Friday, February 25, 2011

Danny... WTF?

[Image of Kendrick Perkins, looking as bewildered as I am, from
where there's a really fine analysis of what I'm writing about.]

If you find today's post boring, blame Danny Ainge.

In deference to the majority of you, who don't give an owl's hoot about basketball, I haven't written much about the Boston Celtics this year. Even though I've lived and died with them forever, I've resisted the urge to go in-depth concerning anything green-related. And I was all set to give you the funny today, but Danny went and made a bunch of trades that, as it now stands, don't make sense to me at all.

Here's who the Celtics gave up: Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, Semih Erden, Luke Harangody, and Marquise Daniels.

Here's what they got in return: Jeff Green, Nadad Krstic, 3 future draft choices, and some money.

Here's where I tell you why these trades suck. Even the most ardent of my apologists will probably be bored, so I won't love you any less if you leave. Come back on Monday. I guarantee it won't be about sports, and I think you'll have a laugh or two.

Kendrick Perkins was the Celtics starting center. During his tenure in Boston, the Celtics never lost a playoff series when their usual starting five were healthy. It is generally believed, by almost everybody in Boston - except, apparently, Danny Ainge - that if Perkins had not hurt his knee in Game Six of the championships last year, versus the Lakers, then the Celtics would have won that series. His presence, as a rebounder and a defender, has been crucial to their success.

After hurting his knee in that game - exploding it, basically - his return was estimated as sometime in February of this year. He worked his ass off and came back about three weeks earlier than expected. And that's the kind of team guy he has always been, and will continue to be now for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The fans in Boston understood his commitment, desire, heart, and guts. The first time he entered a game this season, he received as loud and long a standing ovation as a Larry Bird might have gotten. And he deserved it.

Aside from that sort of perseverance, he made an immediate impact. Any basketball fan with eyes saw that the C's were a better team with him than without him. His defensive skills, and most especially his rotating to where he is needed for help, are apparent to anyone with even minimal knowledge. And a team, such as the Celtics, who had been struggling for rebounding all year, were provided with a presence on the boards that was immeasurable.

Now, without him, they are left with an aging and unreliable Shaquille O'Neal as their starter, with Jermaine O'Neal (currently injured, and possibly never returning) as back-up. This glaring lack was exacerbated when Trader Ainge pretty much gave away Semih Erden, the only other Center on the roster.

(Last night, against Denver, the team had not a single NBA-level center to play for them. Glen Davis, a fine power forward but too small to play in the middle for more than a few minutes, was the starter. They called up a D League player, Chris Johnson, a total of TWO major league games on his resume, to fill up the bench. He played decently, and credit to him for that on short notice, but he's certainly not the answer. So, for the short term, we saw what might be the dilemma going forward and into the playoffs, if Shaq retains his penchant for being disabled and the other O'Neal doesn't return from the injured list - a basketball team with no center. Brilliant stuff, Danny. If that's what happens, and this team wins a championship, I'll kiss your ass in Macy's window at high noon.)

OK, the C's should not have let go of Perk. I firmly believe that, but I'm willing to see why it might have been done and the good that could occur. His contract was up at the end of the season, and they were supposedly far apart on talks concerning a renewal contract, so they wanted something in return for his expected departure. They packaged him with Nate Robinson - MY WIFE's favorite player (and is she ever pissed about this...) and a good guy, but expendable - and in return they get a fine forward in Jeff Green and your standard European center (very tall, but prefers shooting jump shots as opposed to banging inside) in Krstic. They also receive a future first-round draft choice. Not a horrible exchange, IF WE HAD ANOTHER HEALTHY CENTER REMAINING. Which we don't.

In the most inexplicable part of the day's activities, Ainge traded C Semih Erden and F Luke Harangody to Cleveland for... well, for something, but I sure can't figure it out. They get Cleveland's second round draft choice in 2012.

Squeeze me? Are you cereal? You give up the healthiest center remaining on the roster after Perkins' departure, a guy who has given you some decent minutes and shown that he will have, if not a starring career, a decent life as a role player, at the least, and you also ship out of town a rookie forward with some skills, and you get, in return, a draft choice two years down the road, and a second-round draft choice at that.

I am befuddled, flabbergasted, mystified, and please feel free to consider my mind boggled. But, wait, it gets better! Marquise Daniels was traded to Sacramento for (be still my beating heart!) a second-round pick in...

(No, this has to be a joke. Somebody's yanking my chain.)

... in 2017.

2017! That means this future Celtic might just now be entering middle school. I know you want to build for the future, Danny, but trading Marquise for a pre-adolescent is just slightly odd.

(I joke, and - as Homer Simpson is fond of saying - it's funny because it's true, but I actually understand the reasoning on this one. Marquise is seriously injured, may never play again, and his contract is actually up soon, so if he comes back and makes the roster next year, the C's will have received a future draft choice for nothing.)

All of the above is as it now stands. The thinking among some is that Ainge has cleared room on the roster, and given himself monetary breathing room, in order to make another addition, soon, of a decent player, perhaps Troy Murphy or Rip Hamilton. The team may be better set for the future than it was before. However, whereas before I considered the Celtics favorites to win the championship this year, I now have little doubt they've killed that opportunity. I can only hope that my usual track record concerning predictions - lousy - holds, and I have the opportunity to kiss Danny Ainge's ass come summer.

