Special to RealGM from Christopher Lehane, a Democratic political strategist and lifelong Boston Celtics fan
Yesterday, I wrote a piece to opine on what I was hoping for from the C's out of the draft. Today is my time to whine.
Moving the fifth pick, Wally and Delonte ONLY makes sense if it is indeed part of a well thought-out larger plan ?- and I don't mean a hope and a prayer but a real, concrete plan with specific back-ups and alternatives in place.
If the Allen trade allows the team to move Big Al, Theo and some additional consideration to make it work financially for KG (who may have nixed Boston initially solely because of Wally, though I am guessing his antipathy to Boston was more than just the fact he holds Wally in minimal high regard) - then it makes sense. I can certainly understand a team that includes a KG-Pierce-Allen trifecta (though based on what we know right now, this lineup seems to fall into the hope and a prayer category). Alternatively, if this trade allows the Celtics to keep Big Al but and do a sign-and-trade involving Green, Theo, etc., for AK47 (or a combination that works financially) then I can see a team that will at least be watch-able in the East.
However, if this move is what it feels, smells and tastes like - a panic move - then it is a debacle royal. Ray Allen is a class act; I liked him in Spike's hoops film; he has been a great shooter -? but he does not make the Celtics any better and I believe represents a step backward. The Celts trading for Allen is akin to the Knicks re-signing Allan Houston - he does not address the team's needs and, at best, is a lateral move and more likely a step backward.
Watching the Celts last year on the NBA League Pass, it was clear that the team just does not have a great chemistry (with the possible exception of when Pierce was out and the youth corps had to play, of course, that chemistry led to a lot of losses despite the evident hustle). I just do not see how bringing on a 32-year-old shooting guard whose game is somewhat duplicative of Pierce's game; who is a defensive liability; and who is coming off of double ankle surgery is going to make Boston a better team.
For Allen to be effective, he needs shots. For Pierce to be effective, he needs shots. For Big Al to be effective, he needs shots. And, off course, the need for a lot of shots to around is compounded by the fact that the point guard by definition now is Rondo - who can't shoot - which means that defenses can play five on four when Boston is in half-court offense. It was painful watching the Celtics last year - watching this line-up will be like sticking a fork in one's eye 82 times.
What the Celtics are in desperate need of is a either an All-Star caliber glue guy - in the mold of a Pippen or a Josh Howard (defined as someone who make the team a team by doing all of the intangibles at a very high level) - or a transformative player (defined as someone who really makes people around them better - something none of the current players on the Celtics - roster as it is presently constructed are able to do).
For these reasons, I would much, much, much rather have taken a flyer on Yi (who could end up being the Bosh of this draft) or on Brewer - as safe a pick as you had in the draft after the top two - and then use the team's tradable assets (youth and/or expiring contracts) to go after some additional players to build around.
All you need to know about this trade is that the 30-year-old GM of the Seatte/Oklahoma Supersonics/Oilers praised the Celtics and complimented them for the trade, which is the major league sports equivalent of the Mafia kiss. The C's either have a bigger plan in place that should start to become clear on Sunday, when the free-agency period starts, or by the All-Star break, when this team is battling Philly for last in the Atlantic, Boston fans will be looking to throw someone to the fishes in Boston Harbor.