The Celtics’ PG Crisis and an Al Jefferson Update

While Tony Allen can be a force when healthy, he certainly cannot play the point. 

If you watch the Celtics at all, you’ll notice they have one glaring need: a true back-up point guard.  They don’t need a stud–fans have been hoping for the arrival of Sam Cassell for quite a while–, they just need someone who can come in and play 10 minutes when the other team’s pressure gets to Eddie House.

Now, clearly, should the team be able to acquire a better back-up than say a Lindsey Hunter-type, it would be a move worth considering–imagine the struggles Boston would face should Rajon Rondo go down with an injury for more than a few games.  The Celtics are actually better equipped to handle the extended absence of Ray Allen or Paul Pierce than they are of their young point guard.

So, what should the team do about this?  After trading almost all of its assets away this summer and using most of its cap space on Scott Pollard, Eddie House, and James Posey, unless the team feels Gary Payton would be a worthwhile pursuit (a move I’m not in favor of), a trade is the logical route.

First of all, what do the Celtics have to offer?  The ideal situation would find Chris Webber deciding to forgo his almost certain return to Detroit to sign with the Celtics for little more than the veteran’s minimum, making Glen “Big Baby” Davis available.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Webber will be joining the Boston Three Party, making Davis a vital cog in the front court.

That leaves us with a combination of Tony Allen, Gabe Pruitt, Leon Powe, Brian Scalabrine’s contract, and future draft picks.  Not too appealing a package.  That’s why netting Cassell, the perfect man for the job, is nearly impossible.  Not only do the Clippers most likely not want the porous package the Celtics could throw together–one that would have to include Brian Scalabrine’s contract to work–but they have no reason to get rid of the guy for meager portions; Cassell has been playing great and if he leaves after this season then more than $6 million comes off LAC’s cap number next year.  Essentially, if you want Cassell, you better have something good to offer.

Assuming Cassell is not an option, who else could the Celtics target?

Kyle Lowry is an intriguing young player whose contract would be no issue at a little more than a $1 million for 2007-2008, and Grizz GM Chris Wallace certainly knows the Celtics considering his previous post was as Boston’s General Manager.  An offer structured around Tony Allen and some draft pick compensation might be enough to get it done, and a deal could be further expanded should Memphis so desire.

Another possible team worth talking to, ironically, is the Clippers.  While Cassell might be too difficult a match for Boston, Brevin Knight or former Celtic Dan Dickau could be less costly solutions.  After all, the Celtics aren’t looking for a guy to come in and make waves, they just need someone to get the ball over half and into the offense when Rajon Rondo’s on the bench.

As much as I like Tony Allen at the wing position, unfortunately he simply cannot play the point under any circumstances.  The strange part about Doc Rivers’ infatuation with placing Allen under the pressure of bringing the ball up is Tony’s incredible lack of dribbling skill, a prerequisite for playing point guard at any level.  Last night’s game against the Kings showcased this fact, as Allen lost the ball on three consecutive possessions in the first half, and committed 4 turnovers in short minutes.  While trading Tony Allen is not a move I want to see made, it may turn out to be the only option that can prevent a meltdown when Rajon Rondo is unavailable.

Spending too much time on the ESPN.com’s Trade Machine can prove a fruitless effort (just ask Bill Simmons), but spending some time checking in with other GMs around the league is something Celtics boss Danny Ainge must do in the hopes of being proactive rather than reactive with his team’s point guard issue staring him in the face. 

***

Al Jefferson update: Big Al threw down last night, posting 20 points, 19 boards (10 offensive), 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block.  Jefferson has become one of the top 5 offensive rebounders in the league, and currently carries a 22.49 PER in his back pocket.  Too bad Shira Springer’s dubious report on the KG trade NOT involving Big Al was little more than poor reporting and ended up costing Springer her job.  The Big Three plus Big Al and Rajon Rondo?  Now that could have been a dynasty.

Should ‘Sota find itself in the top two of the draft this summer, thus earning the privelege of partnering Jefferson with either Derrick Rose or Micheal Beasley (assuming they choose the one-and-done route) plus the rest of the Minny Celtics, you might see a relatively quick turnaround for the T-Wolves.

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