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February 5, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg

Chris Forsberg
  (11:56 AM)

Less than five minutes until tip-off. Let's get those questions in. You know you're amped for Celtics-Nets tonight.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:01 PM)

Let's do this.

Steven (Haverhill, MA)

Any trade rumors?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:03 PM)

I know people love -- LOVE -- this time of year, but I completely loathe it. I'd say about 75% of what we'll hear over the next two weeks is pure trash. What drives me nuts is what I call the "NBA Live" trades. You know, when you used to be able to go on your xBox and bundle like an average player and a couple draft picks for LeBron James. Ridiculous. And that's what starts getting spread. Half the trades don't even work in the trade machine. Boggles my mind. I'm sticking with my gut that says the Celtics will, at most, make a minor move -- or simply a roster addition -- that just adds depth for the playoff run.

Matt (Houston)

I am gonna miss your chat live, but I was hoping you could answer something for me. With all the trade/re-sign talk with Ray Allen, can the C's even make any kind of splash in free agency if they let Ray go? How much cap space would we have? I've tried my hardest to figure this out on my own, and the rules seem convoluted. Thanks

Chris Forsberg
  (12:06 PM)

I'm no cap expert, but I tackled this a bit in yesterday's mailbag (Read the second question <a href="">HERE</a>). But long answer short, it's not like dropping an $18.8 million contract allows you to offer that money to a different player. In fact, it appears to be in the Celtics best interest to re-sign Ray Allen because of his Larry Bird rights that will allow them to spend over the cap to retain him (and even then, he's more than hinted he's wiling to take a nice pay cut to stick around these parts).

Mark (Raleigh NC)

Hello Chris - if you are Danny Ainge and the rumored deal involving Hinrich-Thomas-Jerome James for Ray-Ray &#x26; a player for salary matching is on the table - don't they HAVE to take it? He saw first hand the aging effects of the ONLY BIG THREE on the franchise

Chris Forsberg
  (12:09 PM)

After writing our decade piece earlier this week about how the Celtics will move forward in the 2010's, I have found myself wondering how exactly this team will start the turnover process (or at least tossing the keys to Rajon Rondo and, hopefully, Kendrick Perkins). I do think, at some point, you're going to have to make a tough decision that breaks up the Big Three. But when I look at this trade, I think it leans a little too heavy in the favor of the Bulls. The folks at <a href="">Celtics Hub</a> did a nice job breaking this one down.

Nick (Auburn,MA)

I would pay to see Sheed, Pierce, Ray Allen and House in an all celtic 3 pt. shootout. Who do you think wins that matchup?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:11 PM)

Nick, I can tell you who wins: Eddie House in overtime. The Celtics actually pitted those four against each other at a open practice last month. Pierce and House advanced to the "finals" then spilled into overtime before House prevailed. Alas, it's Pierce headed to Dallas. But I can't even tell you how excited Pierce is for a shot at redemption after his laughable 2002 appearance. It's just another bit of motivation for him to get that foot healthy.

Tyler (Stratham, NH)

Hey Chris, I usually don't like to get into the trade talk but this team has really been frustrating me recently and it doesn't seem like they have "it" this year, the same feeling I had with the Pat's this past season. If we trade Ray I think we need in impact player back (not Hinrich/Thomas combo). What do you think about Ray/JR/Scal for Iguodala/Dalembert? Iggy gives us the young, explosive player we need and we'd have to take on Dalembert for philly to agree.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:13 PM)

It's funny you bring this up because I know <em>exactly</em> what you're saying. This does feel very similar to the Patriots. Everyone sorta let them slide during the regular season and we all just expected them to flip a switch in the postseason. It's not that easy (and surely, losing Welker didn't help New England's cause). But I do think the Celtics need to really ramp themselves up as the postseason nears. Doc said yesterday it might be a good thing that this team faces a little adversity, since it will know it can respond. Even still, there's something to be said for peaking at the right time, and that's something the Celtics will have to strive to be doing when May rolls around.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:15 PM)

As for that Philly deal, I know that's one that's been bouncing around the interweb, and Celtics fans would love an Iguodala-type player, but I'm guessing it's just wishful thinking.

jim (dentontexas)

why are celtics not given playing time to sheldon williams

Chris Forsberg
  (12:17 PM)

No confidence from coach or player. Williams really enjoyed a nice burst of confidence at the start of the season when he was thrust into fill Glen Davis' role. But even before Davis returned, Williams' numbers tailed off and I think his confidence suffered. And then his coach lost faith in him a bit. It's condemning that he hasn't been able to get off the bench (8 straight DNPs) at a time when KG, Rasheed, and Scalabrine were all battling injuries. He's good insurance, but at this point, I'd have to think he's likely to end up inactive when Marquis Daniels and Paul Pierce return, if for no other reason than you need to keep a guy like Bill Walker active to backup the guys coming back from injury.

