Saturday, June 30, 2007

Allen Wrench, Or, the Art of the Short-Stacked All-In

Say this for Danny Ainge; at least he made a deal. Every NBA general manager in draft lottery spots numbers 3-13 had spent every waking moment since the ping-pong balls stopped bouncing back in May looking to swap their pick for an accomplished veteran, or a not-so-accomplished veteran. Ainge was the only one of them to accomplish the feat. That's a tribute to his perseverance and creativity.

Will the acquisition of Ray Allen make the Celtics a better team? That's a tougher question. I think I'll go along with the consensus opinion-who knows? It can't hurt. It's certainly a better notion than the addled proposal the Celts get rid of Al Jefferson for Jermaine O'Neal.

I DO know the Seattle Supersonics' decision to swap Allen in order to draft Jeff Green didn't make any sense. Had they used Boston's pick for Corey Brewer or that Yi fellow, the Sonics would made a debatable but defensible decision. They evidently see something in Green I do not. And I have company there.

Allen has had a stellar NBA career with a long succession of forgettable teams. He's made a lot of All-Star teams, and won an Olympic gold medal. He may be on the back nine of his career, but it's a pretty back nine, not your local muni. The point is, of all the veteran stars either looking to escape their teams or had teams looking to escape them, Allen was the one who could be had. Ainge figured that out, and pulled the trigger.

Draft-day blockbusters are easy to discuss and hard to pull off. Kevin Garnett is still a Timberwolf. Kobe Bryant is still unhappy with the Lakers. The Hawks would up using their third and 11th picks on Al Horford and Acie Law (good choices, by the by), not Amare Stoudamire.

Ray Allen to the Celtics for Jeff Green, Wally Sczerbiak, and Delonte West was not a blockbuster. But a draft-day cherry bomb is better than no noise at all.


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