Just a few observations while Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge try to mold a roster that will deliver Banner 18.
The rumors of the Celtics landing Chris Paul for Rajon Rondo were very intriguing. I am a huge fan of Rondo - he's a proven winner and is one of the best point guards in the league. However, if the Celtics could have landed CP3, they would have been making a good basketball trade. Paul is one of the best point guards that has ever played in the NBA and he would have been an upgrade over Rondo.
Now that it looks like Paul is going to be a Laker whether or not David Stern approves, I worry about Rondo's emotional state. He had a shaky finish last season after his best friend Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Thunder and after President Obama made a joke about his jump shot to Ray Allen. What will be the effect of his name being dragged through the rumor mill? Only time will tell.
While the Rondo-for-Paul trade fizzled, the Celtics appear to be on the verge of making an impact deal with the Hornets anyways.
Reports are circulating that the Celtics will land David West from New Orleans in exchange for Jermaine O'Neal. The 6-9 West is coming off an ACL injury from last season that has cost him some money but the 31-year-old forward is reportedly completely healthy.
West, who has career averages of 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds, would be a welcome addition to the Celtics front line. O'Neal was their only legitimate center on the roster but his constant knee troubles make it doubtful he would survive the entire season and at this point, West is clearly the better player and having him makes the Celtics a stronger contender in the East than they would be with O'Neal.
Ainge has been working quickly to assemble a full team for Rivers.
He re-signed Jeff Green, traded Glen Davis to the Magic for Brandon Bass, and has also added Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Chris Wilcox, and Greg Stiemsma to the roster. The team also has rookies JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, and Gilbert Brown under contract.
If the West trade is consumated as expected, the Celtics would have a solid rotation of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rondo, Ray Allen, West, Green, Daniels, Bass, Wilcox, and Dooling with Avery Bradley, Stiemsma, and the rookies fighting for spots and minutes.
The team's schedule will be difficult. The Celtics veterans will struggle to survive the 66-game compacted schedule and then get through the rugged playoff schedule.
They will need the Big 3 to find the fountain of youth to make one more run, Rondo to forget the trade rumors, West (if the deal gets finished) to bounce back 100% from the ACL tear, Green to bounce back from a tough first impression in Boston, and at least two others from the Daniels/Dooling/Wilcox/Johnson/Bradley/Moore mix to provide quality minutes off the bench.
That's a lot to hope for but this team has championship experience and it will be the last chance for the Garnett-Pierce-Allen group to win a title in Boston so while a title may not be expected - especially with the Heat, Bulls, and Knicks (with Tyson Chandler) in the East - it would not shock me to see Banner 18 come to the Garden this season.