Friday, February 25, 2005

SAY IT ISN’T SO

He’s back!

Antoine Walker. ‘Toine. Old number 8. Back in Boston.

Paul Pierce is doing cartwheels somewhere. Antoine’s back to come out and play with the Celtics.

Talk about things I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.

Michael "I’m attractive to teams because my contract ends" Stewart, Tom "Sorry we didn’t get the chance to chant ‘GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGS’" Gugliotta, and Gary "the Nightmare won’t end for me" Payton for Antoine.

Also, Jiri Welsch to the Cavaliers for a 2007 first round pick. More on that trade later.

Antoine. Boston. Ye Gods.

Welsch and LaFrentz for Walker. Welsch for a future first rounder. Antoine for Gary Payton and contracts to make the salary cap work. Looks like Danny Ainge came out way ahead on that one.
OK, I need to rationalize this deal. Gary Payton must have made it clear he was never coming back to Boston. Ainge must be confident in Delonte West and Marcus Banks, or he has a side deal where Atlanta releases Payton (because there’s no way I see him playing in Atlanta for a last-place team) and we bring him back short-term. OK, fine.

Antoine’s contract is up at the end of the season, clearing about $10 million from the salary cap. I hope that this is all there is to the deal. Bring him back for a few months. Keep Pierce happy. Concede the East and the number three playoff spot to Philadelphia. Make a run at a free agent big man in the offseason. Trade Mark Blount. Get into the lottery with this year’s pick.

Is it a positive step for the Celtics? It makes some sense now. Will playing time open up for Delonte West? When is Al Jefferson going to get his minutes? Is it all about the 05-06 season now.

I don't like the smell of this deal.

(Antoine. Back in Boston. Jeez.)

* * *

As I had stated in my Celtics report card, Jiri Welsch is just too talented to be playing as bad as he’s played this year for the Celtics. I don’t know if it’s the coach, the system, the other players, or what, but he’s an excellent player who has just plain stunk. Going to Cleveland is going be super for him. LeBron James will love his outside shot and passing ability. A great situation for Jiri. A first-round pick for the Celtics. Not a great pick considering Cleveland’s on the way up, but as Danny Ainge showed these past two years, there’s some value at the end of the first round of the draft if you look for it.

* * *

SOME QUICK RANDOM THOUGHTS:

Amid all the A-Rod bashing that’s been going on, all I can imagine is how 2004 would have gone for the Red Sox with A-Rod at shortstop, Manny gone, and in his place Magglio Ordonez sitting on the disabled list for the entire second half of the season. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make after all.

Earthwind Moreland was released by the Patriots and is currently the favorite in Vegas for "Most likely to find his Super Bowl 39 ring on Ebay.

Can I get excited about Matt Mantei in the Red Sox bullpen yet? As if the bullpen wasn’t strong enough!

Speaking of the Sox bullpen, imagine if Byung-Hyun Kim is healthy and half the relief pitcher he was in Arizona. The starters go six innings, hand it over to Kim to Embree to Timlin to Mantei to Foulke. Game over.

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