The Celtics Plan Without Rajon Rondo

This isn’t the kind of injury that you can replace with a game-manager or fill in/expiring contract to replace a starter. This is Rajon Rondo we are talking about. Rondo probably means more to his team than a lot of other stars mean to theirs. Knowing this, it’s going to take someone special to replace Rondo in the short term, and even then the replacement probably won’t be up to Rondo’s par.

Not many players even have the potential to be on Rondo’s level. This trade I’m going to throw out there might fix the Celtics’ problems short term and long term. Let me explain.

(It’s a four-team trade, so you’re excused if it’s confusing. It’s making my head hurt,and I haven’t even written it yet.)

 

Boston acquires Tyreke Evans from Sacramento and Steve Blake from the Lakers.

Sacramento acquires Courtney Lee and Fab Melo from Boston. Devin Ebanks and Jodie Meeks from LA and Omri Casspi from Cleveland.

Los Angeles acquires Leandro Barbosa and Chris Wilcox from Boston and Tyler Honeycutt from Sacramento.

Cleveland acquires Francisco Garcia from Sacramento and a future second-round pick from Boston and LA.

 

Now we get to the explaining part.

First off is Boston. The Celtics get two point guards to at least do a half-decent job of filling in for Rondo. Obviously no one is going to replace Rondo, but Evans has the potential to be very good. Blake is one of the more consistent backup point guards in the league.

Boston also gets help long term. Not only would Boston have the option to re-sign Evans before anyone else does in free agency (that’s a huge stretch, but the Celtics would have the option,) but if they feel Evans doesn’t work, then they can let him walk and save the money that they owe long term to Lee. Blake gives them value this year, but also next year as a more-than-appealing expiring contract in a trade.

Sacramento. I have a little trouble with this if I’m the Kings Sonics. And the only problem I have is with Lee, more specifically, Lee’s contract. That is a lot of money long term for a starter-on-a-bad-team-bench-guy-on-a-good-team player. Sacramento Seattle gets another look at Casspi, plus Melo, a high upside big. Meeks’ contract is very team friendly in terms of what he can do. Ebanks is another guy on an expiring deal who could pan out given the chance. Sacramento gets rid of Garcia’s and Honeycutt’s contracts going forward.

The Lakers would love this trade if they made it. The one upside of Blake’s recent injury is the emergence of Duhon as more than just a trade throw in. That and the ever looming Darius Morris make Blake expendable. He’s even more expendable due to the fact that LA wants to save money. Dealing Blake would do that. LA also gets a Barbosa-Nash-D’Antoni reunion. (Side note, how many Phoenix fans envisioned that within five years of each leaving the Suns? The answer is one. That one guy who wants to rebuild and trade away anyone who isn’t 22 with big potential. We’ve all met them.) LA also gets more big-man insurance with Wilcox. Plus the fact that (and I’m no salary cap aficionado) Honeycutt’s contract might be non-guaranteed. Thus the team waves him, or buys him out, keeps a roster spot and saves enough money to buy the whole team lunch for a month or two.

Cleveland gets picks going forward, but also gets an interesting piece in Garcia. Yes, he costs them an extra four million, but has the potential to, like Blake, be a very appealing option as an expiring contract next year in terms of trade value.

I think the smartest thing for Boston to do is to go get Evans. You obviously aren’t going to finish with the best record in the conference, but maybe Evans finally figures it out under the tutelage of Doc Rivers, KG, Paul Pierce and a hobbling Rondo. Maybe Evans stays long term and plays well alongside Rondo in the future. Those “maybes” might turn into something better than a regular season conference title.

Taking the Wind Out of the 49ers Sails: Why They Aren’t the Best Team In Football, or Even Their Own Division

If I had a nickel for every time the San Francisco 49ers were lauded for praise for their play in the first two weeks of the season, I might have more nickels than Mitt Romney.

(See here, I can do political stuff, too!)

If you aren’t a 49ers die-hard fan who has the right to think their team is the best, as all die-hards do, then I’m going to stop you from ponying up any more money on them in Vegas.

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NFL Championship Round Preview and Picks

Tebow Mania has been put to sleep for the offseason. The Texans came within a touchdown of beating a good Ravens team with their third string QB. The Saints lost to the 49ers in a whirlwind last couple minutes. And oh yeah, the defending champs got shellacked by the New York Giants.

Enough of last week, it’s now that great time of year when everyone looks an idiot for picking the two best teams to be in the Super Bowl, and as it ends up both are out by the divisional round.

And as the field shrinks by the week we still have the possibility to have the most boring Super Bowl in recent history, where more people tune in for the commercials than the actual game. Yes that’s right, we could still have a “Harbaugh Bowl”. Wouldn’t that be terrible? A dismal offense (San Francisco) against one that is OK (Baltimore), also a lot of big hits and a defensive showdown with probably a couple broken arms along the way (maybe I’m over exaggerating).

Or we could have the two better offenses (New England and New York) duke it out 2008 style.

This is probably starting to sound a bit like a Super Bowl preview. It’s not. The two teams aren’t determined yet. And frankly that’s why we play the game.

NFC

Alex Smith is a game manager. Just thought I’d get that into everyone’s head who doesn’t believe it. This isn’t a guy who racks up big numbers some games that are offset by bad games. Overall this makes his numbers “mediocre”, but his team gets it done, hence the “game manger” tag. This guy is not that (if that made any sense whatsoever), he’s a QB who isn’t relied on a ton by his team. This team relies on Frank Gore and because of Gore, the play action. San Francisco probably has and had the worst wide receiver core (remember Vernon Davis is a tight end) of any playoff team and maybe one of the worst in the league. Michael Crabtree is the only wide out who is going to make opposing coaches lose sleep. And that’s more of a wake-up-for-five-minutes-to-get-a-glass-of-water kind of lost sleep. And no one can stress the importance of their defense… yadda yadda yadda. If they struggle against Eli Manning it might be a long day for San Fran fans (corny, I know).

Prediction: New York Giants 24 San Francisco 49ers 20

AFC

Ray Rice needs the ball. Ray Rice needs to gash the Patriots front seven so Joe Flacco can thrash the Patriots porous defensive secondary. If Ray Rice can’t get it going and Flacco struggles. Ehh. Tom Brady will have some problems with Baltimore’s D early, but eventually will probably have his way with them as he does with all defenses.  Baltimore needs to slow down Gronk, Wes Welker and all of Brady’s other weapons in order to have a shot at winning. They also need to score points. 20 against New England probably isn’t going to cut it (if it does, joke’s on me).  If Joe Flacco can exploit the Pats’ D then the Ravens will have a very good chance to win this game. In the end, I think Flacco will respond to the criticism and have a good day. It probably won’t be enough to slow down Tom Brady and the Pats.

Prediction:  New England Patriots 35 Baltimore Ravens 17