Jerry Ballgame is back with some more observations and random thoughts. This week he covers the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots as he discusses the “Big Three,” the Red Sox off-season “plans” and a possible Super Bowl rematch. Enjoy!
Unlocking the Gyms
Those of us fortunate enough to live in a large, multi-sport market can be forgiven for having totally ignored the NBA lockout. But now, despite one of the most provocative autumns in New England sports history, we turn our not so lonely eyes to the Celtics, and ponder the age old question of what’s to become of the “Big Three”.
A kinder, gentler, shorter season of 50 games or so might have been benefitted the aging legs of Paul Pierce (34), Kevin Garnett (35), and Ray Allen (36). A more frantic 66 game season with a substantial number of back-to-back games (not to mention a few back-to-back-to back games) makes it difficult to believe that the team as constructed would survive. So who leaves? Pierce is definitely a Celtic lifer; Garnett’s $21.2 million contract makes him untradeable, thus leaving Allen and his $10 million, as the most likely candidate. Granted it’ll take just the right situation, and it’s questionable what they can get in return, but standing pat is a mistake they shouldn’t make again.
There are two interesting reports floating about as I write this regarding the Green’s backcourt. One relates to Allen Iverson being interested in coming to Boston and the other has Rajon Rondo leaving the Hub. Not sure what the 36 year old Iverson has left in the tank, but it would seem to, on paper at least, make some sense if you are anticipating trading Allen. As for Rondo, reports stated that the C’s would entertain offers for him. Now, entertaining offers and being serious about trading someone can be two totally different things, but it makes some sense as he is probably their youngest and most valuable asset. I’m sure there would be interest out there.
The question remains, then as to whether they are hoping to remain competitive or are rebuilding for the future? After the bewildering move of trading Kendrick Perkins last season in the middle of the playoff drive, I’m really unsure as to what the answer is. The only thing I am sure of is that they have two weeks to get ready and six players under contract. Danny Ainge had better get busy.
Rearranging Deck Chairs:
I had expected by this point to have put the Titanic comparison beneath us, and be in the middle of dissecting the moves the Red Sox had made for their 2012 season. They should have signed Bobby Valentine as their manager weeks ago so that they could have made decisions regarding a closer and free agents. Instead, they found themselves in what was either a power struggle, or a communications outage, with little progress being made. Instead, they seem to be in the midst of either a power struggle or major communications outage, with little progress being made. I realize that John Henry’s in England, but I’m pretty sure they have phones there. I understand that the Sox have been burned by free agency before, but the field seems a bit thin this year, and they definitely have needs, so let’s make some decisions. In the end they’ll likely just go with Daniel Bard as the closer. I’m not convinced he has the right make up for the job, but to not do it will look like a lack of confidence in him that he may not recover from.
Super Bowl Prediction:
Patriots 34 Packers 24. I realize that’s quite the leap, especially when not too long ago I wasn’t sure they were even going make the playoffs, but things change. First of all, their defense is starting to feel like the 2001 edition that had a nice combination of young, coachable talent and versatile veterans. Also, although they seem to do a great deal of bending, they don’t break a lot, and they have developed a talent for accumulating takeaways; important traits for a defense. In addition, there does not seem to be a dominant team in the AFC, so their chances of making it to the “Show” seems decidedly improved. Yes, I know they lost badly to the Steelers, but I see that as a bit of a fluke (the same way they blasted the Jets last year) and feel they could beat them in a home playoff game.
In my scenario, I see the Packers making it to the big game undefeated. There are two approaches to undefeated seasons; one is to go for it as the Pats did in ’07, the other is to avoid it, and “rest players”, as the Colts did in ’09. The Pats ran out of gas just short of their goal, the Colts lost their momentum. I see the Packers going for it, with the Pats this time getting to play the part of the spoilers.
As I said, it’s my scenario, just remember where you heard it first.
Big Three image courtesy of: http://www.betbigdc.com
Valentine image courtesy of: Kyodo News/AP
Bledsoe/Favre image courtesy of: JOHN GAPS III | AP
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