a soon-to-be 33 year-old who is primarily an offensive player, who is not very athletic to begin with, and who is, oh by the way, is coming back from a ruptured achilles tendon.
If you want to sign Okur in ADDITION to O'Neal and hope he can boost the second unit, which needs scoring, then fine. An addition like that will at least make some sense if he can be had at the right price. But you can't just ditch Jermaine O'Neal because the C's are not in a position to do so. Sorry, tht's just how it is. No matter how much you dislike the guy or think he might get hurt, you don't just dump him and leave yourself with nothing. It makes no sense. This is the situation the Celtics are in, and that's just not going to change.