Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by bobheckler on Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:58 pm

Will,

Boston.com is a site that offers limited access unless you buy the Globe.  Would it be possible for you to copy-and-paste the text here for board members who do not live in the Boston area and have no reason to subscribe to the Globe?  

Thanks.


bob


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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by mulcogiseng on Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:25 pm

By John Karalis 7:46 AM
COMMENTARY

On Dec. 8, 2010, Steph Curry rolled his ankle in a game against the San Antonio Spurs… yada yada yada… Kyrie Irving is a Celtic.

So few things happen in a vacuum in professional sports, especially in a league where there can be so much player movement. Every team in the NBA has to operate with a plan in mind and, if they’re good, have the willingness to adjust when something out of the ordinary happens. Plans can change on a dime.

Curry had ankle surgery in the summer of 2011 and again in 2012. Everyone knew he was getting pretty good, but those ankles were a big enough concern that he agreed to a four-year deal worth just $44 million in 2013, and even that had some people wondering if the Warriors made too big a commitment to someone with bad wheels.

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We know how good Curry is now. We also know that even with the massive salary cap spike last summer, Kevin Durant was only able to sign with Golden State because Curry was entering a year in which he made $12 million.

A super team was born and all but maybe one or two teams saw their timelines change. Boston was building its newest contender with Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas when it happened. Adding Hayward was a major step in that direction but the prospect of getting good-but-not-good-enough was suddenly staring Danny Ainge in the face.

Which brings us to today.

When Ainge talks about the Celtics’ timeline, he’s talking about an adjusted timeline that shifted in the wake of the Warriors. Instead of building a team to get past Cleveland and fight for a championship now, the Celtics have created a roster that will still be good, but will be better suited for when the Warriors start to fall apart.

Here’s where it’s important to understand some things about the Collective Bargaining Agreement when looking timelines and why Boston made this trade.

The NBA operates with a “soft cap.” The team salary cap this season is $99 million but teams can go over it in certain instances to sign or re-sign players. In an effort to keep rich teams from buying all the good players, there’s a luxury tax on rosters above $119 million. The rate at which a team is taxed goes up as the payroll does. On top of that, teams that have paid the luxury tax in three of the past four seasons get taxed at an even higher rate (you can dive into the minutia of all that here if you’d like).

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So the aforementioned Warriors payroll this year will be over $138 million, but they’ll ultimately be spending about $181 million after taxes. As currently constituted, they’ll spend $244 million next season when the repeater tax kicks in, and then, according to ESPN, it could get much, much worse.


Even when playoff money and other income is factored in, that’s too much money to spend on a team. Decisions have to be made.

Kevin Durant can opt out after this season. Klay Thompson is a free agent after next season. Draymond Green’s and Andre Iguodala’s contracts are up the year after that. The unbeatable Warriors won’t be a super-team for much longer. Players will walk away or get traded, and it will start happening relatively soon.

The Celtics, meanwhile, will be hitting a nice stride right about when contractual dynamics start to break up the greatest NBA team ever assembled. In two years, Al Horford will be 33 and in the last year of his contract. Gordon Hayward will be 29 and smack in the middle of his prime. Irving will 27 and just entering his. Key players like Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum will be 25, 22, and 21 respectively.

So the Celtics are building a team that is built to grow into a contender in a couple of years and make a serious run at the NBA title when Cleveland and Golden State theoretically start to decline.

But wait, there’s more!

Boston will ultimately face those same financial pressures, but not for a while. Their competition in the East (Cleveland, Washington, Toronto) will face those pressures sooner than Boston, and the C’s might be able to push money issues off even further with some roster moves.

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Irving will be 27 when he can opt out of his contract and get a five-year deal from Boston. Assuming they give him that deal, they’ll have Irving locked up through 32-years-old to lead a team that suddenly features Smart, Brown, and Tatum just hitting their own primes as well as a very good player selected with the Lakers/Sacramento pick acquired in the Tatum/Fultz deal and, maybe, some decent young role players in Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yasbusele, and Daniel Theis.

In three years, Tatum, Ojeleye, Yabusele, Theis, and the unnamed 2018 or 2019 pick will all still be on their rookie deals. That means there is a good possibility of the Celtics, just like they had with Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, could have some good young contributors making much less than they should.

This all means the timeline Ainge is talking about isn’t just about the next couple of years and trying to pounce in the post-Warriors era. It involves seven years of Irving, after which he’ll be turning 33 and Isaiah Thomas could be heading into retirement (or already a year or so into a TV gig).

