July 23, 2002

Can Baker Make a Comeback in Boston?:
Vin Baker is starting over in Boston with the Celtics, after a trade that nobody in Boston likes, and this piece at NESN.com implies that Coach Jim O'Brien isn't happy about the deal, either. And the SportsGuy absolutely hates the deal. Meanwhile, a much more mature Kenny Anderson looks ahead to his new job as Gary Payton's back-up. And he pretty much thinks the C's made a big mistake.

I agree with the BSG. I think this deal stinks for the C's. What about you?

posted by Conquistador to basketball at 06:42 PM - 5 comments

O'Brien's in a really terrible situation. Gaston wasn't going to allow Wallace to resign Rogers; the Celtics were looking at starting next season without Rogers and Strickland, two key components of the run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Given Gaston's reluctance to pay the luxury tax, I think Wallace made an acceptable move. The Celtics are worse off without Anderson, but a motivated Baker will help a lot in the low post. The gamble is two-fold: first, Baker needs to get motivated. Second, someone has to step up big time at the point. This is where allowing Auerbach to override Wallace on the Joe Forte pick really kills. Wallace wanted Tony Parker. I can only dream of how great that would be right now. On the other hand, standing still would mean Anderson would be gone after next year with no compensation and Boston would be competing in the free agent market. That's not a winning proposition for the boys in green. Boston is a chilly city with a reputation for racial tension. They'd have slipped a notch without Rogers and Strickland next year. Thus, Kidd and Duncan aren't gonna go to Boston by choice. And -- most important -- Gaston isn't going to pay luxury tax. Put all that together, and you get a situation where you have to take a risk to get three All-Stars together on the team. I wouldn't be happy about it if I were O'Brien, but I'd be unhappy because of the factors that forced the trade. The problem isn't Vin Baker, the problem is Gaston's reluctance to pay for anything better.

posted by Bryant at 06:59 PM on July 23

In a side comment which I will post separately cause it has nothing to do with deal analysis... it's such a shame Kenny's getting used as pure cap fodder; after last year's performance, he deserves better. I wish they'd been able to trade him to a team that actually needs his not insignificant skills. I'll miss watching him on the Celtics.

posted by Bryant at 07:01 PM on July 23

I don't know if it will hurt the C's. They are a two man team, trying to find a constant third scorer. Pierce and Walker will carry you so far. Give them an option and maybe you win a series, but with the Lakers all but given the titles for the next couple of years, why bother? Maybe a deal to ship Baker back to Milwaukee and somehow get Robinson to play out East? As for the PG problem, I'm not so sure something can't be made for a deal later with Dallas, say a T. Hardaway or a J. Vaughn of Utah to bring back a Kansas connection if at all possible?

posted by brent at 10:06 PM on July 23

Haha! I think the trade is GREAT! Oh, I live in Seattle. Six years ago or whatever we thought we had pulled a huge coup getting the chronic malcontent Shawn Kemp out of town as part of the three way deal that brought us Vinnie (the third component was Terrel Brandon going from Cleveland to Milwaukee). The first year here Vinnie showed such promise. Then two years later when his contract was up and he demanded the maximum, there was some spirited discussion in Seattle about it but the consensus seemed to be he was worth it. And he of course turned out to lay a big fat turd. Glad to see you go fat boy. If there's one thing I won't tolerate, its a guy who doesn't bring his lunch pail with him when he comes to the job. Maybe the Garden will rekindle his fire, but I just don't think he's mean enough, and you's guys didn't take a step closer to the promised land.

posted by vito90 at 10:49 PM on July 23

As a Celtics fan who has been watching religiously through the last three or four years, this trade hurts. What the Celtics need to trade is their owner. Instead of putting together a long-term plan to build a team, he's going to keep retooling every off-season to avoid the luxury tax. Now they're stuck with the Corpse of Vin Baker for years. At least they drafted well the last decade or so. Sigh.

posted by yerfatma at 06:52 AM on July 24

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