1) My immediate reaction after hearing about the trade was one of paralyzing despair. After a few hours I moved into a shuddering fetal position, gradually working my way to sitting upright, and finally 24 hours later became fully functional. In other words when I heard about it, I HATED this trade.
2) 10 days before the draft I wrote this:
In summary. I think the Celtics are likely to do things in this order:
--1 Keep the pick and draft a tall Chinese guy.
--2 Keep the pick and draft a tall other guy.
--3 Keep the pick and draft a fleet wingy guy.
--4 Trade the pick and receive an all star who is not insane.
--5 Trade the pick and receive an all star who is insane.
--6 Get a second lottery pick and acquire all the ALs they can.
I think Danny Ainge came very close to choosing option #1 by going with Yi. Instead he chose option #4 and traded for a sane all star.
3) Only hours before the draft Danny said in a WEEI interview that he would not trade a young guy for a vet if he thought the young guy would be nearly as good in two years. Atlanta was leaning to Horford. Memphis to Conley. It sure looked like the Celtics were taking Yi...
4) Next the trade happened. It seemed like Ainge was trading the future for winning more (but not enough) games now. It seemed like Danny had done just the opposite of what he said he would- by acquiring a veteran at the expense of a talented young prospect. It seemed like this made absolutely no sense...
5) THEN THINGS STARTED TO HAPPEN TO CHANGE MY MIND:
*First off, Seattle fans hated the trade too. Huh? How could that be? Oh yeah. I forgot. Ray Allen is pretty danged good— he's just about Paul Pierce good. (Would you trade Paul Pierce for Szczerbiak, West, and the 5th pick?)
*Then people started talking about where the Celtics stood in the East playoff rankings. Not IF, but WHERE.
*Danny Ainge said he thought Ray Allen would be better in the coming years than anyone he could draft.
*I realized you couldn't just make the team great with ONE deal. You had to do an interim deal first to put you in a position where you're one deal away. Was this the right deal to do that?
*Then Ray Allen spoke: Thankfully he talked about how aware he has always been of extending his career longevity- of the special attention he pays to diet and exercise.
Hang on now, I thought, if everything goes right it's just slightly possible this deal might work out.
6) But how??
Ok, the first thing that has to happen is Ray Allen MUST stay healthy and productive. must Must MUST!
THEN, the Celtics HAVE to make another deal or two before the season begins. The Celtics cannot go into November with just Perkins and Jefferson as their only height. (Yes Ratliff is on a contact year, and contract years do have a way of healing a variety of ailments— but we'll hold off on Theo-talk, since Mr. Ratliff will be included in any other trade that might come along.)
Anyway, the Celtics biggest need going into the draft was for a long mobile agile defensively-skilled big man with a Kirilenko-Garnett-Dalembert body type. They STILL desperately need that guy, plus now they need a back up veteran point too.
If these three things happen: long guy, vet point, healthy Ray— everything will be super. Oh man, this is a huge risk.
7) In looking at the trade from a Seattle perspective I don't know why they did it. Why not have Ray Allen there to take the heat off Durant? Instead they're throwing all possible pressure on Mr. young wunderkind. That's hard. They could have made it easier on their young star.
8) Back to the Celtics: MORE DEALS MUST COME. Otherwise this will NOT be good.
But if everything works out here are the benefits: Boston will be a destination for free agents. Ray Allen's the guy to do what Szczerbiak could not— take the pressure off Pierce, spread the floor and balance the offense, pull the double teams off Paul and Al, and guide the young fellas.
Here's the question that turned it all around for me: How many assists a game do you think Rondo is going to get with Pierce on one side, Ray Allen on the other and Jefferson down low??? The answer is plen-freakin-ty.
AS LONG AS RAY IS HEALTHY
AS LONG AS RAY IS HEALTHY
AS LONG AS RAY IS HEALTHY
Please stay well Ray Allen. Please. Stay young- functionally young anyway. Stay strong. Keep playing at the same level you did last year for 4 or 5 more years. Everything depends on it. IF that happens, this was a good trade. What a gamble...
9) The second rounders: All winter I was dreaming of a Summer League team with Greg Oden. ...then after May 22nd with Yi. ...now the top 2007 Celtics pick playing is Gabe Pruitt. What a change.
I LOVE Big Baby! He's got super quick and nimble feet for a guy with such bulk. If he gets into top shape he'll be very good. (Had the Seattle trade not happened, I'm sure he would have been picked at 32 instead of Pruitt.)
10) ...Now we watch and wait and see what happens next. Danny and Doc both know it: another trade is needed. There's lots of great players on the market now. Ratliff has the biggest expiring contract available. Make that next trade... it's the only way to make this one make sense.
...Hey, the Seattle deal is done. The choice of path has been made. The Celtics will win next season. They will be a playoff team. Now that the direction has been decided: Win all you can! Knock em down one after the other, and remember what it's like to be dangerous again.