Jim (Illinois (lifelong C's fan from Maine))

Think back to the beginning of the season when the C's beat the Cav's and were on their big winning streak. What I remember thinking at the time was how well their bench played. It seemed like the bench gave them the lead when they relieved the starters. Maybe it just felt that way. However, if that was the case (maybe some stats can test this theory), how about starting the bench, and telling them they stay in as long as they perform. The starters could go in as needed. Possibly later in the game, fresh. This could do two things: help develop the younger players, and two keep the starters from tiring out.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:20 PM)

No, Jim you're spot on. Remember back even further, in the preseason we were all writing stories about how Boston's bench might be the best in the league and how they routinely pushed the fist-teamers during practice. We've seen just how valuable Marquis Daniels is during his absence. That second team suffered mightily without his ability to bounce between the 1, 2, and 3 spots. Particularly the 1, where the Celtics leaned on Eddie House and Tony Allen to handle the ball far more than any team should have to. I give the team credit for not immediately signing a backup point guard and gutting out these last 27 games. I think you'll see a dramatically improved bench when this team is healthy.

John (Providence, RI)

Would you trade Ray Allen or keep him, assuming there was a good deal on the table? I believe the Celtics should trade Allen. If they keep Allen and resign him, then the Celtics will only be slower and older. Even with all their expiring contracts, they will still be over the cap next year and will only be able to sign a free agent using their mid level exception. They need an infusion of athleticism into their lineup.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:22 PM)

I go back and forth on this. At the start of the season, I felt like if you won a title, you got 2 in 3 years and it was time to close that window and revel in what you got. Then Ray started talking about taking a discount and I think it's worth exploring the idea of keeping him around two more seasons, even if it means his role is reduced (even as he remains in the best shape of his career). Here's the thing I feel right now: Very few players that will be available via trade are going to be better than Ray Allen if he shakes his early-season struggles. It's easy to want to dump him now because his numbers are the lowest since his rookie season. But hang in there. I expect big things from Ray later this year... in a Boston uniform.

Scott (Boston)

Do you believe this team, as currently constructed, has enough to win a championship?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:24 PM)

I do. Sure they've looked awful against the Hawks, but they've also been competitive in three of those four games. I don't think they fear the Hawks in the playoffs -- though I bet they wouldn't mind if someone else knocked them off before they had to encounter them. But I truly believe the Celtics, when healthy and playing to their potential, can compete with anyone. They've shown they can hang with Cleveland and Orlando. Take away some second-half meltdowns (and add some defense on Jamal Crawford) and they could be 3-1 against Atlanta. Maybe I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, but I really think this team has the talent to contend. I think it's only natural for people to overreact during periods of struggle.

Alex Keel (Columbus, Ohio)

How will Paul Pierce's ankle affect the Boston Celtics? Who will they lean on and who has to step up?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:26 PM)

I think you'll see Pierce back on the court Sunday. Listen, he went back out there on Monday and, while certainly not 100%, he was still able to compete. With nearly a full week to rest the sprain, and the competitive juices after missing the Christmas meeting in Orlando and then losing to the Magic last week, I think Pierce is out there looking like his old self. Plus, it's the Nets tonight. If it's anything like the first meeting, you'll see plenty of Bill Walker regardless of injury situations.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:27 PM)

And I do think Eddie House and Tony Allen need to continue to step up like they did Wednesday with Pierce out. And here's hoping Walker gets a chance to shine with some extended time. He's worked out extremely hard the past two days, knowing this is an opportunity for him to gain the coaching staff's trust.

juan (puerto rico)

hi what do you think of a trada of tony allen and someone else to the knicks for nate and jeffries?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:28 PM)

The Knicks do that trade? I'm not so certain.

