Originally posted on Extra Pine Tar  |  Last updated 7/1/12

 

The most succesfull sports soap opera in history is back again – the NBA free agent season – and there are no shortage of story lines for just about every fan out there. Some of the characters may be a little old and yeah, the story lines can seem a bit ridiculous at times, but it’s still must watch TV. There are characters that we’ve seen before (Dwight Howard, Deron Williams) and some new guys (Ray Allen, Goran Dragic) but it’s some of the most entertaining stuff out there.

Analysts use phrases like “divorce”, “inner turmoil” and “courting of suitors” to describe the entrance and exit players have from and to their respective teams. Words usually reserved for a team-themed dating show on the E! channel.

Even though this is somewhat of a down year for guys who are techincally “free agents” there is no shortage of talent available through trade, mutiny or just sheer “I don’t want to play here anymore so you better trade me before I give your entire clubhouse terminal cancer.”

There have already been some minor, expected moves – like KG resigning with the Celtics for a deal that gives the veteran some security and the Celtics some room to work with in regards to cap space. Which I think is a great move and made sense on a now and later level when you look at who the C’s got in the draft.

But the big drama is just getting started, so let’s get in to it with last year’s star who is returning for a second season, and yes – his story line is starting to get a little ridiculous.

Dwight Howard Forgot To Take His Crazy Pills

So he decided, on his own, that he was going to stay in Orlando and play out the rest of his contract or get traded at next season’s deadline. The Magic fired my absolute boy, Stan Van Gundy, in the hopes that Dwight would see this as a sign that the team intends to do everything in it’s power to build the organization in the likeness of something he would see fit to grace with his presence. Both parties, knowing full well that he was probably gone at the end of the upcoming season, were in agreement on this. It was like a couple deciding to get back together just to end out the lease on their apartment with the realization that nothing would change and even after some great performances (sexually in the couple’s case and a few 40/20 nights in Dwight’s) the two would part ways under the guise of staying friends and the garbage line of “It was mutual.”

Now Dwight Howard is saying that he was blackmailed, which is something a complete lunatic would say. How he got “blackmail” out of a conference call in which the Orlando GM said that if Howard didn’t waive his early termination clause he would be traded, is beyond the realm of comphrehension of anyone who doesn’t stand on their porch in their underwear every morning – hate-speaking the local robin population.

In Dwight Howard’s convoluted mind, the Magic blackmailed him because they dared to entertain the notion that they could trade him to a team he didn’t want to play for. Imagine the balls on them to think that they could trade a player who was contractually theirs, to whatever team they saw fit.

No matter what happens, he will eventually end up in Brooklyn. Whether that’s after a quick stop in Houston or after a dinner date in Los Angeles, it’s basically a foregone conclusion. The Magic will exhibit him to the potential suitors in what one can only imagine will be something along the lines of The Bachelor. Complete with a televised special in which hopefully Howard will present the winning team with a rose. Hopefully the Nets win because I can’t imagine what kind of murder scene Prokhorov would create. It would be like that quote from man on fire:

“Creasy’s (Prokhorov’s) art is death…and he’s about to paint his masterpiece.”

In all seriousness, the thought of Howard going to Los Angeles (which Adrian Wojo-whatever the hell is name is has been reporting as an actual possibility) is absolutely terrifying.

Although Howard isn’t AS polished on the offensive end as Bynum, he’s head and shoulders above him in every other aspect of playing the center position. Kobe would actually be able to reach Howard, and I think there would be a lot more trust down low than with Andrew Bynum. Who we all know has the tendency to take some plays games off.

Suprisingly, Ray Allen may be a Celtic after all

It almost seemed a foregone conclusion that Ray was going to take his talents to South Beach, effectively ending hope for anybody in the East – not named Derrick Rose – for the next few years.

The things Ray would be able to bring to the Miami offense would come not only in production and leadership, but in the form of the players he would sway to come to the Heat along with him. Allen is one of the most respected players in the league and his ability and work ethic are something that many free agents would see as a welcome addition to a team that had glaring deficiences in not only timely, outside shooting, but in the form of veteran leadership. Sorry, Juwan Howard, I never bought it.

Mike Miller may have shot great when it mattered, but the guy can barely move. And James Jones, the other Miami marksman, has been contemplating retirement because of the severity of the cramps he gets. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Allen would be able to give the Heat basically the best shooter of all time. LeBron would be able to drive, have the defense collapse, and not have to kick to a guy who looks like he’s detoxing from heroin. Instead, he’d be dishing to the all time three point champion.

But Ray may not be spreading the Miami offense anytime soon. The Celtics are ready to offer him much more than the mid level exception that Miami can give. And it makes sense. The Celtics are in the market for an outside scorer, and Allen is one of the best in the business. Nevermind the fact that he’s an established part of the team, community and fan base. A name that people know, that they trust and more importantly – that Doc and the Celtics trust.

There is the Rondo friction that needs to be worked on and Ray is going to need to get on board with the fact that Avery Bradley is the starting shooting guard, but Allen has said that a championship is his #1 priority. And we all know who that he’s going to be closing out games.

This is just the natural evolution in the career of a shooter. As you older, you sacrifice the defense and save your legs at the start of games – in many cases that means coming off the bench. Then you’re fresh at the end of games. With enough legs left to still hit the dagger.

That is the player Ray Allen has to realize he is now. If he can do that, then the Celtics will once again be a top contender as long as they get a few more pieces to the proverbial puzzle.

And if for some reason he decides to sign with Memphis then all hope is not lost. As weak as this class may be, the position of off the bench scorer is suprisingly well represented with guys like Jamal Crawford, OJ Mayo, Nick Young and Landry Fields all available.

Still, make no mistake about it, the Celtics want Ray Allen back. Doc is so confident about it that he called it a “stretch” that Ray would play anywhere else this year. Let’s hope the shore up that deal soon so they can focus on filling some other holes.

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