Celtics Blog 

Summer League 2012 

Part Six

 

First Off

I don’t like this deal. However, the dye has been cast. “That’s amazing they know that. I had no idea,” Doc laughs when he‘s asked about the big trade, as reported in the Herald. “I wish I could talk about it [it’s not official yet]. But I can read this [Lee’s stats 11.4 PPG on 43.4% FG and 40.1% from Three]. If we got a guy like that, it would be terrific.” I thought Johnson and Moore were going to help the post Big Three transition. Plus, I thought Williams could give some minutes at Center, this season. I know, I probably got sucked into the inevitable Summer League overrating of players. Both More and Johnson not only performed well, but also had a claming effect on the young guys, which I was hoping pointed to some leadership.

However, next season, Lee will be the best player in this deal. He will give them scoring off the bench, and a big Shooting Guard who can help defend D-Wade.  “Me and Doc, we’ve always had a relationship since I’ve been in the NBA,” Lee said July 9. “I’m a friend of both of his kids, Austin and Jeremiah. We work out together, always see each other. Me and Doc always speak. There’s interest there, but there was no verbal agreement or anything, just hearing each other out. He expressed his interest. I expressed my interest. It’s not basketball-wise that needs to be discussed, it’s the front office and my agent that need to communicate and go from there.” Plus, he will start in place of Avery so they don't have to hurry him back at all.

It like Danny said a few days ago and I put in my article yesterday. It's not easy to get younger, and still have a legit shot at a championship. “It is tough,” Danny said when asked how tough it is to walk that balance between playing for a Championship, and trying to get younger. “It’s a tough balance, because veterans just know how to play, especially in Playoff games. But, we’ve done a good job. I mean with Avery, that was huge. Avery was really steppin’ it up. Avery was such a big part of our second half of the season last year, because he takes an offensive burden off of our stars. I mean, when he was in the game playin’ with Rondo, you could see the energy and the youth, especially when Ray got hurt. That was huge for us. And we need, Rondo … [and Avery]. And now we need one of these guys [Summer League young guys], you know, Jared or Fab to step up. But yeah, we’re constantly trying to add youth, so KG and Paul, and now Jason Terry, they don’t have to carry on to much of a load.” However, that move did not really make them younger. I have to admit it gives the Celts a better chance at a Championship, but technically they traded three guys for one older guy. Both Moore and Johnson are 23 and Sean Williams is still only 25, and Courtney Lee is 26 (hey, I can nitpick too, sometimes, when I'm whining;-). 

Okay, so I liked Moore and Johnson, and I think Williams would have been one of the top athletes on the Celtics. He is one of the quickest Bigmen I've ever seen. But he still hasn't out it together mentally. His question was always can his play match his incredible quickness. However, Lee will come in and start right away as Avery recovers, and he is good insurance incase those shoulder aren't really right. Hips, back, and shoulders are to three worst injuries to get, when it comes to healing. “No, he will not, and probably will not be ready for the start of the season,” Doc said when asked about the need for depth at SG that precipitated the trade for Lee. Because of Avery’s dual shoulder surgery, and would he be ready. “But we know that, and we need someone to work until he gets back.  We lost Ray. And so, we needed a couple of things. Whether we got Ray back or not, we needed Jason Terry. We needed a guy that can make shots off the dribble. That can create his own shots, and another guy who can make big shots and stretch the floor. But then once we lost Ray, we needed to go out and get another Guard. And hopefully we have, going by these reports [laughs].” So that alone makes them better. Plus, Jason Terry is like Avery Bradley. Neither is a Point Guard. They both are shooting guards. Terry can give you some minutes at the Point. Plus. He is going to struggle covering big Shooting Guards on defense. Unlike Avery and Lee, who can cover bigger SGs (read Wade;-).  

The Celtics still have the 1.85 exemption, which could be used on Keyon Dooling or Pietrus. Or, this deal could work out very well for Moore . Who could, theatrically get that exception or a nicer chunk of it than he had before, just over 762 thousand. Remember as a 2nd Round pick, teams often have trouble resigning them if they work out well. This could turn into a longer actually guaranteed contract for him.

