Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about the NBA and the Boston Celtics.
Forsberg has been reporting on the Boston sports scene since 1999. With his video camera in tow, Forsberg covered everything from Massachusetts high school sports to Boston's pro sports teams. Follow him at his Celtics blog.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Monday at noon ET!
Chris Forsberg (11:59 AM)
Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for dropping by for another Monday chat. I wish we were still talking about games rather than eulogizing the season, but it was another fun ride. Let's dive into your questions...
jeremy (boston) [via mobile]
what are we going to do about our center? And what do you think the C's need to be a finals contender?
Chris Forsberg (12:04 PM)
So here's how I look at it: It's likely Jermaine O'Neal will be back for the second year of that mid-level exception ($6.2 million) and, so long as he can stay healthy, he played well enough at the end of the year to be your starter if the Celtics can't get younger at that position in the offseason. The team can spend a little extra than it might like and retain Nenad Krstic and he's clearly got potential to slide into the starting lineup if JO gets injured. Heck, I still wouldn't rule out one more (limited playing time) rodeo from Shaq. But whether it's this offseason or next, the Celtics have to find a young athletic center. One (unlikely) scenario I'd like to see play out: The C's split the mid-level this year (if it still exists) and try to overpay for DeAndre Jordan. Clippers, with plenty of cap space, would be likely to match.
Ralph , colton, california [via mobile]
Is it possible the celtics will go after Dwight Howard?
Chris Forsberg (12:06 PM)
My gut tells me if the Magic don't feel like they're in position to contend at any point next year, they're likely to try to trade him and get something back (just like the Nuggets did with Carmelo). But if did make it through to free agency, I don't see why Boston wouldn't be a player in that sweepstakes next offseason. They'll have plenty of money and a favorable situation with Doc Rivers as coach and Rondo and Pierce still around. Depends on what else is out there for Howard.
Why didn't Doc play rookie Avery Bradley much this season?
Chris Forsberg (12:09 PM)
In addition to being a 19-year-old rookie, Bradley got out of the gates slow with the ankle injury. It was tough to play catch-up on a veteran team. He showed great defensive potential during those glimpses, but clearly it's his offense they need to bring along. I still think he's got potential to be a quality Delonte West-like combo guard. I wouldn't be surprised if they give him a little more responsibility this year. No need for another Carlos Arroyo-type third-string backup, let Bradley handle those reps.
Gary (Tampa, Fl)
Can you explain what tendering Jeff Green a contract offer means? I think it has some ramifications if/when other teams pursue him, but I'm not sure exactly? Thanks!
Chris Forsberg (12:13 PM)
Let me lean on Larry Coon's CBA FAQ here...
When another team wants to sign a restricted free agent, it signs the player to an offer sheet, the principal terms of which the original team is given seven days to match. The offer sheet must be for at least two seasons (not including option years). If the player's prior team also submitted a maximum qualifying offer, then the offer sheet must be for at least three seasons (not including option years). If the player's original team exercises its right of first refusal by matching the principal terms of the offer sheet, the player is then under contract to his original team. If the player's original team does not exercise its right of first refusal within seven days, the offer sheet becomes an official contract with the new team.
... So essentially, Boston will likely offer a minimum qualifying offer ($5.9 million). If a team wants to swoop in, it's going to have to offer a longer-term deal with more money and Boston can match. So unless someone throws an outrageous amount of money at Green, I'd expect Boston to bring him back at the qualifying offer.
Cameron (Greensboro, NC)
The C's need to get more athletic and add quickness next year. Do you really think Jeff Green will start next year? If he does, who will be our 6th man?
Chris Forsberg (12:15 PM)
I don't think Green starts. I think they find 30 minutes for him by playing backup spots at the 3 and 4 (particularly if Glen Davis elects to sign elsewhere). There's no reason to mess with the starting lineup, in my mind.
Dee (Mountain View Ca)
Chris...Of the Celtics free agents, I believe they need to let Glen Davis go and resign D West. Which would mean they either need to draft or sign as a free agent, a 4/5. Preferablly young and athletic. I am assuming they would resign Jeff Green as a restricted, so they would have backup at the wing, point and depth at the 5. Thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (12:18 PM)
I'm with you for the most part. The Celtics have to hope it's a quiet market for Delonte West and they can bring him back at reasonable money (a minimum deal or slightly more using non-Bird Rights -- all that, of course, depending on how a new CBA works).
As for Davis, as much as I think a separation might be good for both sides, I do wonder if the Celtics are so handcuffed that they'll have to explore the possibility of keeping Big Baby and simply hoping that maturity kicks in. Let's remember, he was fantastic for the first half of the season. Then he started over-thinking everything and his play tumbled. Remember, too, no one spent more time with the Big Four than Davis. There's something to be said for that experience.
Jake Romano (Reading)
Hi Chris, in your opinion, what free agent (not including celtics) would give the celtics the biggest boost. Although free agency is up in the air because of the lockout looming, do you think a legitimate athlete like JR Smith would be better, or signing a center like Chandler or Dalembert would be more beneficial?
