So my brother’s birthday is on the worst possible day for an NBA blogger to celebrate his brother’s 21st: The first day of free agency. But it was his 21st, so I had to choose family over blogging (I know, I’ve got to get my priorities straight).
We went to the casino, where I was at once the designated driver for my brother and a couple of our friends and also prepared to lose every cent to my name. I came out on top, though, mostly because I’m the white Phil Ivey. (And partially because I flopped a flush against pocket kings with my 3-4 of hearts.)
But that’s a different story. The real story yesterday was that I kept getting tweets on my phone, telling me about the contracts being shelled out. Drew Gooden for $32 million. Joe Johnson for $119 million. Darko Milicic for $20 million. Rudy Gay for $81 million. Amir Johnson for $34 million.
I kept looking at my phone, cracking up, and then becoming furious that Scal hasn’t yet been offered $25 million over three years. (Don’t worry folks, Scal’s day is coming… On second thought, maybe not.) The players have clearly been drugging NBA GMs and forcing them to offer outrageous, potentially franchise-crippling contracts. How else could you explain second- and third-fiddles getting max contracts? How else could you explain the Bucks wasting $6 million per year for a solid seventh or eighth man? How else could you explain Darko still being in the league, never mind making $5 million a year? The NBA went buck wild yesterday, folks, and some very mediocre players celebrated its zaniness.
While many GMs around the league summonsed their inner Isiah Thomas, Danny Ainge and the Celtics stayed mostly quiet. They called Ray Allen at 12:01, worked on re-signing Paul Pierce, and spoke to a few free agents. They seem entirely content to bring the same crew back, add a few supporting players, and return next season with a revamped bench and revenge on their minds.
Since I missed out on blogging yesterday’s free agent bonanza, here are my thoughts on what went on with the Celtics:
Doc Rivers calls Ray at 12:01
Yes. Absolutely. Was there any other choice? It always seemed like a given that Pierce was going to come back, granted his history with the team and such. But Ray? He doesn’t have the same ties to Boston, and his shooting stroke makes him a perfect wing-man for any star in the league. Doc was smart to call him at 12:01, and — if he’s really intelligent — will hound Ray with phone calls until Ray gets to the point where he re-signs just so he doesn’t have to hear Doc’s voice so often.
Interest in David Lee?
So the Celtics, armed with only the mid-level exception, think they might be able to sign an All-Star? In a league where Drew Gooden fetches $32 million over five years, call me a non-believer. There are two ways the C’s sign Lee: 1) He decides not to get the first giant contract of his career, choosing to win for the first time instead. Or 2) The Knicks agree to a sign-and-trade for Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace’s retiring contract, in which case Lee might STILL be underpaid in a Celtics uniform. In the end, it’s more likely Darko Milicic will be paid $5 million per year through 2014 than it is David Lee will play for the Celtics next year. Wait, somebody’s actually paying Darko that much, for that long? In the NBA, never say never.
J.J. Redick a possibility
I love J.J.’s game. He’s a great shooter, wildly underrated defender, and better playmaker than anyone would expect. He’d make perfect sense in a Celtics jersey. I just don’t see how the Celtics can afford him. He’s a restricted free agent, and the C’s only have the mid-level to offer. Don’t the Magic have to match a mid-level offer for Redick? Especially if he’d be going to the C’s otherwise? I just don’t see any scenario where the Magic let Redick leave for only the mid-level.
Between Lee, Redick and the Millers, the Celtics sure are targeting a lot of white guys. I like Brad Miller, but I’d prefer not to waste the entire mid-level on a 6’11,” over-the-hill ogre, no matter how good a shooter and passer he is. And Mike? Sources say he might be due for a huge payday, more than the mid-level. Isn’t money worth anything to these overspending fools who call themselves GMs?
Anthony Morrow an option
The Celtics are one of the teams interested in acquiring Morrow’s services. Yes, please. Let’s look at a list we’d want in a backup wing man: Great shooter? Check. Young? Check. Cheap? Check. Top-notch defense? Umm… he’s been playing for Don Nelson, so I can’t even tell if it’s Morrow’s fault that he’s swiss cheese. Weak defense aside, Morrow would be a deadeye shooter off the bench for a team that needs just that. Would I rather have Redick or Morrow? Probably Redick. But Morrow’s younger and less expensive. Not a bad choice, not at all.
Is there anything that happened yesterday that I forgot to mention? Probably. But I was too busy stealing from fishes and check-raising unsuspecting tourists to pay perfect attention to everything that happened in the Celtics world.
Don’t worry, I’m back today, in full force. But I got to experience the life of a blogger yesterday – I made more money in a day off than I do in a full day’s work. I’m not worried about it, though: One of these days, David Kahn is going to come banging on my door with a $15 million deal in hand. No doubt about it.