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Thus far in the NBA off-season we have seen the elite teams adding pieces in preparation for a title run. The Lakers went out and signed Ron Artest, the Magic traded for Vince Carter, the Cavaliers added Shaq, and the Pistons signed former Bulls SG Ben Gordon. In the midst of all these transactions, Celtics fans sat in anticipation for some sort of move by Danny Ainge.
Well, just a week ago there were rumors that the Celtics offered for Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace a contract. Low and behold, this was in-fact true, thus making Wallace a Boston Celtic. Wallace will be the sixth man off the bench spelling Kevin Garnett. Throughout the week or so it took for Wallace to sign with Boston, Ainge continued to say that if Wallace signed, the Celtics would look to add more pieces.
Insert Grant Hill.
The 36 year old SF is reportedly the number one guy on Ainge’s current wish-list. Last season for the Phoenix Suns, Hill averaged 12 points-per-game, but more importantly played in every single game in the regular season. It wasn’t to long ago when Hill was on the Orlando Magic that he had a hard time playing in ten games a season, it seemed. Can Hill help the Celtics? For the 2009-2010 season, I would be led to say yes. This past season, the Celtics really missed James Posey, who signed with the New Orleans Hornets. Adding a viable backup SF would help out Paul Pierce immensely. Hill would be good for 20 minutes per game while allowing Pierce’s minutes to be far more flexible compared to a year ago, where Pierce averaged an incredible 38 minutes-per-game.
It seems like Ainge knows the window is nearly closed. After next season, Ray Allen won’t be around, and both Garnett and Pierce will be another year older. Signing Wallace and now potentially Hill makes the Celtics favorites in the East, in my opinion. Even with the Hill signing, however, the Celtics should not be done. Behind Rajon Rondo at the PG position, there is very little depth. Eddie House can’t handle the ball, so we won’t go there and Gabe Pruitt just seems to never see the court, for some reason or another. Then you have to look at the backup center spot. Who is behind Kendrick Perkins? No one. Maybe Ainge can pull some magical trade off involving Tony Allen and J.R Giddens in exchange for a big man, unlikely though.
But back to the Hill move. Overall, it’s a great stop-gap solution. He can backup Pierce for one year and relieve Pierce of some court time. Then in the 2010-2011 season we could see Bill Walker stepping up and taking Hill’s spot as the backup three. The move just makes sense. Now will Hill stay healthy? That’s another question in itself, but it’s certainly a signing that would only help Boston in the interim.