…NBA AND NHL! Nice…although is there really a ton of interest in the NHL draft? I don’t know…
But since the NBA draft is like an hour away, let’s start there.
The Boston Celtics have the 27th pick. Quite a change from previous years where they had the #3, #3 and #6 picks in three of the last four years. #16 in the other still is better than #27. The players? Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, respectively, in the order of the above list. Not a bad haul.
#27 doesn’t really excite me…or anyone else really. But hey, Kyle Kuzma went #27 last year. So maybe there is hope.
In any event, what do I expect “Trader Danny” Ainge to do?
I know, there have been a gazillion rumors out there the past couple of weeks. Ranging from Danny moving up in the draft by “only” giving up Rozier, Marcus Morris and all 4 (potential) first round picks in 2019. To involving Jaylen Brown in a trade to move up. To moving Brown as part of a package to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard. To trading Kyrie Irving to just about anywhere because of questions of Kyrie’s commitment to re-signing in Boston after next season. And many more.
So I expect the C’s to stand pat at #27, or even possibly trade down and get more picks. Gotta love second rounders!!
BUT…what do I WANT them to do? Not exactly sure. We here at the Blowhard love a good “splash”. But I don’t want that “splash” to involve Tatum, Brown or Gordon Hayward. Although, despite Danny’s reputation on trading anyone if the deal is right, I wouldn’t expect him to do so with Hayward regardless. Gordo signed here the last offseason as a free agent, more than likely in large part due to his college coach, Brad Stevens, being in charge here. Then he plays 5 minutes the whole year while suffering a major injury and then Ainge deals him? I doubt it. Then again, Danny traded Isaiah Thomas with his bum hip, after IT helped breathe some life back into basketball in the city and had a LARGE fan base. Though…different circumstances, I will allow.
I would be ecstatic if someone overpaid for Rozier. I like the guy, but we’ve been through this before. I look at Terry as no more than a third guard. He probably looks at himself as a max contract player. This will eventually be a problem. Not to mention that if Kyrie does indeed play for the C’s next season and then Smart also comes back, how many minutes is Rozier going to get? That could be a problem as well. Trade him while the value is high…and maybe highest it will ever be. Here, for sure anyway.
I wouldn’t mind trading Morris either. Not sure you will get much for him. And although he will be cheap next year at 5.375 mil, what happens when he doesn’t get his minutes next season as well? This guy is liable to go off the deep end. Never know with him.
Now, I am not packaging Morris and Rozier to move up from #27 to say, #15. But I am sure Ainge has investigated some options.
And I don’t necessarily want to trade them regardless either. Especially since Rozier is cheap too, at a shade over 3 mil for next season. But I am investigating realistic options for trades. And also considering that these two players are going into the last season of their respective contracts. And if everyone comes back, their minutes (and therefore, their value) will markedly decrease. And you ain’t re-signing either after next year to a fat contract that they will likely demand…unless some things change (ie: Kyrie actually does leave).
That being said, I am not opposed to bringing the whole gang back next season. With everyone healthy, can they compete for a title? I think so, while also adding a few minor bench tweaks.
The problem is, I strongly believe there is another shoe to drop with Ainge. I really do think he has one more big move up his sleeve. It may not be tonight. But I believe it is coming.
Kyrie? Sure, if he says he is taking off somewhere after this season. Absolutely in that case. We all understand why he isn’t re-upping this offseason. But he is noncommittal on his future. Now, that could be because he has a few screws loose (the Earth is flat?). No one knows what he is saying privately. Hopefully, Danny does know.
Kawhi? I don’t know. He has the one year left on his contract too. How last year went down with him individually seems a little mysterious. I doubt he would re-sign here, but I guess I don’t know. Worth the risk? Not sure for me.
As usual, I think Danny’s big move will come out of nowhere. Guess we just have to wait.
So please stay tuned…
As for the Boston Bruins, not sure the draft is anything exciting to talk about. I mean, they don’t have a first-round pick. And who knows anything about hockey first rounders anyway?