Chris Forsberg (12:22 PM)
Dalembert's price tag is obviously going to fall as that big-money deal ends, but I'm not sure he's the young (he'll be 31) type this team needs. I don't see Smith settling for the mid-level, especially not the short-term length Boston will seek to maintain financial flexibility after next season. And Chandler has priced himself out. For the second straight year, Boston is probably left hoping that aging vets in search of a title are wooed by the low-money deals Boston has to offer.
Dan (Glens Falls)
Chris Do you see the Celtics making a major trade this offseason or just a couple of tweaks via free agency? Thanks
Chris Forsberg (12:24 PM)
Initially, I suspect minor moves with the goal of infusing some sort of young, athletic bodies. But I wouldn't be surprised if this team had the same exact top 8 or 9 next season. Again, roster flexibility has been huge for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and I don't think he'll sacrifice that.
quentin (morgantown, wv)
do you think there is a realistic chance at all for a deep run at banner 18 next year?
Chris Forsberg (12:27 PM)
I'll drink the Kool-Aid a bit and say yes. But that being said, the Celtics need to find a way to harness the sort of basketball they played over the first half of last season. And, yes, part of that was health, but it also comes down to Boston's bench not disappearing in the postseason. If Boston gets a little more out of Davis and Green, coupled with what West did provide in the Miami series, that's as good as anyone can trot out for your top 8 players.
Noorpaul (Covina, CA)
even if its a good contract, can the Celtics resign Glen Davis, or would he want to leave to be a starter elsewhere?
Chris Forsberg (12:29 PM)
That'll be dictated by the market for Davis. If it's even money and there's a starting role elsewhere, I think he'll be tempted. But honestly, I think it's not a bad situation for Davis to continue coming off the bench, not have to be a star-type player, and then see what kind of role is available here when the roster overhaul happens after next season.
With much of the Celtics' struggles coming on offense and Lawrence Frank potentially leaving, would the Celtics consider hiring an assistant with more of an offensive slant?
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
It's a good thought. The Celtics have had Thibodeau and Frank as defensive-minded top assistants during the Big Three era. I think they like that, but that shouldn't stop the team from hiring maybe someone that's known more from their offense. The one name your sure to hear whispers about is Larry Brown, a close friend with Doc Rivers, who actually came this.close to being the top assistant before Thibs took the job.
Zain (Merced, CA)
Chris, what do you make of Hollinger's piece on the "Perkins Effect" on OKC?
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
As a bit of a stats nerd, it's hard to argue with the numbers. Of course, I'd like to see the numbers extended out over a longer period because it's such a short sample size to focus on one series.
Case in point: Paul Pierce was a combined minus-26 over the final two games of the Miami series. Could he have done more? Of course, but he was merely on the floor when Miami made late-game runs to pull away. In the end it comes down to the eyeball test.
Hey Chris! I hear Danny is working on a few different scenarios depending on the future labor landscape. That said, I know the Draft is in June and CBA expires in July, so assuming there is a lockout, can you give us the windows in which the Celts could be looking to make deals?
Chris Forsberg (12:40 PM)
Use the NFL as the template. You'll have the NBA draft in late June and, after that, it's going to get real quiet. Before free agency can open in early July, the owners are likely to lock out the players without a new CBA in place, effectively stopping all business activity.
All of which is to say, besides the draft, don't expect any sort of activity unless it's an unforeseen retirement (and even then, the player would likely wait out the summer to see how this potential lockout plays out). Once an agreement is reached, then offseason activity can resume with free agency.
Dave Nichol (Framingham, MA)
Hey Chris, in your eyes, who was the biggest surprise this year and who was the biggest disappointment based on preseason expectations? Thanks
Chris Forsberg (12:42 PM)
Biggest surprise? Maybe Big Baby's leap at the start of the year. A charge-taking machine who played starter's minutes with all the injuries. His own struggles were a disappointment late in the year, but I felt a lot of players had an awful Miami series. Pierce had the ejection and the Achilles injury early on; KG looked positively gassed after that monster Game 3. The offensive breakdowns in Game 4. The lack of any fight as Miami made its run in Game 5. Give Miami credit, as they're showing, that's a heck of a team. But Boston picked a rough time to really endure some struggles and it wasn't limited to one player.
Hi Chris, Jackie Mac recently said KG was especially frustrated with how the season ended against the Heat and that she could see him retiring. Would you be shocked at all if he decides to call it quits?
Chris Forsberg (12:46 PM)
I thought if the Celtics accomplished their goal and won Banner 18 that a handful of these guys (Shaq, JO, KG) would call it a career. There's a lot of miles on the tires for all of those guys and not sure it would have been worthwhile to go through the grind again when they could have gone out on top. But with Doc and the core back, I do see KG giving it another go. He played so well at times, I think he's got more basketball in him. He just had a rough end to that series with Boston leaning heavy on him.
The only person that thinks Shaq will play next season is his mother. What's your take on the likelihood of him returning in Celtics green?
