Grab 'bag: Spurring hope?
A: No, the outcome won't sway Ainge one way or another. If the Celtics elect to keep this core together it will be because 1) Boston is hopeful that improved health gives them a better chance to be a contender and 2) it believes a roster overhaul will be easier next summer (or during the 2013-14 season if the wheels come off). That said, the Spurs' success this year sure makes it easier to sell your fan base on the "keep it together" model when you can note, "Hey, look what those old guys in San Antonio did this year!"
While I cringe a bit when people try to compare the Celtics' and Spurs' rosters, there's a case to be made that a well-coached, well-managed team can succeed with a familiar core surrounded by young talent. Boston has a similar situation, though it's no mirror image and the Spurs were most certainly healthier and deeper this season (at least they got more from their role players than Boston did for much of the year).
The Spurs' salary structure reminds us how important it is to draft right and make the right moves at the back end of the roster. While their own Big Three clog up the top of the salary totem pole (along with departed Stephen Jackson), no one else makes more than Boris Diaw at $4.5 million this season. The problem Boston has at the moment is that guys like Jason Terry and Courtney Lee are making $5 million per season and they were two of the biggest underperformers this past season. The optimist hopes that they are able to get back on track for the 2013-14 season; the pessimist wonders how Boston can even move those long-term deals in order to free space if they don't.
With limited resources this offseason, particularly if they elect to keep the band together, Boston has to really hit a home run with its available assets (whether that's the mini-midlevel, the bi-annual, or just minimum contracts). It reinforces how Boston must again get creative and determine whether its nonguaranteed deals might help land a more proven talent (something akin to the Courtney Lee swap last summer, but maybe with a less pricy return).
Your turn: Do the Spurs give Celtics' fans hope? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.
Play Podcast NFL Films' Greg Cosell covers the Cowboys' defense, Rob Gronkowski's impact, Darrelle Revis' performance last season, the Giants' talent level and the outlook for the Cardinals.
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Keith Law talk about the Tigers' acquisition of Joakim Soria and whether it's wise to trade within the division. Plus, Matt Gelb on the Phillies' plans.
Play Podcast Buster Olney talks to Marc Topkin about the Rays' plans with David Price. Plus, Jayson Stark on Price and the rest of the trade market as the trading deadline looms over MLB.
Play Podcast Patriots QB Tom Brady talks about donating to The V Foundation for Cancer Research and more.
Play Podcast FOX's Joe Buck discusses his memories of Derek Jeter, Jeter's final season, the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox and the rosters for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.
Play Podcast ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst weighs in on the Heat's reaction to LeBron James' departure, James' mindset regarding free agency, whether the Cavaliers should pursue Kevin Love and more.