It’s not like the B’s have the #13, #14 & #15 picks like they had in the 2015 NHL draft. Where they took D Jakub Zboril, LW Jake DeBrusk and RW Zachary Senyshyn. Although DeBrusk may become a stud, that haul may end up being somewhat underwhelming. Ok, the other two are still developing. But let’s consider they are 2 of only 3 first rounders from that year that have yet to log a single minute of NHL action. Let’s also consider that the dude that went #16, Mathew Barzal, just won the Calder Trophy last night as NHL Rookie of the Year. Sigh…
In any event, rumors are that Don Sweeney wants to perhaps trade back up into the first round. I don’t know. They have enough kids in the pipeline, do they need to give up assets to get another? Maybe if that prospect is in the top-5 and is a potential first pairing defenseman. But otherwise, I am not sure it’s worth it. And I don’t even think that the above scenario is realistic anyway. Allegedly, the B’s had tried to trade those aforementioned 2015 picks into the top-5 that year and nab defenseman Noah Hanifan. That clearly didn’t work.
What can Donnie Hockey do? He can certainly trade some veteran assets, as discussed in the last Blowhard piece. But good luck with that. They all have some sort of no movement clauses it appears.
Heard a great rumor today. Unload David Krejci and David Backes. Then sign John Tavares to a mega deal. And either Ilya Kovalchuk or Rick Nash to a shorter, but likely still lucrative, deal.
Pipe dream? I think so. Who is going to take Backes’ and Krejci’s salaries? And they have no-movements. They can be convinced to waive those? Maybe there are certain teams they can be moved to, I honestly don’t know the details. But getting rid of those two contracts would seem to be far-fetched.
Another popular one is now moving Torey Krug because the team just re-signed Matt Grzelcyk to a new deal and the two of them have similar skill sets. Let’s not forget Krug has a full no-trade clause. So how is that all going to work?
Sweeney should do something…even involving the draft. But I simply do not see how he can pull it off. We’ve been through all this in detail before too.
I’d be shocked to see anything come of certainly draft night for the B’s. And even through free agency, other than losing some pieces and signing some small pieces to replace those players.
But then again, I don’t work in the front office for the B’s…there’s probably a good reason for that, I guess…
…lots to catch up on here, let’s start with the Thursday Night Football game and then dive right in:
Miami at Baltimore (-3.5)
The Dolphins are 4-2 despite scoring only 92 points in 6 games. They will be going with their backup QB in Matt Moore. However, Moore may actually be better than the starter, that fraud named Jay Cutler. Speaking of frauds…Joe Flacco everyone! Neither team really excites me this year. Therefore, take the points.
Miami 21, Baltimore 17.
Week (against the spread): 9-6
Week (straight up): 10-5
Season (against the spread): 50-56
Season (straight up): 64-42
Now for the rest of the Boston sports world, in no particular order:
*John Farrell is gone as the manager of the Boston Red Sox. We have known that for a bit. And everyone on God’s Green Earth knows how I feel about Farrell. So no need to expound on any of those thoughts here. Good riddance. Buffoonery at every angle.
But…Alex Cora? Count me among the unimpressed. Just six years removed from the game, but more importantly, he has no managerial experience whatsoever? Yeah, I’ve heard he managed the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. But who cares about that? He was (is) a bench coach for the Houston Astros. Doesn’t excite me either.
People are raving about him. Maybe he has great people skills. And actually can manage. More importantly, maybe he can straighten out those morons in the clubhouse. But…how do we really know?
He actually played here from 2006-2008. Does that help? Perhaps a little. He knows what the demands are here in Boston. Looks like the only player on this roster he actually played with was Dustin Pedroia…and Pedroia took his job. People describe Pedey and Cora as close. But I swear I remember Cora being pissed Pedroia took his job. I don’t know, maybe Cora can also play 2b this upcoming season until Pedroia comes back…as we learned Wednesday that Dustin had knee surgery that will keep him out around seven months. If the other options are Brock Holt, Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin, then why not? I know, there is a whole offseason to find a better temporary 2b option. But some local jamoke writer actually proposed those three clowns as legit (and probable) options.
Let’s also look at the hiring process. The only three guys General Manager Dave Dombrowski thought of interviewing were Cora, Ron Gardenhire and Brad Ausmus? THESE guys were the cream of the crop? YIKES!
Dombrowski has some work to do on the actual roster and most certainly the clubhouse. Let’s also see who Cora surrounds himself with on his staff. But this hiring reminds me of a somewhat similar one for the Sox back in 1992. A hire that a former college hallmate termed a “franchise manager”. They had to go get him before someone else swooped him up. Yup…Butch Hobson. Ugh…
*The Celtics obviously took a big hit with the Gordon Hayward injury. Just over five minutes into the season he goes down for the year…what a kick to the junk.