Chris Forsberg (12:48 PM)
Well, then it's me and Shaq's mom leading the bandwagon. I don't see any reason why he doesn't at least wait it out a few months here, see how the Achilles responds, then make a decision. And if the Celtics put the band back together, why wouldn't O'Neal consider it? Again, it comes down to health. And, if that Achilles doesn't respond, there's no sense going through the frustrating work to not be able to play. But team doctors all along said the best medicine for Shaq is time. Well, we don't know when the next time there will be basketball after June, so let's give this some time.
Do you think the C's will try to package a player and the 25th pick for a better pick? Who do you think that player will be?
Chris Forsberg (12:50 PM)
I think it's more likely the Celtics try to use that No. 1 pick obtained in the Green/Krstic deal to parlay it into something (and it might not even be until next year). But I don't see the No. 25 pick being of much value in what's being dubbed a weak draft.
Cameron (Greensboro, NC)
Chris--- I think Doc is an excellent coach. One fault I find with him is that he does not lean or trust lesser experienced players with quality playing time. How can they mature and develop when their minutes are limited?
Chris Forsberg (12:51 PM)
No doubt, I think even he'd admit with these rosters loaded with veteran talent, it's been very hard for Doc to lean on the younger players. But if Boston is truly committed to getting younger and more athletic, at some point you just gotta throw these young guys in the fire. That doesn't mean starting Avery Bradley, it simply means giving him consistent minutes, even if he goes through struggles at times.
Realistically, what can we get for Big Baby? Darrell Arthur for Big Baby would be great!
Chris Forsberg (12:54 PM)
As an unrestricted free agent, I don't see why any team would want to do a sign-and-trade. I think it's either Davis comes back, or C's let him walk.
Ahlaker (Calgary, Canada)
What do you think the odds are of Rondo coming back next season with a reliable jumper?
Chris Forsberg (12:55 PM)
For all the chatter about Rondo's jumper, he was pretty good from 16-to-23 feet this season. It'll surely be a focus, but he proved that he can make teams pay with that shot. More consistency there certainly will aid matters.
Is there anyone who can contribute right away available to us in the draft?
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
If you can find an athletic big with a penchant for rebounding, I think they could wiggle themselves into the rotation. Likewise, any player than shows the potential for instant offense can help this team.
Glen Davis (Boston, MA)
SET ME FREE! I've grown too big for Boston's britches, so to speak...
Chris Forsberg (12:57 PM)
I know Davis wants to be a star in this league, but he's got a good situation here. I wonder if he'll regret it if he does chase more money or a starting role elsewhere.
Tony (Santa Barbara, CA)
My suggestion for the Celtics is to scrap everyone but rookies, Rondo, and Pierce. Do you agree?
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
Just wait a year, it's called the 2011-12 season.
Mike (Fairfield, CT)
Chris, what would be your vision today of how the C's will divide up minutes next season. Assuming for a moment the season will not be lockout shortened (although it seems like a virtual certainty) would they look to play the big three maybe only 20-30 minutes a night and rest on the second night of a back to back? Could you ever envision a scenario where Pierce would come off the bench? I like the idea of reduced minutes for these guys, but it comes at a cost. It would be an even tougher road to the finals from the 5 or 6 seed.
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
I think if they can drive all of their starters minutes down across the board, that'd be good. Get the Big Three down to 30 minutes per night (lean on Jeff Green more), get Rondo down to 35 minutes per night (lean on someone like Delonte West more) and keep JO manageable (Krstic thrived with more minutes). Again, that assumes they can keep Green, West, and Krstic, but you get the point.
Rashad McCants (D-League)
What about me? I'm a proven scorer in this league. I've played with KG. I just need guidance and the Celtics have that. Would the Celtics sign me?
Chris Forsberg (1:01 PM)
Didn't happen last year; hard to imagine it happening now.
Player X (?????)
All this talk about potential bench players no one has mentioned me yet as a possible suitor for the Celtics... I would be great coming off the bench. Of course... you'll never know who I am. Bwahahahahahaaaa!!
Chris Forsberg (1:02 PM)
Well played as always, Player X.
Mike (Fairfield, CT)
Chris, How often can we look forward to these chats during the off-season? This has become the highlight of my workweek.
Chris Forsberg (1:03 PM)
If there's an interest, we'll do them once every two weeks or so, depending on what's going on around the team. We'll ramp up the chats when there's activity and scale 'em back if it gets quiet this summer. Humbled that this is the highlight of anyone's week.
Mike (New York)
Why do you come back to the Avalanche for 2 games this year. I thought you were done, and I was right.
Chris Forsberg (1:04 PM)
Dude, Forsbergs never retire.
Chris Forsberg (1:07 PM)
But we do retire these chats. Tons of great questions this week. I couldn't even get to them all. Maybe we will have to do these chats more often during the offseason. Thanks again to everyone for hanging out. Let's do it again real soon. And thanks to everyone for dropping by. Keep the questions coming in the C's mailbag (http://es.pn/celtsbag) and we'll keep you posted on upcoming chats.