Monday, July 14, 2014

The Celtics don't have a plan right now, and that's OK

Avery Bradley drives on Tyler Zeller, his new teammate.
I meant to write this "state of the Celtics" blog back on Wednesday, but A.J. Pierzynski, LeBron, the World Cup (twice) and Paul Pierce kept bumping it.

Last week Boston made a trade in which it acquired a cheap young center, Tyler Zeller, an overpriced but reasonably talented shooting guard, Marcus Thornton, and a future first round draft pick (from Cleveland).  All the Celtics gave up was a future second round pick.  This was possible because the Cavs needed to clear salary cap space in order to re-sign LeBron.  Boston also had only three days left to use up the $10.3 million trade exemption (which lets a team take on that much additional salary, in this case the contracts of Thornton and Zeller, without shedding any in return) left over from the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett deal last summer.

Nothing the C's got in this trade is particularly valuable, but it definitely puts them in a better position than where they were before.  As with everything they've done so far this summer, that's really the only plan.  They drafted Marcus Smart at #6 because they thought he was the best player still available.  It didn't matter that most people expect Smart to be a point guard in the NBA, and Boston already has an All-Star point guard in Rajon Rondo.  The Celtics also re-signed Avery Bradley to a four-year $32 million contract because they like him and think he's a good asset to have, even though he plays the same position as their other first round draft pick, James Young.

None of these moves mean that anyone (Rondo in particular) is going to be traded.  The Celtics are not concerned about having an overabundance at certain positions, they're just trying to acquire all the best pieces (including several extra draft picks and a ton of salary cap room next summer) they can right now.  There is no design to set up any other big moves in particular.

Danny Ainge's goal is to make Boston elite again, and he's going to focus much more on getting it done right than getting it done quickly.  If the perfect deal(s) presents itself this offseason he'll pull the trigger; but if not he won't force something else just for the sake of making the Celtics better next year.

As fans we're impatient by nature, but patience is the most important virtue Ainge can have right now.

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