I spent two days frantically checking and refreshing any web site I could find offering Boston Celtics or NBA trade information for this?
For weeks, I had clung to the notion that the Celtics would make a trade to put the team back in contention for a championship. I hoped and waited for a significant trade that would make me believe again in this team.
In the end, Danny Ainge made just one move – sending three-point shooter Eddie House, along with seldom used Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens to New York for three-time slam-dunk champ Nate Robinson and rookie forward Marcus Landry.
The exchange of undersized point guards has very little risk to it. Robinson could provide a much needed spark to the Celtics and has the potential to be a major offensive lift coming off the bench.
As far as Giddens and Walker, I never had much of a chance to see what they were capable of. Doc Rivers had said in the press a few weeks back that due to injuries and an attempt to cut back on minutes, especially for Ray Allen, he was going to have to start playing Walker more. Rivers never did, and it was unlikely he ever was going to either.
I don’t have any problem with the trade. I just wanted more. Much, much, more. The trade for Robinson is a minor deal. Even if Robinson is everything we could have hoped for, his impact on whether this team rises or falls, will likely be minimal.
The Celtics had a great deal to work with in terms of assets to trade and many pressing needs, most notably their struggles on the boards and lack of low-post scoring. In addition to the now departed House and Giddens, Ainge had expiring contracts in Ray Allen ($18 million), Tony Allen ($2.5 million), Brian Scalabrine ($3.4 million), and Shelden Williams ($800 thousand).
The urgency to make a significant move became that much greater to me from watching Kevin Garnett limp up and down the court each night. If there is anything left in his tank, enough to help this team return to the Finals, 2010 may be the last year for it to happen.
As an outsider, I always want to be slightly hesitant before I criticize a team for not making a trade. While I believe Ainge needed to make a move for an impact player, that does not mean he should have just done anything. I don’t know what trades he pursued, and what other teams were offering and asking for.
With that said, regardless if Ainge is to blame or not for not making a bigger trade, I find it difficult to see the Celtics, even with Nate Robinson, being a team capable of competing for a title. I have become even more attached to that opinion considering Cleveland’s acquisition of Antawn Jamison.
Right now, Boston is not in the group of elite teams in the NBA. Substituting Nate Robinson for Eddie House does not change that. How can a team that has blown eight double-digit leads in the second half, most of those since January, realistically think they can win a title?
The hope going forward has to be that with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, there are no more excuses. The players the Celtics have are the players they are going to have to rely upon.
Ray Allen knows he is not going anywhere, and his teammates know Ray will be there as well going forward. Same goes for the remainder of the roster. If there was any anxiety over who would be traded, that is now gone.
Whether he wanted to make a larger trade or not, Ainge has sent a message to this team that he believes Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins are still a starting five capable of winning a title. He believes that the bench of Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis, and now Nate Robinson, will provide the depth required of a team with championship dreams.
Ever since losing to the Clippers on December 27, the Celtics have lost their way. If Boston is going to return to the type of team that opened the year 23-5, the roster they are going to have to do it with is in place.
The Celtics have 31 games left in the regular season to get back on track. If they are going to do just that, they might as well begin tonight at the Lakers.