Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump
Having just watched the club stagger down the stretch for a second straight season, beset by injuries and harder questions about an aging core, a bright light appeared on the horizon.
With the NBA and players’ union headed for collective bargaining hell, there was certainty among basketball people that the league would be looking for major givebacks and that a lockout was sure to ensue.
It was suggested that, hey, the Celtics would have to welcome a shortened season. Hope for one even.
The official looked up quickly as he walked toward the arena door in Miami.
“I’m not saying this,” he said, “but o-o-o-o-oh, yeah.”
I agree with this unidentified team official and here's why:
The Celtics played 55 games (33-22) from December 25 thru April last year. They will play 66 games over that same time frame this year. According to my calculator, that amounts to 11 additional games over 3.5 months. Three games per month.
Sure, we may see back-to-back-to-backs, but not many. Are those extra games enough to kill this team? No.
As for that 33-22 record, injuries played a huge role in the drop-off from the 23-4 start. KG missed 11 games after X-mas. We rarely saw Jermaine O'Neal and Shaq. Delonte West didn't return until March. Will the Celtics be cursed again? Even with an old team, I gotta think they will have better luck.
On Page 2, a few free agent names we might hear.
Again, details are sketchy as to what the true free agents can expect in the open market. But the marquee free agents may find the NBA landscape looking more like the lunar Sea of Tranquility than a veritable Garden of Earthly Delights. So don't look for Samuel Dalembert to come walking through that proverbial door anytime soon, although he is someone the Celtics could really, really use.
There is certain to be a more punitive tax on the big spenders, of which the Celtics are now one because of their existing payroll. Rivers said he wanted the team to be more athletic going forward to be able to compete with Miami, Chicago and the other young teams.
You might hear names like Josh Howard, Al Thornton or Carl Landry come up when Boston's needs are measured against the wants of the new free-agent class. There may be one added twist in the new deal which could benefit a team like the Celtics: the new amnesty proposal. This would work like a contract buyout, but at the beginning of the season rather than after the trading deadline.
So you might see some attractive names on that list and the players, who will still get the big bucks from their old teams, would be able to sign with a new team for significantly less, or so one would presume.
Any names you hear linked to the Celtics are just wild speculation at this point. It's too early in the process. All we know for sure is that Danny Ainge does not have much money to spend.
The rest of the links:
WEEI – How Cs can keep their window open | Globe – New challenge for old hands | Celtics must act quickly | ESPN – Hunter sends players memo on BRI | Herald – Conflicted Perk ready to play | CSNNE – Lockout Q&A | Lockout costs for Cs players |