There’s no doubt Ainge paid a premium to trade for Irving. He admits the price was high, especially in summer that saw Jimmy Butler and Paul George go for much less in return. But that high price bought the Celtics a few extra years of potential greatness at the point guard position while opening minutes for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to grow into their roles. When looking at this current Celtics timeline and sliding Kyrie Irving into one of the lead roles, it’s clear Ainge is making a big bet on a sustained, long-term run of very good Celtics teams.
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by willjr on Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:10 pm

BobH, just now seeing your post. Mulcogiseng, thanks for stepping up! Basketball
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by Shamrock1000 on Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:33 am

Not sure one can really plan that far ahead in the NBA. Too much can happen between then and now. But it does sound smart...

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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by BleedGreen on Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:56 am

A timeline with Thomas, Hayward and Horford making 29-33 mil each, AB over 18 mil, Smart over 14 mil and no 3-4 vet big man to allow Tatum and Semi to ease their way in slowly (like Morris and his 2/10.5 contract does) was going to be too expensive come 2018-19 for a team that was not going to win it all that year.

It would be looking even more expensive than the Warriors of this coming year in terms of salaries. Add Jae, Tatum, Brown and either 2 top 10 picks or 1 top 10 pick and Rozier and that is a 155 mil roster paying a crazy amount of lux tax and even more of it in 2019-20.

Then that summer when Hayward can opt out for a 5 year deal the C's would likely be just about to reap the benefits of guys like Brown and Tatum becoming stars at the same time IT was 31 and unable to perform like he did this season. What they'd gain with the Tatum and Brown incline they'd lose with the IT and Horford decline only AFTER paying crazy taxes for a non-title team and Al will be a FA as well.

Now the C's owners only have to worry about crazy cash owed when extending a 27 year old Kyrie the summer before that above scenario goes down and the hope is they'll be ready to dethrone the Warriors by 2019-20 with only Horford entering his age 33 season a final one of his contract an age decline related concern and not Al and IT.
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by mrkleen09 on Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:37 am

The Celtics, meanwhile, will be hitting a nice stride right about when contractual dynamics start to break up the greatest NBA team ever assembled.

stopped reading right there Rolling Eyes
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by worcester on Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:38 pm

"Ever"

That word covers a lot of territory. Better to stick to decades. Some of those 60's Celtics teams were fore sure the best of that decade.
70's? Meh.
86 Celtics team couldvwell have been the best team ever, but for sure it was the best of the 80's.
When did Scotty, MJ, and the worm win 72 games - in 1996? That was the best team of that decade, for sure.
2007-8 Celtics was pretty damn great IMHO, best of that decade.
2017 Warriors - best of this decade so far, I will give them that. Best ever? C'mon man!
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by BleedGreen on Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:55 pm

The author cannot speak in absolutes like that about 'best ever' for sure.

But the Warriors did just win the most regular season games ever over a 3 year stretch of all-time, won two titles with a 73 win season and 3-1 finals lead sandwiched in the middle and then subbed out Harrison Barnes for Durant and went 16-1 in the postseason.

The stats are pretty hard to dispute, even if I think the '86 Celtics, '87 Lakers and '96 Bulls were better. They've jumped the '72 Lakers, '83 and '67 Sixers, '92 Bulls, '84 and '08 Celtics in my opinion. Those are my top 10 teams of all-time.

60's Celtics remain the NBA's greatest dynasty ever. Followed by the 90's Bulls and 80's Lakers. It will be hard for this GS team to get into that top 3 but not impossible.
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by dboss on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:06 pm

3 years in the life of an NBA player can turn into dog years.  KI is the younger player with more upside.

The timeline basically gives Boston a great opportunity to be competitive over a longer period of time.  

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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by swish on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:37 pm

Speaking of potential - how about the wolves ?


Led by Towns.

http://bkref.com/tiny/xqKDq

swish


Last edited by swish on Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:15 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add on)

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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by dboss on Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:30 pm

swish wrote:Speaking of potential - how about the wolves ?


 Led by Towns.

  http://bkref.com/tiny/xqKDq

     swish

Wolves are definitely an up and coming team.  Philly will be an up and coming team as well but rhey do not have that veteran elite player like Butler or Hayward.

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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by BleedGreen on Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:44 am

swish wrote:Speaking of potential - how about the wolves ?


 Led by Towns.

  http://bkref.com/tiny/xqKDq

     swish

Towns is no Shaq. That's meant with no disrespect, they just don't have similar offensive games. Towns has more of a Tim Duncan offensive skill set. Timmy was a 21.1p/11.9r and .549 eFG% his age 21 season (rookie year not year 2 like Shaq's and Towns) so he just missed the stats cut.

