I had to take a couple of weeks off from basketball for the most part. That game 7 loss was pretty painful and all the what ifs make it hurt even more. What if Ron Artest hadn't kneed Ray in the thigh, altering his jump and thus his jump shot? What if the refs had called the game consistently, calling the 4th quarter the same as they did the first 3? What if Bynum didn't come down on Perk's back and cause Perk to come down awkwardly and tear up his knee? All of those things altered the outcome of that game and thus the series. I've been thinking that maybe the refs just didn't want Sheed to get another ring. It's no secret that he was one of the least favorite players among the refs. They may have just decided that they would do whatever it took to keep Sheed from getting a ring. Maybe that's why Sheed was seeking out the refs after the game - he wanted to let them know that he was aware of what happened and that he was retiring before they could do it again next season. Even though they won't admit it, that title has to be tainted for the Lakers. Nuff said about that.
Danny was very set on getting Avery Bradley in the draft. According to Doc, Danny had just 2 players on his list and Bradley was the top one. He didn't think that Bradley would be available and if neither of the guys was available, he was going to trade the pick. So Danny was pretty high on Bradley. After reading about the kid, I can see why. Coming out of high school, he was rated higher than John Wall. Wall went to a college with a good coach and where he was given a chance to shine. On the other hand, Bradley went to a program where his talents weren't used well and he struggled. Very similar to Rondo in college. Danny may have gotten a steal like he did with Rondo, but only time will tell.
I have seen comparisons between Luke Harangody and Tommy Heinsohn and Dave Cowans and, of course, Larry Bird. Apparently, Harangody has a hook shot that is reminiscent of Tommy's. And he has a motor and work ethic similar to Cowens. It was interesting to find out that Danny never worked out Harangody but took him on his body of work in college. I like this kid. From what I am reading about both of this year's picks, they both have very strong work ethics and will be the first ones in and the last ones out of practice.
Summer League is shaping up for the Celtics. Here is a list of who we can expect to see there so far:
PG) O Lafayette
PG) JC Carrol
SG) R Thompson
SG/SF) R Green
SF) T Gaffney
SF) R Whittman
SF) D Sims
PF) L Harangody
C) S Erden
C) A Parakhouski
I'm planning to do a post on these guys giving some of their stats and some video of them over the next couple of days so I'll just list them here.
This next week is going to be a big week for the Celtics. A lot of what is decided within the next few days will determine how the Celtics will approach this season. Danny has said that he wants to keep the core of the team together and make another run at the title. But, several pieces must fall into place for that to happen.
First and most importantly, Doc has to decide to come back for one more year. But doing so will mean that he will miss his two older children in their final seasons in college and he will miss his younger son's senior year in high school. Losing like he did will be a draw to come back and go out on a high note but he can't get these years back with his kids so it's a tough decision. Doc said he hopes to decide by July 1.
Second on the list of pieces that have to fall into place is Paul Pierce. He can opt out of the final year of his contract and leave the 21 million on the table. If he does opt out, he can test the free agent market and more than likely get a max deal from another team. But Pierce has said all along that he wants to retire as a Celtic and that's a legacy that will be special because very few players spend their whole career with one team these days. If he opts out, he can get a new deal with the Celtics that could give them some room to sign another good player. Not a max free agent but maybe a good one. It will also give Pierce a long term deal that would give him some security. Or, he could ask for a long term max deal and possibly deny the team and himself a chance at another title.
Third on the list is Ray Allen. He is a free agent and there are several teams who have him on their radar. Ray has said in the past he would take less to stay with the Celtics because he loves the area and the team and the organization. Also, he would be close to the Joslin Diabetes center that has been very instrumental in helping to treat his son's diabetes. We will find out how much he meant that when he sees what the Celtics are offering. If what Chris Mannix of SI said was true and his asking price is starting at 5 years $75 million, he should just pack his bags now because Danny won't go anywhere near that. I can see Danny going with a 2 year contract to match KG's but I don't see a long term or high dollar offer being made, especially if Doc doesn't come back.
Rumors are that the Celtics top free agent target is going to be Brad Miller. I wonder if he will get a visit from the Big 3 (or maybe the Big 2) on July 1. He may feel slighted if he doesn't after so much was made of that visit to Sheed last season. Or maybe they could just tell him that if he signs with the Celtics Rondo will leave him alone. Other rumors are that the Celtics would like to get Mike Miller as well. Maybe we should make it a trifecta and go after Reggie Miller again. Or maybe coax Oliver Miller out of retirement.
I'm getting excited for Summer League and free agency and seeing how all this plays out. Should be an exciting and fun week. One thing I know, with all the big free agents on the market some teams are going to be much stronger with a couple of stars on them instead of just one and the Celtics have to do what it takes to improve along with them. Standing pat just won't do.