But you know what? They’ll still be up there fighting for the top seed in the East. Cleveland will probably treat the regular season as an extended preseason, similar to what they did last year. There are other competitive teams in the East. I suppose Milwaukee, Washington and Toronto will be in the upper tier. But not unbeatable, even without Gordo.
Look, with only 4 of the 16 players on the roster carrying over from last year, there was going to be an adjustment period anyway. I don’t think anyone thought the C’s were going to win the NBA Finals this year with full health. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum appear to have a world of talent (though I am not getting too high about their performance against the lowly Knicks on Tuesday). But let’s remember they are 21 and 19 years old, respectively. In fact, 7 of the 16 players are rookies, though admittedly most of those are on the back-end of the roster.
It’s a long season and anything can happen. Barring any other unforeseen major injury, I’m still excited about watching this team develop.
*I don’t believe Jae Crowder intentionally tried to injure Hayward. But he certainly had a hair across his arse in the opener. Al Horford got all worked up at him at one point. Don’t see Al react like that much. Anyway Jae, let it go dude.
*Brown certainly looks like a different player this season. I know summer league means squat. But I did watch some of the games there. Judging by how Jaylen has come out in the regular season thus far, I would have expected him to dominate the summer league. And he was pretty unimpressive there, in my opinion.
In any event, for a guy with his talent, he seems to have a lack of touch around the rim. Seems like he could have added several layups to this years’ total already. But I shouldn’t complain. He sure looks a hell of a lot better taking outside shots than he did last year. Keep improving his finishes around the rim and of course the free throws and the sky COULD be the limit.
*I have no idea if guys like Abdel Nader, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Daniel Theis or Jabari Bird can actually play in the NBA. But I can for damn sure tell you one thing: I’d rather give those guys a shot than have carried over the likes of Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green, Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson into this year. We KNOW what those guys can do…and it’s not much. Let’s see if any of these kids can develop into something. While playing 9th to 13th man minutes.
I’m intrigued mostly by Theis, to be honest. Now, I don’t want him playing 30 minutes a game. But I’d like to see him get a consistent 10-15 minutes a night to see what’s there. Listed at 6’9″, as a center, if he can add to the mix as a rebounder, that would be a tremendous help of course. Especially considering the fact how horrid the Celtics were in that department last year.
*Last, but not least, the Boston Bruins. This could be a looooong year, my friends. But you know what? I think I am ok with it.
Say what? Think about it. These guys are not championship timber, by any stretch of the imagination. Not even a player or two away. There has been an influx of young players this year. Started a little bit last year, but you can really see it now. There are apparently more to come. Don Sweeney has been talking about this for years and we MAY be starting to see the “fruits of his labor”.
We have given Donnie Hockey a little bit of a beating the last couple of years, but if this was the plan all along, and Cam Neely (also taking a beating) and ownership have been on board with it…and of course if it eventually WORKS…then the B’s could be set up for years to come. All the while remaining at least competitive during the transition years.
There is a long way to go, but in this young season we have seen glimpses. We’ve also been horrified at some of the play. But with young players and inexperience, that comes with the territory. If the future is truly bright, then can’t we deal with the ups and downs for a little longer?
*Let’s break it down a little further. If the lines this year when everyone is healthy are…
…doesn’t that give you a little hope? Specifically looking at Bjork and DeBrusk hopping right into the top six forward mix. As well as Carlo and McAvoy making some noise on defense in their 2nd and 1st year, respectively. Of course it would help if these guys really can play…and by all accounts they can. It would also help if Vatrano and Spooner took their heads right out of their arses as well. But you could always sprinkle in a Timmy Schaller…or a kid such as Danton Heinen or Austin Czarnik or I guess this Kenny Agostino dude they just brought up. Or…
Of course, I’d rather still have Colin Miller over Kevan Miller. Or ANYONE remaining from the Tyler Seguin trade (or someone who could play anyway…meaning…not Jimmy Hayes). But if some of the other dudes eventually make it as well…Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Matt Grzelcyk, Rob O’Gara, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon…we could be looking at a solid young core for years to come. We shall see…
*Lastly, I will also tell you, I would keep the kids coming. As the trading deadline approaches and the Bruins likely at the bottom of the playoff seedings, or even slightly out of them, I would work to shop some of the vets and implement more kids. Not everyone, mind you. But a few.