So the Celtics got younger. The Trading of Johnson does seem to be another indication that Doc plans to play Sully more than any rookie he has ever played. Remember Rondo got about ten starts as a rookie toward the end of the season, before he got injured. If Sully can come in and just rebound and thump on defense in the Paint, he could get some starts over Bass. “He rebounds, number one,” Doc said when asked about Sullinger. “He can flat out rebound. We were 29th or 30th, I try not to look at that number. But we were an awful rebounding team. He does that. … [he’s] a magnet. I think he’ll be able to score on anyone in the Post his size. I think playing against, with Kevin, most of the time he’ll have the smaller Big on him, which will allow him to score. The two areas that I didn’t know he was really good, I didn’t know he could pass, the way he passes, and I didn’t know he could shoot the ball, the way he shoots the ball. So, those are two pluses.” When you are the starting Power Forward, even when you are battling in the Eastern Conference Finals, and you are the worst rebounding team in the Association, your spot is not secure. 

They will be younger again, if the Fabulous one can get on the floor. However, I am currently jaded on that subject. He had his worst performance by far, so far in the Summer league last night against Sacramento. It was the first time watching this years Summer League were I thought he didn't have the work ethic to make it. “He needs to… to create a word, be Celtic Eyes,” Doc said about Melo. “He needs to learn how to work, and that this is a profession. And he wants [to]. He is a great kid. I think, with camp coming, I think that will be great for him. This thing [training camp], is something he’s never been in, and he will be. And that will be good for us.” So if you cut him some slack for just having an off night, I do believe he will develop into something special. But not this year. He is a break the glass type of player this year (you know, only in case of emergency;-). Next season and the season after that, his minutes will certainly increase as KG decreases. 

In the Playoffs. Plus, like Max said, they had to getting some scoring off the Bench. In Game Seven against the Heat they got one point off the bench. That is simply not acceptable. Lee, Terry, Green, and even Wilcox will add points off the bench come Playoff time. 

Both Moore and Williams have non-guaranteed contracts and will quickly be cut. So they both could be back with the Celtics soon. Moore could easily be resigned by the Celtics, which would make this deal a steal. Because the Celtics don’t really have a back-up PG for next season. They had to over-rely on Rondo in the Playoffs, and right now it is even worse this year. “That is where I was the happiest,” Doc said about Rondo’s improvement last year. “The Threes whatever. If they go in I could care less about. What I was happy with is that he wanted to get fouled and go to the free throw line, and that opened up another part of his game. The year before he didn’t want to get fouled. So down the stretch of games he was shying away from contact. This year he was attacking the basket. Getting to the foul line. Going to the foul line is so important in the Playoffs, because it allows you to set your defense. And Rondo’s ability to get to the Line allowed us to be a great defensive team. And he’s maturing, that’s the best part of it.” Plus, in an Eastern Conference Finals, with the Celtics up 3 to 2, he was the best player on the floor more than any other player in the series, with five guaranteed Hall of Famers on the floor: KG, LaBron, Pierce, Wade, and Ray. Rondo is now, as Howard has been reported as calling it "THE MAN". It would also make them younger. 

With a full NBA season looming, they have to get Rondo’s minutes under 40 a game. Preferably under 35, so he is well rested for the Playoff. I thought Moore was there best option for those minutes. Right now they are overloaded with shooting guards, when Avery comes back. The other interesting aspect of this trade is that it opens up roster spots for a Summer League player, or two.

Maybe they don't resign Moore or Williams back to the team when they are dropped. Maybe they saw cheaper potential in some of the other SL players. Like 2nd Round pick Kris Joseph, who has been impressive from the first game on. “I didn’t know enough about Kris, honesty,” Doc said about Joseph. “And Danny really sold me on him, and said, ‘you’ll really like this kid.’ And he’s right. He’s just sneaky. I mean, I think you’ll watch him play, and didn’t know he did anything. But then you look at the stats at the end of the game. He’s had five rebounds. You know, fourteen or sixteen points. He can shoot. He can put the ball on the floor. Him and Christmas is the other guy. Christmas and Smith are two guys who we didn’t draft that we love, by just watching them play. They know how to play.” I think this trade makes Joseph a lock to make the team. He might have to shuffle back and forth from Portland to Boston, but he could see some serious minutes at SF in three years. 