Godspeed, Perk. You're a beast and you'll remain one. I wish you had remained a Celtic.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I scrolled through most of that. I love basketball, but it's not in my top 10 of things to spend my time on. And those pros switch around so much, I don't know how anyone can keep track of them! But I hope you have a great weekend, and I'll be back Monday to see the 'funny' you promised!

Craig said...

Your comment about the '17 draft pick (and I'm with you - seriously??) reminds me of what some wag once said about hunting rabbits with a muzzle-loader: 'the ultimate in leading your target - squeezing of your shot before the prey appears over the far horizon. . .'

I confess, I haven't followed the Celts (or the NBA in general) all that closely in recent years (and, often as not over the years, have held them in some degree of antipathy - they always seemed to be in the Pistons' way, somehow. . .) But Kendrick Perkins sounds like one of those indispensible below-the-radar guys, kinda like Ben Wallace was for the last Pistons champs. . .

Suldog said...

Craig - Wallace is a fine comparison. Perk was likened, by a Boston newspaper columnist, to the bass player in the C's band. Rondo is obviously the drummer, while Allen, Pierce and Garnett all take turns as soloists (also backing rhythms, as necessary), but Perk was the solid bottom you could count on to hold everything together.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

"...If that's what happens... ...I'll kiss your ass in Macy's window at high noon."

Dear Suldog - My Lions Club is looking for a significant fundraising even. May we sell the tickets and refreshments for this event?

Seriously, I don't really follow the games much. Except I know neither the Kings nor the Warriors figure in the playoff picture at the moment. However, The really interesting action is constantly taking place off the floor with all of the trade machinations. It has reached the point where there's more excitement than in a game.

Shrinky said...

Oh Jim, it's a good job I love you, is all I can say. I know NOTHING about half of what you're talking about, and care even less, but 'cos it's you, I DID read through it all (hmph, where's my gold star?). Now about this funny you promise??

Craig said...

Ah. . . now I understand why you like him so much. . . It's a bass-player thing. . .

And of course, it's just what would happen, that if Rip Hamilton came to the Celtics, he'd actually play (but believe me, you don't want the prima-donna, head-up-his-ass version of him that we've got going on now. . .)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Basketball? I know nada, but I found five words in this post that I am stealing to use with my family, who enjoys this sort of word-distortion. What five words? For me to know.

Thanks, Suldog.

Michelle H. said...

I read the post. I swear I did! I was hoping for the team to turn into pipe-smoking leprechauns causing shamrock destruction all over the basketball court. But I guess Ainge has done enough mischief on his own.

Sorry, still not majorly into basketball, although I do understand what all the trading and draft picks means. As for the Marquise trade, it reminds me of a hockey saying that applies to this: The Celtics got a bag of hockey pucks---which means it's a strange circumstance to trade things away and not get immediate return, but it still might be useful this way.

Sorry if this comment makes no sense. Three weeks of sleep-deprivation does that...

Clare Dunn said...

We're in agreement, Sully!!!
(How did that happen??)

2007 Sox and Pats are my post today...

xoxoxo, cd

will said...

Green underwear? Who are those people and what language are you speaking?

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

Somethin' I don't understand is how a gray-haired bald guy can be called Red.
So there are a bunch of things about the Celtics that don't make perfect sense. I will never understand why the team hires a former infielder to run their operation when there are plenty of unemployed former catchers.

messymimi said...

My father, an ob/gyn and big fan of the local university sports (all of them) used to say, "The coach doesn't tell me how to catch babies, and i won't tell him/her how to coach the team." Yet even he would occasionally break that rule.

For this, he would have broken it.

Buck said...

My eyes glazed over and I inexplicably began humming this.

Soon, with mo betta comments.

Jeni said...

I am a total dumbass when it comes to basketball so your post about the ins and outs and whys and what not about trading players really went over -way over -and beyond my comprehension. However, I did read to the end of the post. Why? Because I keep telling myself by doing that I might someday learn a little about the fine art of trading athletes and who knows, maybe even about the much-loved-by-so-many sport of basketball. It could happen, ya know. Still was an interesting post whether I knew what you were talking about completely or not.

Shammickite said...

I don't know very much about basketball, but I've been to a few Raptors games in Toronto.
When the team was brand new, OlderSon bought some seasons tix, very cheap cos they wanted to start a fan base, so I went with him to a few games, and enjoyed it. But tix are beyond my financial means now and I wasn't that interested so my days as a basketball fan are definitely over.

Lisa Johnson said...

I'm not a huge basketball fan, but I was surprised about this one too. I was reading how KG is very upset about the trade and it makes me think that turning points like this make the players become even more hardened to the reality that the teams really don't care about them. It's all about the money.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Basketball is huge here in WNC, but I don't watch it - I'm a football girl :-D

but wanted to stop here and say a Hello!

CiCi said...

Unlike the rest of the comments, I am not going to lie and say I read the post. Ha.