Though I’m currently taking applications, I haven’t yet met the girl of my dreams.
That fact didn’t keep me from visiting the jewelry store this afternoon to buy an engagement ring. The problem was, I don’t know what size ring the Boston Celtics’ offseason wears. Also, I’m not sure how I want to propose to her. I’ve ruled out the “cliche on the Jumbotron” proposal because what if she says no in front of 20,000 people? My proposal will be cute yet manly, special and unique. It will be worthy of the girl to whom I’m proposing. I am in love with the Boston Celtics’ offseason and want to have several children with her. She deserves my monogamous and unconditional love, at least until Danny Ainge makes a move I strongly disagree with in the future, at which point I will force her to sleep on the couch or maybe file for a divorce.
But for now the Celtics’ offseason is sleeping in my bed, spooning the night away. I don’t even care if she steals all the covers because her scent alone is enough to make me smile. I mean, sure, the Celtics could use another big man to play defense, rebound, and block shots. But they will assuredly use the bi-annual exception on the best big man available at that price. Though that big man isn’t likely to be a stud, any complaints about this offseason would just be picking nits. The Celtics improved their talent level significantly while adding several intriguing young pieces.
We have wondered for years when Ainge’s youth movement would begin. Though Ray Allen departed for the enemy this summer, several familiar stars remain. And in the shadows of a team that looks familiarly old on the surface, Ainge’s rebuilding process has already begun.
The Celtics will have six rotation players age 27 or younger to begin next season, and all but Avery Bradley are under contract for at least the next three years (or at least will be once Jeff Green signs his new deal). Rajon Rondo, Bradley, Brandon Bass, Green, Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee are all expected to play important roles in Boston next season. Fab Melo, Boston’s other first-round draft pick, is more of a project than Sullinger but might also make a major impact at some point within the next few seasons.
The Celtics will remain in win-now mode during the upcoming season. They also, suddenly, have a nice young core that should keep the team relevant for years to come. Ainge’s glorious summer included re-stocking the Celtics’ bench for a run at knocking off the Miami Heat while simultaneously (and silently) acquiring young talent that should help counteract the slippage which Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will inevitably face at some point, and have each already dealt with to a certain degree.
We might forget now, after Garnett triggered this impressive offseason by deciding not to retire, but the Celtics weren’t always promised to remain relevant in the upcoming season. Ainge had several options this summer, one of which was to light the title-winning nucleus ablaze and begin a rebuilding process from scratch. For a number of reasons (the top ones being that the veterans still have a considerable amount of juice left and free agents were mostly undesirable), Ainge decided to maintain the core of last season’s team and surround it with better talent. He convinced Garnett to return for three seasons, coaxed Jason Terry into leaving Dallas, unsuccessfully campaigned to keep Allen in Boston (thanks for Courtney Lee, Ray), re-signed Green (which is still unofficial), drafted two big men with considerable talent and turned a number of retread tires (plus two second-round draft picks) into Lee. Keep in mind, Ainge did all of that without any real cap space. The Celtics could have had some serious money to spend in free agency, but Garnett’s return wiped almost all of that away.
NBA general managers are all governed by the same rules, but only a few GMs demonstrate the ability to bend those rules to their advantage. With very little cap space, Ainge still managed to give a full face lift to Boston’s bench while surrounding the Celtics’ aging stars with a young nucleus built to run with Rondo. The Celtics are simultaneously trying to compete and get younger, similar to the way the San Antonio Spurs have operated in recent years.
The Celtics needed scoring and shot-creating, especially off the bench. Add Terry. They needed rebounding. Sullinger suffices there, though another big man will certainly be added with the bi-annual exception and rebounding looks like it might still be an Achilles heel. Lee is a huge upgrade defensively over Allen and should provide some of Allen’s accurate shooting. Green does a little bit of everything, Bass was a nice fit last year and Chris Wilcox is back for the veteran’s minimum. In case you were wondering, I just lit some candles, drew a bath, dimmed the lights and turned my Spotify radio to the Boyz II Men station.
Your task is to help me decide how to propose. Nothing overly tacky, but it should include some creativity. I just love the feeling the Boston Celtics’ offseason gives me. She keeps me smiling consistently, and it’s time to tie the knot.