February 12, 2010
"The Celtics need to make a deal."
"I don't know. I just know they need to make a deal."
You were probably the person asking the question in the middle of that most likely recent dialogue, whether you were talking with your mates, a family member, or whether or not you were Ernie Johnson Jr., trying to squeeze a bit of analysis out of Charles Barkley.
Yes, the Celtics looked old and slow and they had the expiring contract of Ray Allen(notes) to dangle among others, but what were they going to get with that? Kirk Hinrich(notes) and John Salmons(notes)?
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the C's in talks to bring in both those Washington Wizard studs in exchange for Boston's expiring contracts, namely Allen, Brian Scalabrine(notes), and J.R. Giddens(notes). For Washington, this finally represents the cold splash of reality that we've been begging the team to take on for weeks. The squad needs to start over, losing the the contracts of Jamison and Butler at all costs, even if it means they can't add a rotation player in the trading process.
For Boston? More questions than answers, no doubt, but good questions to have.
Nothing is imminent, Woj warns, but the curious possibilities still spring up. Can Butler and/or Paul Pierce(notes) still chase around two guards? It wasn't as if Ray Allen could, either, but Allen also knows how to overcome his quickness issues while usually staying out of foul trouble. Pressed into service working in the face of an off guard, Butler or Pierce could hurt their own offensive contributions by racking up fouls.
Most importantly, to me; will C's coach Doc Rivers have it in him to sit Kevin Garnett(notes) for Jamison when things aren't going KG's way? And can Garnett, a player who hasn't had to deal with sort of reality since 1995-96, handle this?
A good part of me still thinks Garnett the superior player sometimes even in his dimished state, mainly because his help defense - showing and funneling - is so good. On top of that, he knows the plays, he knows the counter-reads and what to do next offensively (who to get in front of to spring someone else free), and he was the heart and soul of a team that is fewer than two years removed from winning a ring.
That said, even with a straight split of minutes and the occasional Jamison foray to the small forward slot, that still won't be enough time to fully exploit Jamison's fantastic offensive and rebounding gifts. Others will point to how well Jamison played off the bench for the 2003-04 Dallas Mavericks, but his per-minute numbers have always been higher while starting and playing more minutes, as is the case for most players, despite how much their contributions scream "sixth man!"
Still, these are good questions to have about a trade that might not work out in the end.
What matters is that the Wizards may have finally seen the light, and that the Celtics may have talked themselves into an extended stay in the big top. Even if it costs the ownership group huge scads of dough, and some initial hurt feelings.