One year ago, there were many calling for the head of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge due to his seemingly non-stop desire to tinker with the C’s roster.
The fan base didn’t want change back then, but Ainge still pulled the trigger on the Kendrick Perkins-Jeff Green deal.
Today, with the Celtics reeling and Rajon Rondo trade rumors heating up, it seems that Ainge is ready to tinker again, and this time, the majority of fans actually want it to go down.
But is this the easiest route back to title contention?
If somehow Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak had his tall skinny cinnamon dolce latte spiked at Starbucks on March 14 (the day prior to the NBA trade deadline) and traded Pau Gasol straight up for Avery Bradley on March 14, it’s still very doubtful that the Celtics would be able to beat the Heat, Bulls or Thunder this season.
So most Celtics fans are resigned to the fact that Banner 18 ain’t going up in those crowded rafters in 2012.
The blow-it-up crowd will now clamor for the Celtics to possibly swap KG, Ray Allen, and/or Paul Pierce for “chips” (Ainge’s favorite word circa 2003).
The quick-fix crowd will say, keep the gang together and try to lure Dwight Howard during this off-season. Now while Ainge’s recruiting skills may be among the best in the league (see Garnett, Kevin in the summer of 2007), the chances of nabbing Howard solely on the premise that he’ll get to play with a disgruntled point guard and a happy-go-lucky head coach are miniscule at best. There’s also no evidence thus far that the Magic center likes to take two-day vacations up to Sunday River. Howard, at this point, is the ultimate pipe dream.
Instead, the best route for Boston may be to simply stay relevant. Keep Rondo. Keep Pierce. Maybe invite Garnett and Allen back on short money.
The best route may be to wait it out and go after a second wave of free agents and build around Rondo.
With big market teams blowing money this summer and next season, the Celtics could very well bide their time.
The 2013 unrestricted free agent market currently has: Utah’s Al Jefferson (old friend of Doc Rivers), Atlanta’s Josh Smith (played with Rondo in high school), LA’s Andrew Bynum and Indiana’s David West (worth another try).
A lot can happen between now and the summer of 2013 as some of these guys may be locked up between now and then. There will almost certainly be new big names that pop up in trade rumors.
But during this time of uncertainty, Ainge’s best path back to glory may be to do what he enjoys least: waiting.