With a very successful off-season (I won’t blame Danny for Pay-Ray Allen) Ainge is wrapping up his summer checklist. The Celtics’ 2012-13 salary has climbed very close to the $74 million level, and Danny is running out of money to spend on free agents. The Celtics are now at a point where any major signings will have to be through either a sign and trade or with a player they have Bird rights to. The Celtic’s have reportedly been courting Courtney Lee, formerly of the Houston Rockets as their next targeted free agent. He is a very polished SG, who brings good defense and an ability to make his own shot. I would be very glad if we got him, except he might cost the Celtics a lot. See the only way we can get him, is if we do a sign and trade with Houston. And from what I am hearing, Houston wants draft picks and prospects. Now Courtney Lee is a good player, but is he worth that much to the Celtics?
A lot of people have said the Celtics should sign Lee because we need a SG to replace Ray and Bradley (who might be out till December). But I personally say that we don’t need a guard as good as Lee mainly because we have 3 high-impact guards that could conceivably play all the minutes we need from those 2 positions of PG and SG. From the guard spots there are only 96 minutes in a game. Rondo is going to take up 40 minutes at the PG spot, and will probably be replaced for the other 8 minutes by either Terry or Bradley. Terry and Bradley each averaged about 30-35 minutes a game last season, so they will more than be able to handle the rest of the minutes at SG. If you get another guard, it seems like it will be overkill, especially if you are giving up draft picks for that player. Even if Bradley does miss games till December, why not just give Etwaun Moore some burn at the SG position for those 10 games to see if he is ready to be an NBA player?
Personally I think we should use our limited salary space on a big man, namely Nenad Krstic, who we have Bird rights to. Nenad has been wasting away in Russia, honing his flopping skills and Vodka drinking for the last year. But before that, he had a very successful run as a Celtic for half a season after being part of the Perkins-Green trade. He averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds in only 20 minutes of play, and was actually better than Green at understanding the Celtics rotations that season. He jumped ship to Russia after the season for a reported $5 million contract, although the Celtics still retain his Bird rights. From some reports (I actually read a really weird translation from a Russian newspaper) he would be willing to come back to the NBA if he got a pay-raise. That would mean the Celtics would need to shell out about $6 million, which I have heard they still have the room to do.
If the reported salary figures that Lee and Krstic are demanding are correct, the Celtics wouldn’t be able to sign both. They would probably sign 1 and fill in the rest of the roster with the likes of Wilcox, Pietrus and the Boston Steamer (who also might cost too much). So the Celtics have to decide if they want to sign a big or a guard. I think the Celtics would be better served by going after the mad Russian. If anything, it will help Danny further justify his Perkins trade.
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