There are certainly some other surprise players who could be signed. Joseph is under contract, but Christmas and Jamar Smith are not. Both players are guys the Celtic's Brass has talked highly of, and they are trying to sign to being to Camp.  “I can hear it. I can tell you. I certain do [laughs],” Doc said when asked about Christmas knocking on the door of the NBA, and is he knocking hard enough for Doc to hear. “I mean, I think he’s earned an absolutely shot to be in our camp. Unless something happens [he’s not signed yet] we hope to have him there. And he’s a good kid. He’s got competing toughness. You can see that, and that always translate well into our League.” Both have shown potential at SG, and Smith has played some Point. They also have Gibson, who is a longer shot to mahe the team. However, he has been the main backup PG to Moore. “That’s what he does,” Doc said when asked about how Gibson likes to get ‘em up. “The first two games in Summer League in Orlando , he struggled because he was trying to be a Point Guard. I told him, ‘Look, we want you here because you can shoot, just shoot the ball. Ty Lue will tell you when your taking too many shots.’ You know [laughs]? But be aggressive. I think, half these guys when you watch ‘em, spend too much time trying to show what they think the coach wants to see. Instead of, doing what they do. And I think that’s more important.” If they can't sign Moore, Christmas, or Smith, Gibson could be on the Roster. They will certainly try and sign him to a D-League contract and stash him Portland. 

Of course, the most interesting signings when it come to the signings for this season are the veterans. Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox would have made huge contribution in last years playoffs. “It’s huge, it’s huge,” Doc said about getting two players back from heart surgery, both Green and Wilcox seem to be over heart surgery and are ready to comeback. “I just look at all the series, and not just the Miami series. But, Jeff Green can play 3 and 4. And gives us another defender on the LaBron’s of the world. And it also allows us to put Kevin at the 5, and Jeff at the 4, and Paul at the 3. It gives us versatility. And, That’s huge for us.” I'm a big fan of Wilcox and his ability to thump in the Paint. And while I think Green was a little over paid (not that I really care;-), he is just the type of defender who can slow down LaBron a little. He has the length and athleticism to at least stay with LaBron, and their aren't a lot of players who can say that. I know I've been critical of the signing, but when you add in just the potential of his defense on LaBron (because honesty he is really now officially undefendable;-). As much as I disapprove, with all do whininess, of the two deals, Courtney Lee and Green do give the Celtics a better chance of beating the Heat. It allows the Celtics to double-down defensively on LaBron with Pierce and Green, and double-down defensively on Wade with Avery and Lee. At least we can now see Danny's plan starting to form in our brains. 

Of course, (he-he-heh;-) The interesting aspect of this deal is that it gives the Celtics a logjam at Shooting Guard and Small Forward. Which mean, I can continue my my little Howard to the Celtics conspiracy theories (for as long as I can;-).until Howard is trade. I know it seems to piss some people off, but who cares? the longer this goes the more a third unnamed team has a chance to step in and play Superman "I've gotten to the point where I'm completely disgusted by Dwight Howard," Stephen A. Smith said. "I'm not interested in what Dan Fegan says, I'm not interested in hearing what Jarrod Rudolph of the Real GM has to say because I personally would not be surprised if Dwight Howard spoke to Jarrod Rudolph told him one thing, spoke to Dan Fegan told him something else, spoke to Chris Broussard told him something else. I'm tired of hearing about this Dwight story. It's extended beyond the ridiculous. I've never seen somebody so interested in seeing his good name defended, but leaving it to so many people other than himself." Fine with me. So let's continue  If Danny is talking to Orlando about a trade for Howard with two interesting young players and three Draft picks in next years Draft alone as the centerpiece. 

Does that open up a trade opportunity with Bradley and Green? My eyes may have four leaf clovers in them, but where is the better deal then the Celtics can offer? Both Bradley and Green could start for Orlando next season. Both where 1st Round picks, and Green a Top Five Pick, which helps with PR. Plus, Danny didn’t trade the three Draft picks set aside for Orlando in the obvious deal for Howard. Plus, they have some other younger talent under contract to help absorb a bad contract or two in Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee, and don't forget Young Sully and Melo. I would take a shot at Howard for one year. Then you can sell the Championship, and the Max Contract. 

If Orlando could settle for sending one bad contract over to the Celtics. The Celtics can Amnesty Richardson (6.6 Mil) or Turkoglu (but Hedo adds an 11.8 million dollar contract to the trade, which is very tough to match in Salary) and Amnesty the other, and then keep Davis (6.6 Mil) who is still young and played well for them last season when Howard went down. The Celtics have the better deal straight up for Howard. The Celtics could give up some Contract players, like Green (11 Mil?), Bass (6 Mil?), Krstic (If he would sign a 1 year deal 8 Mil deal with Celtics on his Bird rights;-), and Lee (4.25 Mil), That is over 21 Mil to 29.25 Mil if they can contact Krstic. Plus, despite the bum shoulder, the new and exciting Avery Bradley is worth 1,630, 800.oo Bucks, which is over 30 Mil with a Krstic miracle, and over 23 Mil without. 

