1.16.2008

Ainge Waiting for the Right Moment

“When you get off to a start like this, there’s a lot of factors in it - a lot of people playing key roles. And you can’t underestimate or undervalue the personalities in the locker room or the personalities on the court. So you’ve got to be very careful of toying with the roster under those kind of circumstances.”

There are a couple of ways to interpret these observations by Mr. Daniel Rae Ainge.

One way is to assume that if the Cs get back on track and head into the trading deadline with a 50-8 record, the Cs will stand pat rather than risk spoiling the delicate chemistry that got them that record.

If this interpretation is correct, standing pat would be, well, stupid.

We all can point to teams with great regular season records that failed to make it to the dance, much less win it all. The 1972-73 Celtics won 68 games but didn't make it to the Finals. The 67-15 Dallas Mavericks didn't get out of the first round. The Pistons started 35-5 a couple years back only to lose to the Heat in the ECFs.

The goal is not simply to ring up a good record during the regular season. The goal is to build a roster than can bring home the bling. As I mentioned earlier, even casual NBA observers in the violence-torn reaches of the world know the Celtics needs--back-up point guard and impactful big of the bench.

Another interpretation of Danny's observations is that the Celtics Jeffe is simply biding his time, waiting to see if the Celtics skid continues, waiting to see if Rondo's injuries linger, waiting to see if Ray Allen continues to stink, and waiting to see what deals are offered by other teams.

If this interpretation is the proper one, it is a smarter ploy, but not without it's own risks. The longer we wait, the more likely it is that players currently available on the market are gobbled up by other teams. The Lakers pursuit of Chris Webber and PJ Brown comes to mind. On the other hand, maybe a deal for Sam Cassell materializes in February when the Celtics be able to pay him one month less of his contract than they would if they acquired him today.

I am going to trust that Danny understands that this is a championship caliber team THIS YEAR, and that he still has some work to do.

Heading into the playoffs with an fragile second year player as your starting point guard and a collection of Eddie House, Tony Allen and Gabe Pruitt as your backups would be something close to criminally negligent.

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