Towns is not nearly the defender either of those two guys was and leans heavily on Dieng to protect the rim. But despite that minor flaw he is definitely one of the top 5 players in the NBA you'd want if you could choose anybody and is far and away a better building block than the similar aged guys Boston has in Tatum and Brown. The Wolves are a very lucky franchise.
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by bobheckler on Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:49 am

BleedGreen wrote:
swish wrote:Speaking of potential - how about the wolves ?


 Led by Towns.

  http://bkref.com/tiny/xqKDq

     swish

Towns is no Shaq. That's meant with no disrespect, they just don't have similar offensive games. Towns has more of a Tim Duncan offensive skill set. Timmy was a 21.1p/11.9r and .549 eFG% his age 21 season (rookie year not year 2 like Shaq's and Towns) so he just missed the stats cut.

Towns is not nearly the defender either of those two guys was and leans heavily on Dieng to protect the rim. But despite that minor flaw he is definitely one of the top 5 players in the NBA you'd want if you could choose anybody and is far and away a better building block than the similar aged guys Boston has in Tatum and Brown. The Wolves are a very lucky franchise.


Bleed,

That's not luck. That's 12 straight years of consistently ending up with a lottery pick because they suck. You have to go back to 2004 for Minny to not have a lottery pick (they had no first round picks 2000 - 2004). 12 years of having the pick of each litter and it's just now, with a veteran superstar like Butler, that they now might have a shot at a playoff berth. Would they have that shot if Dunn and LaVine were still there? No. If that's "lucky", then thanks but no thanks. I'd rather have the logo and the ginger-haired acrobat, like we have, than that kind of "Lucky".

The reason why Minny has a shot at a playoff berth, in the tougher WC, is precisely because they have Butler. Butler will win games for them. He will put the team on his back in the 4th quarter and get the job done. Which veteran will do that for Philly? Amir Johnson? JJ Redick? Neither of them are big-gamers, and I say that with all due respect to Amir, who is a true trencherman, but isn't "the man".


bob


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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by dboss on Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:13 am

Minny is ahead of Philly not just because of Butler but also because Wiggins and Towns have been able to stay healthy while Philly guys like Embid, Okafor and Simmons have not.

The key observation that I was intending to make is that both are up and coming teams.

Butler is however the difference maker on a young team. Overall I think Philly has more pure talent but less experience.

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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by BleedGreen on Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:36 pm

bobheckler wrote:
BleedGreen wrote:
swish wrote:Speaking of potential - how about the wolves ?


 Led by Towns.

  http://bkref.com/tiny/xqKDq

     swish

Towns is no Shaq. That's meant with no disrespect, they just don't have similar offensive games. Towns has more of a Tim Duncan offensive skill set. Timmy was a 21.1p/11.9r and .549 eFG% his age 21 season (rookie year not year 2 like Shaq's and Towns) so he just missed the stats cut.

Towns is not nearly the defender either of those two guys was and leans heavily on Dieng to protect the rim. But despite that minor flaw he is definitely one of the top 5 players in the NBA you'd want if you could choose anybody and is far and away a better building block than the similar aged guys Boston has in Tatum and Brown. The Wolves are a very lucky franchise.


Bleed,

That's not luck.  That's 12 straight years of consistently ending up with a lottery pick because they suck.  You have to go back to 2004 for Minny to not have a lottery pick (they had no first round picks 2000 - 2004).  12 years of having the pick of each litter and it's just now, with a veteran superstar like Butler, that they now might have a shot at a playoff berth.  Would they have that shot if Dunn and LaVine were still there?  No.  If that's "lucky", then thanks but no thanks.  I'd rather have the logo and the ginger-haired acrobat, like we have, than that kind of "Lucky".

The reason why Minny has a shot at a playoff berth, in the tougher WC, is precisely because they have Butler.  Butler will win games for them.  He will put the team on his back in the 4th quarter and get the job done.  Which veteran will do that for Philly?  Amir Johnson?  JJ Redick?  Neither of them are big-gamers, and I say that with all due respect to Amir, who is a true trencherman, but isn't "the man".

bob


I guess so, haha.

What I meant by luck is that you can have the #1 pick in years like this one that the C's traded out of, or that awful Anthony Bennett year, or the #1 pick when Towns or Anthony Davis is available. They were lucky enough to get the once every 3-4 years #1 pick superstar but yes being lotto bound by sucking every year is a sad sack situation.
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Re: Ainge, Irving & the title timeline

Post by dboss on Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:55 pm

Bleed

No doubt an element of luck exists else they could not call it a lottery.

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