It's official, mark July 31, 2007 on your calendars, the Celtics are relevant again on the Boston sports landscape and now throughout the NBA. The Celtics made a blockbuster deal, trading Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff's expiring contract plus two 1st-round draft picks to get 10-time All-Star Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves.
The Ray Allen trade didn't create much excitement for me or around here but this is a legit. deal. The Celtics took a big gamble that with a healthy Paul Pierce, Allen and K.G., they can be contenders in the East for the next 3-4 years. And why not? The Celts have been a complete joke for most of my fan years. Except for a random run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 and Antoine's second go-around with the Celtics, this team has not made any strides on the court, to get back to the glory days of the 60's-early 90's. We've all heard about how great those days were in the Garden and while it's doubtful the C's are on the brink of a dynasty (since they'll have zilch when these three stars are done), they should be a favorite to win the Eastern Conference.
The Nets made the NBA Finals twice recently and the Cavs-a team with one superstar and no other above-average player-made it this year. All three teams lost to better Western Conference teams but at least they made it there. The Celtics season's have repeatedly revolved around drafts and as Danny Ainge has shown, there's nothing he screws up more than a draft.
It'll hurt to see Al Jefferson develop into the star we all know he can be but his growth will definitely be stunted in Minnesota which is currently an old Celtics b-squad (remember Ricky Davis, Justin Reed, Mark Blount). Green will probably never be anything more than a talented scorer that can't play defense or team basketball. It's hard for me to see Gomes leave as he went to PC but what can you do? He'll have a solid NBA career wherever he goes. Telfair will be out of the NBA in two years and Ratliff might not ever play again. Two draft picks is a pretty steep price but if the Celts have two good seasons in a row, it won't really matter since the picks will be in the 20's.
A fall with the Red Sox in the playoffs, the Patriots opening the regular season and the Celtics with their new squad is looking mighty nice. The future is now for the Boston Celtics. They've completely abandoned the youth movement in hopes of getting lots out of Pierce, Allen and KG. Why not? The Celtics matter again in Boston, proof that anything can happen.