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Jeff Van Gundy: C’s should give it one more run

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) June 3, 2012 Kevin Garnett 8 Comments

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I like Jeff Van Gundy.  I think he's one of the best analysts out there… which isn't saying much in a landscape where Reggie Milller is one of the main guys. Still, I like him.

And he makes a good point about the Celtics next season.

“Some people never consider that change can be bad for a team,’’ he said. “Radical change at that. If you don’t have anybody in free agency that you can target, bringing back Garnett for one year at big money makes complete sense. And then go at it again next year to see where you’re at.’’

I know… we've got bigger things to worry about… like a Game 4 tonight that could be the beginning of the end of the Celtics season, or the game that starts this series all over again from scratch.  But since Jeff brought it up….

The Celtics are built to blow up after this year, with only four players guaranteed to be under contract (Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Avery Bradley and JaJuan Johnson).  The Celtics can make a qualifying offer to Greg Stiemsma and make him a restricted free agent, and Brand Bass has a $4 million player option.  And that's it.

The free agent pool next year is thin.  Dwight Howard is not coming to Boston, because the Celtics have no one to trade for him (remember, he picked up his option, so he's not a free agent anymore).  Deron Williams is not going to sign with Boston, so that leave the field even thinner.  The names in 2013 are better, so why not give it one more run with a modified version of this team?

Will KG come back?  That's something that's been discussed over the past couple of days.  Doc thinks KG is coming back, but there's been talk about him leaving on a high note.   I'd obviously love to see him back, playing about 30 minutes a game.  You bring Bass back to be your starting power forward and you run with the same starting 5 that started the playoffs in Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Bass and KG. 

I think you bring E'Twaun Moore back and slowly work him into the mix, possibly even preparing him to play the Ray Allen role of shooter off the bench if Ray doesn't return.  You bring Jeff Green back to come off the bench as a 3 or a 4 (primarily a 3 to back up Pierce).  You bring Stiemsma back as a solid backup center and then you hope JaJuan Johnson materializes as a potential back-up 4. 

Yes, the plan involves a lot of faith in a pair of guys who barely played this year.  And you still don't know what the #21 and #22 picks in this year's draft will turn into.  I'd still like to see Ray Allen return in a bench role for the Celtics.  And you still need to find a capable back up point (I'm not sure Moore is the guy for that).  But still, a bench of Ray, Green, Stiemsma, Johnson and Moore has the potential to be pretty good (emphasis on potential). 

I'll stop here since this is more of a discussion that should be had in July, when free agency is actually happening rather than June, when the team is still playing.  But I think bringing some of these guys back as part of the transition to the Rondo-led Celtics of the future is worthwhile.  If there's no real way to improve your team this offseason, bring most of the gang back and try to make another run as a 6, 7, or 8 seed (or higher… you never know how things shake out).  Either way, you're still working young guys in, but this way you're giving them the veteran leadership to continue to carry them along, and you probably set yourself up for another shot in the playoffs.

To me, it just makes sense.

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  • Kricky

    Good points. What’s the point of blowing it all up to go after FAs if there isn’t anyone out there that will make the team any better than it would be by resigning the same guys for one year contracts?
    I took a quick look at the list of 2012/2013 unrestricted FAs, and only saw one that we could rebuild around (D-Howard) But what are the real chance of getting him?

  • classless

    I agree the FA pool is terrible next year, but i don’t think i can take another year of “this team is old and tired.” Let’s be honest: the Celtics are incredibly lucky Chicago lost Rose and Noah because that team would have knocked Boston out in Rd 2. Atlanta and Philly were probably the easiest 2 rounds anyone in these playoffs drew.

  • Tony Allen’s Lawyer

    Agree 100%. Build around rondo, bass, green, and bradley. Bring back KG for one year at big money, and keep your options open for the following year’s loaded FA class. Maybe even look at a player like fab melo with one of your first picks to have a true backup center and look for athletic transition players that compliment rondo. And please don’t trade pierce.

  • Wels

    Can’t agree with that assessment. What about the matchups? I can’t see how the Spurs could ever have had a harder time matching up with the defensively limited Jazz and Clippers than the Celtics did with the tougher Hawks and Sixers. Maybe the Jazz and Clippers are “better” than the Hawks and Sixers, but that’s not all that matters in the playoffs.

  • CoachBo

    I can’t stand a thing about Fab Melo’s game, not to mention his total lack of character. If Danny wastes a first on him, that’s yet another indictment of his drafting.
    With that said, JVG is exactly right. There’s nothing in free agency for us, so make KG a good offer, leave Pierce alone – the ideas of trading him to move up are insane – and let’s take another shot at it nexgt year.

  • Jason

    Love Pierce of course, but he should restructure. Instead of 21 and 21 the next two years, or whatever it is, he should re do it, like 15, 15, 10, 10. A little extra guaranteed money, little freedom for the franchise, a better chance he retires a Celtic (no guarantees with Ainge). Then KG for two more years (he’s not looking old at all), 15 then 10 seems fair. Ray at 8 and 8 maybe. He was playing just fine before the bone spurs. Plenty of game (if one dimensional) left. Not exactly sure what all that does to their cap situation, etc. I’m just throwing out ballpark numbers that I think would be fair to player and team should they all want to keep the gang together.
    Anyway, honestly I trust Ainge. The “aging and/or injury prone desperate vet” ploy has backfired plenty, but mostly they’ve been acceptable (and sometimes no other option) gambles. Most otherwise he’s above average in talent evaluation and isn’t prone to panic moves or buckling under mainstream or fan pressure. He didn’t make a move this year because one that helped the team didn’t materialize and he wasn’t going to make one just because. Point is, I’m sure if he feels the best thing is blowing it up, he will and if Year 6 of the 3 year plan is best, then he will do that instead.
    Personally, I think KG has plenty left and his overall contributions are still invaluable. I also think Pierce is still an All-Star, but unfortunately not worth 21 a year anymore. Ray will recover and still be an assassin, plenty of value off the bench (which the C’s haven’t had since Posey/House). Him and Green off the bench? Tasty. I’d love them all back at manageable numbers. Thing is, I don’t see a ring without one more impact guy. (Well, a healthy Bradley just might be enough actually). Green is the only one with a chance to be that, but even so, not a great chance. So can Ainge strike gold in the draft? Can he package a few assets and get that impact player? Free agency doesn’t have the answer so it seems to me the best course is stick with the core (again these guys all need to accept reasonable contracts) and work the draft and trade avenues. Ainge was creative before and got Ray and KG (hat tip McHale) when no one saw that coming. Completely reasonable for him to be able to work something again and have this team back in the Finals again.

  • Coach AJ

    Pierce is at 16.7 and 15.3 for the next two years. And Rondo is at 11, 12, and 13 for the next three years. I’m sure KG will return but he can be the last person to sign. Danny should make a serious chase after Eric Gordon or revisit OJ Mayo. Both good scorers to fit next to Rondo. I love the idea of Bradley off the bench as the 1st guard, but playing the same number of minutes as the other two. Then think about sending a draft pick, cash or some package for Brook Lopez or Chris Kaman. Actually Kaman can be had for the right price. A new lineup of Rondo-Mayo/Gordon-Pierce-Garnett-Lopez/Kaman. A new bench of Bradley-Pietrus-Green-Bass-Steimsma. Yeah that leaves out both of this years rookies(Johnson/Moore), and next years rookies(#21/#22).

  • http://www.redsarmy.com/home/2012/01/ray-allen-to-play-jermaine-to-sit.html#comments Rondo’s #1 Fan

    i would like to have Michael Pietrus back