Three major news stories dominate Boston sports at the moment, but there is one bonus note below about the most important free agent out in the market who should be locked-on as the ONLY Patriots target on their radar. First, the big three:

3. RIP DJ:
Dennis Johnson should be number one, but he wore number three in Boston and it seems appropriate. DJ was far from the best guard in Celtics history. Heck, he was really a shooting guard playing the point. But he was part of what will ALWAYS be the starting five of the Celtics in my mind: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge, and Dennis Johnson. That was the starting five during the glory days. When the Celtics were the biggest draw in town. When basketball ruled Boston. When DJ always hit the big shot.

2. Hundred Dollar Bills, Y’all:
Corey Dillon retiring (or being released) is big news, but not much of a surprise to the Patriots front-office, I believe. Dillon was not playing with a $4.4 million cap number, believe me. Plain and simple, that is why he is gone. He did a good PR move by coming out early, but it was obvious last year after the draft that Maroney was going to be Stephen Jackson in New England. The Patriots will find a big, cheap body to replace Dillon and pound the middle of the line next year.

The other mo money deal was the no-brainer franchising of Asante Samuel. Expect either a long-term deal by the beginning of training camp or a very uncomfortable 2007 season. Samuel is a good corner, and he is in the perfect system. Unless he is going to a Belichick-lite defense (Cleveland, Oakland, Jets, etc), he had better make sure that money is up-front.

3. Holy Crap!
Yes, the Celtics have won two games in two weeks. The lead for ping-pong balls is down to one game. Greg Oden or Kevin Durant? I think Oden is going to be a Tim Duncan/Shaq type player in the NBA some day. Durant is simply the next Kobe (minus the rape allegations, I hope). Nobody loses with either of those two. If the Celtics get Oden, great. If they get Durant, great. If they get neither, Danny has a whole lot of wheeling and dealing ahead of him. I said it before, but I still say this should be the Celtics Dump List:

G: Delonte West: This guy is one of the worst decision-makers at the point, fires up threes like he was the illegitimate son of Antoine, and everyone loves him. I do not get it! TRADE HIM NOW!
G/F: Wally Szczerbiak: I’d rather have Wally the Green Monster at this point.
F: Tony Allen: What has he done? Three good games? He should have been traded two days before that knee blew out. SHAME, DANNY, SHAME!
F: Brian Scalabrine: Slow white guy, soft on defense, cannot rebound, horrible shot but fires threes anyway, and bitches about playing time. Gee, why would we want him around?
C: Theo Ratliff: At least next year he will have value as an expiring contract.
C: Michael Olawakandi, aka the Kandi Man: At least get a few practice balls for him or something.


Adalius Thomas Not Franchised by Baltimore:
It does not matter what it costs. Give him $10 million in bonuses up front and $10 million a year. This guy is the answer at linebacker. Belichick, Pioli: JUST DO IT!

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