Mike (Wakefield MA)

Will Walker get more playing time and why no slam dunk?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:29 PM)

Doc continues to stress that his guards like Pierce and Allen are playing too many minutes and that he has to lean on guys like Walker. He hasn't exactly followed through yet, but at least he's aware of it... As for the dunk contest, I think Walker really wants to focus all his energy now on trying to make the most of the opportunity with the parent club. To be re-assigned to Maine now just wouldn't be in the spirit of what he's trying to accomplish as a player.

brian (paradise)

maybe they should ask the cavs if they can have Leon Powe back

Chris Forsberg
  (12:31 PM)

I know they asked Doc about that on WEEI the other day and I thought he had nice sentiments expressing how much the team misses Powe, not even just as a player, but as a person. I've always believed the Celtics make the Eastern Conference Finals with a healthy Powe last year (even with Garnett out). He would be nice for frontcourt depth this year. Too bad that injury really stripped him of any further opportunity in Boston.

billy (arizona)

dont you think the celtics would be better off if the didnt have 3 big shots fighting or getting jelouse of who has the ball more at the end of the game?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:32 PM)

See, I don't think that's an issue. I think most of the superstars in the Celtics' locker room are rather unselfish. Pierce was just as happy to kick it to Ray Allen for an open look vs. the Lakers as he would have been to put up the final shot. I think it's natural for a little finger-pointing to go on when you struggle, but KG really seemed to put an end to those locker room rumors (which Rondo didn't help) with his comments after Wednesday's game.

TimothyB (Asheville, NC)

Are you saying that the Celtics have no shot at signing one of the big-time free agents that will be on the market in the next year or two?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:34 PM)

Again, I'm still trying to learn this cap thing as I go, but, short of both Allen walking as a free agent and Pierce opting out of the final year or his deal, I don't see any way to lure a big-name free agent. I think you really have to hope the Marquis Daniels of the world flock here with an opportunity to re-establish their market value and help win a championship. That's not great for long-term development, but it's the short-term solution as you ride Pierce and KG as far as they can go.

Mike (Allston)

Maybe Eddie can enter the "long 2-pointer with a toe on the line" contest. Really, is there a worse shot he could be taking? Have the coaches addressed this at all with him? He loses about 99% of his value if he's not shooting 3-pointers. Take a step back, Eddie

Chris Forsberg
  (12:37 PM)

Funny you mention that. I actually talked to Ray Allen a bit about this in Atlanta because I was wondering if players ever just get into these mental lapses where they lose sense of the floor and where they are. There's no other explanation as to why House -- who had two toe-on-line 3-pointers overturned the night before in Orlando -- would be getting caught on the line, right? Allen said it could be a number of things, including how quickly the ball is getting to House. Which again made me wonder if House is being affected by not having a true point guard. Look at what happened Wednesday when they had Rondo out with the second unit. House catches fire.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:37 PM)

Some of these guys are such product of routine and timing. I think Eddie's just been a bit off without getting the ball when and where he'd like at times.

Ed (Wootay) (Maryland)

Any potential trades you see the celtics making. Nothing big but maybe something on the smaller side. What about a typical garbage trade like Scal and Giddens for Posey!!!

Chris Forsberg
  (12:39 PM)

::Slaps forehead:: Scal and Giddens for Posey. It's trade season, everybody.

ARC Mike (ARC)

I know it's early to talk about Perk's contract, but it's up after the 2011 season right? What's your estimate on how much it will take to keep him? With stiffs like Dalembert and Dampier making big dollars, Perk must be salivating

Chris Forsberg
  (12:41 PM)

If the Celtics are smart, while everyone else is throwing funny money at big names this offseason, they'd quietly extend Perkins and do more for the future of their ballclub than most teams will do with all those max contracts. I know people don't always see the value of Perkins, but his defense and even his offense (lead-leaguing FG%) is so underrated.

Ryan (formerly Melrose, MA)

Chris, what are your top 5 teams in the EC and the NBA?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:43 PM)

Haven't seen enough of the West to truly judge, but right now the East looks like this... 1. Cleveland, 2. Atlanta, 3. Boston, 4. Orlando, 5. Everyone else. As much as people in Orlando will bark at that, the Celtics match up well with them. Boston would be far more pushed by a series against the Hawks.

RJ (Boston)

Watching KG deteriorate quickly this year, seems the celtics would be doing him and themselves a great deal of good for next year if they just gave him the year off. He needs it.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:44 PM)

You saw the end of last season and how the Celtics fared without KG, no?

Evan (Boston)

With Marquis back do you think the C's give legit rest to their starters by bringing in the entire second unit at once? I think Quis,TA, Eddie, Davis and Sheed is enough that no starters need to be in with them. What do you think?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:45 PM)

I would assume that's the plan. Then you stagger the way you bring back the starters. Guys like Rondo, Ray, and Pierce don't need too much time on the bench, while KG and Perk can get quality breathers depending on foul situation. Listen, this team when healthy has endless possibilities.

Danny (Boston)

Just a heads up to all Boston Celtics fans. I will trade Ray Allen, Shelden Williams, Bill Walker, and Eddie House to Scaramento for Kevin martin and Andres Nocioni. I hope you Celtic fans trust my decision. Thank You!!

