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Welcome back to Sports of Boston’s two-part report card for the Celtics offseason trades and acquisitions! We’ll finish with two players returning from the 2010-11 squad.
Tracy McGrady, Delonte West, Kurt Thomas, Aaron Gray, Damien Wilkens, Earl Watson, Vladimir Radmonovic, Jason Collins, and T.J. Ford are all players that could have been useful to the Celtics that also signed for the veteran’s minimum. Pavlovic is an average shooter and a passable defender, there’s zero chance Pavlovic suddenly improves at 28 years old. He’ll see meaningful minutes only if Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Jeff Green, Marquis Daniels, and Keyon Dooling all get injured. I guess it really doesn’t matter who the Celtics’ 14th man is.
Caron Butler signed for three years at $24 million. Jason Richardson got four years at $25 million. Philadelphia inked Thadeus Young to five years, $42 million. Yes, Green was overpaid, but in the Celtics’ situation, greatly overpaying Green for one year is way better than slightly overpaying him for three or four years. Green is going to be much better this year than he was last year; we just don’t know by how much. Green will slide nicely into both starting forward spots should Pierce or Garnett need a night off in the condensed schedule. Green also has a relatively large and expiring contract. If the Celtics want to upgrade mid-season for a final title-push with their current core, they now have a contract besides one of the Big 4’s to do it with. This deal gives the Celtics a lot of flexibility moving forward, and I applaud Danny Ainge for it.
I’m not going to lie: David West would have been nice. But considering the Celtics’ cap situation, Ainge did an admirable job.
The Celtics needed four things going into this offseason: size, athleticism, bench leadership, and shooting. Danny Ainge went out and filled three of the four. The group of players the Celtics brought in are all tough veterans who apparently have a desire to win. Bass and Wilcox (along with rookie forward JaJuan Johnson) provide a ton of quality depth behind Garnett and O’Neal. Wilcox and Dooling are both seasoned vets who have in the past assumed leadership roles on rebuilding teams.Wilcox, Green and Bass are versatile and athletic forwards who run the court well.
The biggest concern left is bench shooting. Green is the only real outside threat on the Celtics’ bench. There may be a small move or two coming, but if not, the Celtics’ reserves may once again have trouble putting up points. Only time will tell if these additions will be enough for the Celtics to hang with Chicago and Miami in the Eastern Conference this coming season.