The rumors of a Kevin Garnett trade for 5, count ‘em, 5 Celtics are making the rounds. It’s a little premature to comment on this, since nothing’s been formally laid out, but if this pans out, Celtics GM Ainge has put a lot of chips on the craps table with this.
You’ve got a 2-year window with the core of KG, Ray Allen and Mr. Celtic, Paul Pierce. Age and contracts are both factors there. However, you’ve got a very nice set of shooting guard, small forward and power forward there. The problem is, what do you have past that? Figure Rajon Rondo (if not part of the deal) is at the point, with Tony Allen possibly filling in as a combo guard… assuming he’s back from that ACL injury. (Its dangerous to count too heavily on someone coming off knee surgery — ask the Knicks.) At center, Kedrick Perkins isn’t exactly inspiring fear, even in the East. Past him, does anybody think Big Baby Davis can get away with playing center in the East? That’s the next biggest body.
But after the trade, you’re basically left with rookies, second year players and Brian Scalabrine who’s shown precious little since leaving the Nets.
There do look to be some open slots on the roster, so let’s not kid around - if this deal is what’s being reported, free agency makes or breaks the C’s play-off penetration. They need a center, they need an experienced point and they need bench. If Ainge can get some of the remaining B-listers out there to sign for veteran’s minimum and try to “win one for Gipper(s),” it’s the East and they have a fighting chance to make it to the finals. If not, and there aren’t any injuries, Boston makes it to the playoffs, but could fade quickly.
As for injuries, check out the Nets of recent vintage when something happens to one of their Big 3. Until we see some semblence of a bench, we’re looking at something similar to the Nets. Are KG, Allen and Pierce better than Kidd, Carter and Jefferson? It’s the Atlantic and that’s a question you want to be asking yourself, along with “Is Krstic or Magloire better than Perkins?”
That’s my reality check on this rumor. Time to sit back, see who really gets traded, and who ends up signing to fill out the roster. One thing’s for sure, the potential for the C’s to be just plain awful in 3-4 years is also there, but they’re going to take their shot now and I wouldn’t begrudge that to anyone involved.