With the "Summer Of Love" coming to a close sooner rather then later, the Boston Celtics are raised with a truly legitimate question:
Rebuild or Compete?
Few would argue that after missing out on the opportunity to pounce on Kevin Love earlier this summer, the Celtics missed their opportunity to compete for an NBA title. To be completely honest, Kevin Love wouldn't make them a title contender right away. He, along with Rajon Rondo, would attract bigger name free agent's to come help fill out a roster from top to bottom to begin competing again. Don't get me wrong, I've wanted Kevin Love in Celtics green for a long, long time. But the fact of the matter is, it's just not going to happen, as Boston just does not have what Flip Saunders and the Minnesota Timberwolves want's, which would be a NBA ready talent that can help get them into the playoff's. They have plenty of pick's, trade exceptions and expiring contract's, but again, it's not enough. The longer it takes for Love to move does bode the Celtics a little bit of a better chance to land Love, but Cleveland has everything Minny covets. So it may be time to move on.
Competing should always be at the top of every type of franchise's list of thing's to do. Boston could still do that. As previously stated, they have a plethora of draft pick's that can still be used to trade for some serious talent right now. Whether they land a piece of what they need now and acquire players later in the season or after, is one thing. Acquiring them all now is another. While I don't see that happening, it's not impossible. On top of having all the draft pick's (9 first round pick's in the next 4 drafts) they do have young talent in Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, James Young, and Avery Bradley who can entice a rebuilding team with a star player or an extremely serviceable player (except Kevin Love) to trade with Boston to expedite the rebuilding process, hence making a quick turnaround on rebuilding. If they really want to give up most of their assets to acquire some talent just to appease fans, that may not be the best idea, but here are a few names that you could look out for:
Remember, this is all hypothetically speaking...
Josh Smith - Who has been rumored to the Celtics many times before. His best friend is current Celtics star, Rajon Rondo. The two could pair very well and make an intriguingly athletic duo. Could him and Rondo be enough to entice a bigger named free agent to come to Boston? Doubtful, but stranger things have happened.
Greg Monroe - Would be a welcomed addition to a team who lack's a physical presence underneath the hoop. He's extremely athletic for his size and has plenty of offensive talent as well as upside. I believe in the right system defensively, he could become a real force, but that is with the right system. Regardless, the talent is undeniable and any team should feel rewarded for landing him.
Eric Bledsoe - Only having one remotely successful season under his belt, the 24 year old Bledsoe, would be a welcomed addition to an already full backcourt. The only issue with the Celtics backcourt, is well, everything that has to do with the offensive end. There isn't one person on the current roster at the guard position where you can say "Hey, this guy can take over at any time." Not even bargain bin free agent Evan Turner can provide that. His inconsistency on offense should worry the Celtics faithful. Bledsoe could change all of that if the Celtics acquire him.
Kevin Love - Oh wait, that ship has sailed...That's not to say they don't have a chance, but essentially they don't...
Giving up a ton of assets for that list doesn't make too much sense, unless you're getting more then what is listed above, while maintaining room to add to your roster.
If they decide to go through another season of potentially 25 wins, expect all the kid's on the roster to play. Player's like Marcus Smart, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and James Young will all have the chance to be thrown in the fire right away, gaining valuable playing time. Also potentially gaining serious trade value down the road, as I don't truly see the Celtics building a franchise around any that were mentioned, outside of Smart. Player's like Rondo, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Gerald Wallace, and Marcus Thornton will instantly hit the trade block and there will not be a shortage of suitor's looking for help to build their roster into title contention. Most, if not all of these player's will bring in ton's of assets in the form of draft pick's, trade exceptions, young talent, and potentially expiring contract's thus thrusting themselves into a position where they could land yet another high lottery number and potentially bringing in 2 and possibly 3 player's in on max contract's, should they go that route. But if they don't, the young talent they possess on the current roster would be a solid foundation of player's that could compete year's down the road.
As a sport's fan, in any sport, do you want your team to go through an abnormally long rebuilding phase? Of course you don't but Boston may not have that choice unless they can find the right fit for the serious amounts of assets they current have in hand. Considering how unattractive they look on paper, they could still be very fun to watch. It could also be extremely painful to watch as all of New England sport's have been extremely lucky to have been able to watch all their team's compete and be very successful over the last 10 to 12 year's. At the end of the day, they will try and develop that core of young talent and see where that bring's them in year two of the rebuilding phase. They've tried to rush the process, but like Danny Ainge and Wyc Grousbeck have indicated "It takes two to make a deal." That is something they haven't been able to accomplish, so with that it seem's their best bet is to continue the rebuild process.
If there is one thing I do know, the Celtics have to make up their mind quickly. They have 18 player's on their roster, including Turner. They need to figure out what they want to do with all of the assets (pick's, trade exceptions, expiring contract's, and non-guaranteed contract's) whether they will keep them and build or trade them for immediate success.
The fireworks that have been spoken of many times, have been a little more of the sparkler and bottle rocket variety. But that's not to say they don't have a chance to light off that roman candle...