When Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck promised that the team would be setting off some fireworks this summer, he was guilty of letting his mouth write a check that his butt cannot cash.
I appreciate his intention of putting the Celtics back in the playoff picture quickly, using a combination of the draft, free agent signings, and aggressive trade pursuit. However, it’s not always a good thing to fully divulge your interests in the world of professional sports, especially to a fanbase that is as accustomed to winning as fans of the Boston Celtics are.
Promise fireworks in, say, Milwaukee? Fans circle the 4th of July on their calendars.
Mention fireworks in Titletown, however, and fans circle the month of June and begin planning for a championship parade.
You can’t blame many Boston Celtics fans, then, for being disappointed at the lack of anything even resembling fireworks this summer. Hell – the Celtics are the winningest team in NBA history. They didn’t get that way by playing it safe, so you can excuse us fans for being slightly spoiled.
Even so, there are two things that should comfort you about the Celtics’ lack of involvement in any blockbuster trades so far this summer:
1. Danny Ainge and the Celtics’ front office are not just going to make a move just for the sake of making a move. Boston could resort to PR stunts or activity for the sake of APPEARING aggressive; instead, they wait for deals that will contribute to advance the team closer to its goal of bringing home championship banner number 18.
2. The San Antonio Spurs, the NBA’s current model of sustained excellence, have won five championships in 15 years using a combination of the trade and key free agent acquisitions.
We all got swept up in the Kevin Love rumors, and there’s no doubt about it: Love would make Boston a better team, and would instantly transform the Celtics into a relevant NBA franchise again. But Love was never going to come cheap, and the Celtics would have had to sacrifice two arms and a leg, at least, in order to bring him in – one step forward, three steps back. Sure , such a trade would have qualified as fireworks. . . that blew up in the team’s face.
The more I read about what Minnesota hopes to get for Love’s services, the more I am glad that Boston has laid low and kept its offseason activity limited to smart, minor transactions. Yes, doing so would seem to guarantee that the Boston Celtics will be lottery-bound yet again next season, but consider this: while the fireworks approach (trading for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen) did result in two trips to the NBA Finals and one championship, relying on the draft (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge) and some smaller trades (Dennis Johnson, picking up an injured Bill Walton) led the Celtics to five trips to the NBA Finals and three championships back in the 80s.
So don’t be upset that the Boston Celtics may not be able to cause lightning to strike twice the way it did back in 2007. Pulling out the stops and trying to light up the NBA with the fireworks approach may be the sexy thing to do, but it is far riskier, and far less likely to happen, than what Boston is currently doing.
Tags: Boston Celtics