Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Rapid Reaction: JET en route to Boston?
By Chris Forsberg
Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty ImagesRapid reaction as the Celtics neared an agreement with free agent shooting guard Jason Terry on a three-year deal at the full value of the mid-level exception:
It appears that Jason Terry will be coming in for a landing in Boston soon.
* Bench scorer secured: The Celtics have been desperate for a consistent bench scoring threat in recent seasons and Terry, the league's former Sixth Man of the Year, provides instant offense for Boston. In the five seasons since moving to a reserve role in Dallas, Terry has averaged 16.5 points per game. Terry isn't afraid to fire away from beyond the arc (he was third in 3-point attempts last season) and shoots 38 percent there for his career. Overall, he shoots 44.8 percent from the floor overall and provides the exact type of offensive boost that Boston desperately needed in the postseason last month.
* Doesn't mean Allen's gone: A knee-jerk reaction will be that Terry is Ray Allen insurance in case Allen elects to sign elsewhere. Quite the opposite, the Celtics positioned themselves to have the full mid-level available while still allowing them space to offer Allen the two-year, $12 million deal with the goal of keeping him away from the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, or any other suitor. Yes, there becomes a bit of a minute logjam, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has stressed a desire to limit the wear and tear on his veterans (a category to which both Allen and Terry -- and much of the roster -- would fall).
* Terry can facilitate the offense, too: Often overlooked by his point total is the fact that Terry has averaged 5 assists per game for his career and owns a 24.2 assist percentage for his career. The Celtics, who have often shunned a true backup point guard behind Rajon Rondo, can allow Terry to facilitate the second-unit offense without having a pure backup ball-handler take up a roster spot.
* The downsides?: The Celtics haven't been afraid to offer veterans long-term deals this summer (Garnett is 36 and just got three years, while Allen is 37 and is looking at a potential two-year offer). Terry will turn 35 before the start of next season and a three-year pact leaves Boston hoping his body holds up as well (fortunately, he's missed a mere 16 games in the past five seasons). It's not quite the youth movement some expected this summer from Boston, but it's hard to argue with Terry's offensive production in recent years. You can, however, wonder about his defensive talents. Terry is average at best and, according to Synergy Sports data, allowed 0.83 points per play last season, ranking in the 61st percentile among all NBA players. He's susceptible to the pick-and-roll and screens, but handles himself well against spot-up shooters.
* What's next for Boston?: The Celtics have to stress to Allen that this move simply makes them a deeper team with a better chance for a title run instead of cutting into his minutes and diminishing his role further (after losing his starting job a year ago). It remains in Boston's best interest to retain Allen, though Terry clearly adds insurance on the chance that he bolts. With the mid-level exception now utilized, Boston also must start addressing its end-of-the-bench options, which includes trying to find a way to retain the likes of Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling with only the bi-annual exception remaining above a minimum contract. The Celtics also have to continue to explore the potential in bringing back forward Brandon Bass on a long-term deal and -- if they can't -- a sign-and-trade might be necessary to bring back an asset for next season.