Chris Forsberg
  (12:47 PM)

Straight for the mouth of Mr. Ainge.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:48 PM)

Alright, final 10 minutes or so, let's go lightning round. Ton of good questions today. You guys rock.

John (Long Island, NY)

Chris:Did you see Bill Simmons' tweet about this trade possibility and if you did what are your thoughts? (Ray Allen and Eddie House to Sacramento, Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine to Chicago, and Kevin Martin/Nocioni/Ty Thomas to Boston)

Chris Forsberg
  (12:48 PM)

Think it's a little too Boston friendly to work, but I do think there'd need to be a third team involved to do anything with Sacramento.

Mike (Fairfield, CT)

Chris, do you think Pierce has a shot at winning the three point contest?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:49 PM)

He's focused, for certain. Not sure he'll win it, but he'll do better than 2002.

grandjordanian (San Diego, CA)

Chris, have you talked to Ray Allen about his shooting woes? He's a superbly self aware and intelligent man, does he have an opinion on whether his struggles stem from physical fatigue, mental (Knoblauch?) issues, or both? In so many ways, even shooting at his % right now, he's literally carrying the team by giving so many minutes.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:50 PM)

I agree, just in terms of minutes, he's been super valuable to the team this year. Shooters shoot their way out of funks. I think Ray needs to keep putting up shots. It'll happen.

Szymon (Philadelphia, PA )

El fuego is better then Moe's..fact!

Chris Forsberg
  (12:51 PM)

This is false. If you've even been to Philadelphia, you know El Fuego is a very poor man's Moe's. No contest. Moe's is undisputed burrito champion of the world.

Bryan (Burlington, MA)

Missing the HS hockey around these parts? things remain the same, crown CM now. (ugh)

Chris Forsberg
  (12:51 PM)

I'll actually miss the Super 8, that was always a lot of fun. But covering the Celtics has been a dream so far.

Jake Wallace (Bailey, MA)

Hey people keep talking about the Celtics not being a contender. Tell us why thats a dumb statement.

Chris Forsberg
  (12:53 PM)

For the same reason everyone thought they were going to win 72 games. Perspective. It's an up and down season in the NBA. Enjoy riding the wave.

RJ (Boston)

NICE. Boston finally gets a dedicated C's chat. Now how about the Bruins????

pat (ny ny)

Do you see a huge nets win tonight?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:55 PM)

RJ: You've seen the Bruins lately, no?Pat: I do actually think this has trap game written all over it. If the Celtics weren't coming off all those struggles, they might look past this one.

Mike (Exeter Dr.)

Super Bowl prop - higher total - Rajon Rondo combined points, assists and rebounds or Saints total points?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:55 PM)

I love it! I'll go with Rondo. He's good for 20-10-5 at this point, right, and being a marquee matchup he probably goes over.

CC (San Diego)

How has Sheed fit in in the locker room? Have the C's been "infected" with the Piston-like, flip-the-switch attitude of the past few years?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:56 PM)

I think the Celtics love Rasheed in the locker room. Keeps it light. I think Celtics fans would like to see him spend a little bit more time in the post and maybe upgrade his conditioning.

biff (hill valley)

Better chance at having a longer career: Bill Walker or JR Giddens

Chris Forsberg
  (12:57 PM)

Walker had lottery potential before his knee injury. Both are super athletic. Both are unlikely to really get a chance to develop here as the roster is currently constructed. But I think both could find roles if they found the right situation (and playing time).

Szymon (Philadelphia, PA )

Who do you think will take the Super Bowl?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:58 PM)

Colts, 35-24. Won't be as exciting as last year.

Mark (Raleigh NC)

Is Coach Lue - the player addition for the playoff run? Isn't he practicing with the team?

Chris Forsberg
  (12:59 PM)

I've long thought the Celtics might bring him back as their backup point guard down the stretch. I think they'll evaluate where he's at mentally and physically to judge if 1) he's interested and 2) if they're interested based on any moves made before the deadline.

Szymon (Philadelphia, PA )

I have been to Moe's as well and that place the best thing about it is their salsa bar besides that it is a a step above Taco Bell!

Chris Forsberg
  (1:00 PM)

You're embarrassing yourself. Moe's = Best.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:00 PM)

And with all that burrito talk, I'm off to Moe's before tonight's game. Thanks for the hang, everybody. You guys kicked my butt. Way too many questions to get to. Let's do it again next week.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:01 PM)

If you have any leftover thoughts, send them along for my weekly mailbag. Appreciate y'all hanging out.