The problem is that Howard has a 19.5 Million Dollar cap figure. Matching that figure, and taking on additional salary, even just to Amnesty it, is impossible for the Lakers. Rockets, and Cleveland. But... if my math is miraculously correct? Salaries have to be within 125% + 1oo,ooo.oo Bucks of each other. 24 Mil times 125% equals 30.5 Mil. Howard and Turkoglu equals 30.5 Mil, so that is close. 20.5 Mil times 1.25 equals 25.626 Mil. Howard and Jason Richardson equals 26.1 Mil. So a straight up deal just might be possible with the Celtics

So what if the Celtics help the Lakers out and take a shot at Bynum? LOL. It could happen. Screw the Cleveland Cavaliers. “The Cavaliers would land Lakers center Andrew Bynum for a package of draft picks and veteran power forward Andrew Varejao, according to one league source,” as reported by Ric Bucher. “The Lakers would receive Howard for Bynum. Orlando would get Varejao and draft picks. The source said this was merely the framework of a deal being discussed.” The Celtics have a much better package than that. 

Obviously the top prize in Howard, but I would take a shot at Bynum. A lot of pundits who cover the Lakers say he is a cash and carry guy. So whomever trades for him will be able to give the most Cash in a Max Deal, as soon as he can deal with it. With Howard in LA, Bynum would then be the best Center in the East. The Celtics could take one bad contract to Amnesty, and the Lakers another bad contract to Amnesty, and Orlando could Amnesty the third. The Lakers could give up some contracts. Either way, it would be a blood bath on the Eastern Conference Finals for the Celtics next year with the Heat. 

Vegas Celtics Summer League Team Vs Sacramento, First Quarter.

I was getting excited to watch this game, and then was rudely interrupt by a trade of three Summer League players for a Veteran Two Guard (oh, when you say it like that it sounds like a steal;-). Then the news of the trade starting sending me into a tizzy, and then Doc join the crew for the 2nd Quarter. So I, huh, I lost interest in the game (I mean, didn't you;-). 

The game starts off a little ragged, as the Celtics lost their clear floor general in a trade before the game. E’Twaun Moore was the leader of this squad. They shoved Jamar Smith in to his role. He has been fine coming off the bench, but Moore was the clear leader on the floor.

Melo got his first start as well, and he clearly didn’t look comfortable.  They all looked like rookies who just found out it was a business. Welcome to the NBA guys. The trade of Williams, Johnson, and Moore, just opened up an opportunity for you. And this game is the time to show your ready. This trade just opened up a roster spot for Joseph and Christmas, and maybe another. So let’s see if you can take advantage, before Gibson or Jamar Smith shot into that opening.

Sullinger looked disheveled as well as all the other young players, especially on offense. But he grabbed two quick rebounds to help to start to settle things down at around the 7 and a half minute mark. The young rattled Celtics continued to miss everything. Including three free throws and a wide open alley-oop to Melo, which was really embarrassing.

Joseph, after missing two free throws, finally made a smart play. He grabbed the D-Rebound and took off down court. He spotted Sullinger running down just ahead of him, and cut to his left behind him. He one-dribbled and follow Sullinger down the lane for a little floater, to finally get the shaken young kids on the board.

Then Christmas gets a present from Fredette and takes it back for a free layup. They give up a basket in the Paint, but Sully draws a foul. Melo gets a nice block on Thomas Robinson in the Post. Which is good, because has looked stunning terrible in the game so far, and seemed to have some trouble getting back on defense, which is almost unforgivable.

Smith turns the ball over. Melo come back and plays the Pick an' Roll as well as he has all Summer League. Sullinger then causes a turnover in the Post. The kids start shooting quick Threes to get in trouble again. Until Christmas flies down the lane for a herky-jerky layup. Then he nails a nasty Three, to get the Kids close. Melo gets beat on the left block by a nice up-fake. Joseph turns the ball over on a drive.

Brackins scraps on the Boards to gives the Celts the ball back, and Sully draws two on the other end. They play good D at he other end, but the SF hit a nasty drifting Jumper. Brackins snags the rebound and takes it down court. He slips it to Sully in the Post, and he hits a little lefty hook, for a very impress two points. Then the Kids get ragged again, and Fredette starts a bombing raid to end the 1st quarter.

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