Danny Ainge has very quietly made the Boston Celtics one of the big winners of the NBA offseason. With the headlines going to Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Steve Nash, Ainge has sat back and added pieces that help the Celtics this year and beyond. Danny has gotten everything he wanted this off-season losing just one piece of his puzzle but in return getting two upgraded players to replace the one traitor…. (Yes it still stings).
Danny kicked free agency off by getting the Kevin Garnett back for the next three years; Garnett the centerpiece of the Celtics defense was number one on the list of things to do to bolster the roster for next season. Then Bass was next on the list as Ainge was reassembling the team that made it all the way to game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Bass re-signed with Boston for 3 more years. In the meantime instead of waiting around for Rat (not a typo) Allen to make a decision Ainge went after Dallas Mavericks 6th man Jason Terry for a 3 year deal while adding Jeff Green at the same time. Then came the sting Allen took his talents to South Beach, opting to come off the bench for the team that knocked him and the Celtics out of the playoffs then the one who treated him good and gave him his one and only ring to date. As a counter to losing Allen Danny went out and Courtney Lee after several attempts from the Houston Rockets, after trying to work out a sign and trade with Dallas to give Lee the money to come to Boston, Ainge sent 3 players (Moore, Johnson and Williams) to the Rockets and Sasha Palvoic to the Portland Trailblazers. In Terry and Lee the Celtics get two of the top 10 corner 3 points shooters in the NBA, also they get Terry’s offense and ball handling skills when Rondo is taking a breather. Lee brings to the table his defense and a replacement for Avery Bradley until he comes back from shoulder surgery. Just last night the Celtics signed Jason Collins after learning of Greg Stiemsma going to the Timberwolves, with Collins the Celtics got another big man to go along with Chris Wilcox who also resigned to give playing time when Garnett goes to the bench.
In the draft Danny improved the team with talent as well getting Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph. When healthy Sullinger can provide impact right away for the Celtics, with Melo he gets to learn from Kevin Garnett and make an impact in the future (he was rated last in the top 50 summer league players) and Joseph gets to learn from Paul Pierce. With all of this Danny has improved the team for this season but for the future as well. Ainge has made sure that the Celtics will be contenders and not the bottom feeding team the he inherited when he took over in 2003. Also working in Danny’s favor is his secret weapon Doc Rivers, Lee and Terry raved how it Doc Rivers who factored into their decisions to put on the Celtics uniform. That helps for future free agents as well as Doc is a proven well liked hard nose coach which is what you don’t see from a lot of coaches in today’s league. With the schedule for the upcoming season to be released in the coming weeks we should see a starting lineup that looks something like this:
Rajon Rondo PG
Courtney Lee SG (till Avery Bradley returns)
Paul Pierce SF
Brandon Bass PF
Kevin Garnett C
Jason Terry PG
Courtney Lee/Avery Bradley SG
Jeff Green/ Kris Joseph
Chris Wilcox/Jared Sullinger
Chris Wilcox/Jason Collins/ Fab Melo