First off, they couldn’t necessarily trade ALL the vets anyway. Most of the higher paid ones of course have no movement clauses, thanks to former GM Peter Chiarelli…and a little by Sweens himself.
Who would I look to deal? Tuukka Rask, top of the list. You just don’t need a 7 million dollar a year goalie. Especially for a team in transition. He has a modified no-trade. The door is open. Zdeno Chara has had a nice career in Boston. But he’s heading toward 41 years old. And they are still throwing him out there for about 25 minutes a game…in OCTOBER! Stop the insanity! Give those minutes to someone else. Z has a no-move, but maybe see if he will waive it to go to a contender. I’ve heard people around here saying that they wouldn’t mind if Chara signed on for another 2 years after this year. Once again, STOP THE INSANITY. You still may be actually able to get something decent for him too.
Others? Krug for sure. 3 more years at 5.25 for a defenseman that is truly an offensive specialist. Has some no movement protection starting next year. Move him before that goes into effect. Backes? Makes 6 mil for the next 4 years with a lot of no-move protection. Likely untradeable. Krejci? I’d love to see him on the above line. But injuries seem to be taking control of him. And yes, no-move protections of course.
Just see what’s out there for some of those guys. Can’t hurt. Oh yeah, it’s time to just buy Matt Beleskey out. That ship has sailed. Actually, that ship sailed long ago…
Donnie Hockey actually came through!! Things must be looking up!!
So Don Sweeney pretty much did what the Blowhard wanted him to do at the deadline. All Sweens did was trade a 6th round pick for a couple of months of Drew Stafford.
Some people may not even like that, since Sweeney traded away yet another pick. But it’s a 6th rounder. Sure you can get a Bob Sweeney or Mike Krushelnyski in that round. And maybe Anton Blidh and/or Zane McIntyre turn into something. But the list of “ne’er made its” is looooong. And yes, I totally looked all that up.
Plus, Sweeney has a slew of young talent (we hope) that has already been drafted or acquired and at some point at least some of those guys will have to be implemented into the mix. So who cares about the 6th round pick?
The most important thing is that he wasn’t blinded by the great record under Bruce Cassidy and pretend that this team was a player or two away from a Stanley Cup Championship run, give up too many young players and/or more picks…and then either not make the playoffs or lose in the first round. Would have been yet another black mark against him.
I’m sure he listened to both buy and sell situations. If he didn’t, he’s not doing his job. But thankfully, he did not pull the trigger on buying. I actually am ok with him also not completely selling at this point. As discussed previously, the edge of the roster guys weren’t going to bring you much anyway. The more talented players on this roster seemed to have been re-energized some with the coaching change. And it may behoove the team to keep a guy like Zdeno Chara for next year, to be a kind of “coach on the ice”…especially for the significantly reduced cap hit. Let’s ride this thing out this year as is, have no illusions of where the finish line is, then tinker with things over the summer.
To me, this was the best case scenario.
As for Stafford? I can’t say I have followed his seemingly less than illustrious 144 game Winnipeg Jet career. But I do remember when he was a Buffalo Sabre he always seemed to play well against the Bruins. Although Jimmy Hayes has played better since Cassidy took over, he still is playing only 8-9 minutes a night. So the coaching staff can’t be trusting him THAT much. Stafford would probably qualify as an upgrade, no?
Stafford would also seem to qualify a sort of “Peter Cehlarik”-type of insurance. Don’t get me wrong, in my eyes, Cehlarik has played pretty well with David Krejci and David Pastrnak. I like what I’ve seen thus far. But he’s just a kid. He hasn’t scored in his 8 career NHL games. And as the playoff race gets tighter, if he isn’t producing offensively on the second line, I can see him back in Providence (instead of buried on the 4th line or a healthy scratch) as Cassidy leans on the veterans more. Unfair? Perhaps. But all bets are off if the team is actually trying to make the playoffs. Which I presume they are. And I know, Stafford is technically a right wing and Cehlarik a left wing. But those types of things always work themselves out.
Seems to me that Stafford is a solid, if unspectacular acquisition. At a reasonable cost. No problems there.
So I applaud you Don Sweeney!! I’m not sure I’ve ever said anything positive about Donnie Hockey since he took over the GM chair. I suppose there is a first time for everything though, right?