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Pure Unadulterated Gibberish…

…some more random crap as I find the time to write something lucid…

*Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, TOM F’NG BRADY!!!!

Had enough yet?

As I noted last time, yes I sure have.  February is typically a slow sports month and Brady coverage during that time was everywhere.  Heading into March…no change.

I said, “wake me up in a few weeks”.  And it’s almost time.  The NFL CBA will be presumably ratified on March 12.  Then get ready for even more rampant rumors.

The rumors thus far?  Fun.  But how seriously do we take them?  Tampa, Miami and Indy?  Not seriously.  LA Chargers and Vegas Raiders?  Somewhat.  Dallas?  Intriguing…obviously depends on how the Dak Prescott negotiations/franchise tagging goes.  Tennessee?  Perhaps real…but the latest is that the Titans are using Brady to leverage Ryan Tannehill in their negotiations.  Brady won’t be happy with Mike Vrabel if that is true.  San Fran?  Hmmmmmm…GREAT speculation about Tom going home to the team he rooted for growing up.  And Billy Belichick getting Jimmy Football back.  I deem this extremely unlikely, however.

Pats?  Seems like the most realistic option still, to be honest.  They won’t offer even close to the most money if it comes to that.  That’s a no doubter.  But I think a lot of us think it’s hard to believe that Brady goes to a new organization and has to learn a new offense, or at least new teammates and tendencies and all that if Brady gets to “bring his offense with him”.  Probably be forced to go to all offseason activities, when he has avoided every one of these other than the mandatory ones in recent years here.  Plus, when push comes to shove, will Brady have the stones to leave?  Will Bill actually let him leave, also when push comes to shove?  Also, more importantly, will owner Robert Kraft let him leave?  That’s ALWAYS the wild card.

Nothing would shock me at this point.  I think Bill would let him go.  Robert?  Not so sure?  Brady?  He may just want the love and attention in his first foray into unrestricted free agency.  And in the end, he comes back to NE.  I wouldn’t rule that out at all.  That actually may be the leader in the clubhouse at this point.

Again, crazy enough, I don’t even care either way.  I am not going to worry about a 43 year old quarterback, even though it will be weird (sad?) seeing him in a different uniform.  But I root for the laundry overall, so I will root for the players that wear the laundry (See:  Betts, Mookie).  I will not wish for Brady to fail if he departs, let me get this straight.  I am extremely grateful that arguably the best player of all time played 20 years in New England.  But my allegiances are with the Patriots, not Brady himself, despite all the success he has led us to.  I suppose the six rings have influenced me a bit in my thinking.    But wouldn’t they for most people?

Since Brady is the biggest chip on the free agent market, even at his advanced age, he should be among the first dominos to fall…at least among the QBs.  8 days until the official tampering period starts.  10 until the gates officially open for business.

At this point, my interest is about back to being all in.  Can’t wait.

*All the above being said with being ok with Brady leaving, I’m pumping the brakes on former NFL third stringer Jordan Palmer coming out this week and saying current Pats backup Jarrett Stidham is going to be “a stud”.  And for all of us to “jump on that bandwagon”.

Yup.

More intrigue.

I would have liked to have seen Stidham more last year in a real game.  Looked like he had potential from his performance in the preseason (from whatever real stuff we can actually take from preseason action).  But, let’s hold off on those kinds of bold predictions…for now anyway.

Though Brady didn’t play much his first season either…just sayin’…

*Looks like Kyrie Irving wanted a new coach.

Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets “mutually agreed to part ways” the other day.  Kind of out of nowhere.  Atkinson was probably not a Hall of Fame coach.  But coached a couple of bad teams before getting the Nets into the playoffs in his third year.  Not to mention had a hand in developing players such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen during his tenure.

Sure, they were a smidge under .500 this year.  But they were also missing Irving for most of the season and Kevin Durant for the whole season.  Those two, in combination with the aforementioned four and others, would help vault you into competition, no?

So Atkinson gets the gate before he presumably would be able to see all that come to fruition next season.

Then when listening to GM Sean Marks’ rambling comments about “it was mutual between me and Kenny”, “the players had nothing to do with it”, “I would have loved for Kenny to coach Durant and Irving and all these guys” and all that nonsense…all it did was tell me that at least some players didn’t want him there.  And, as always, the finger naturally points to Irving.  And some reports are coming out that Kyrie prefers Tyronn Lue to coach the team.  Big surprise.

I don’t know if Atkinson can coach or not.  But this one completely feels like it has Irving’s fingerprints all over it.  And it again reminds me that I am so glad Kyrie is out of my town.

*Speaking of “my” town and the Nets, that overtime lineup Brad Stevens used against Brooklyn last week was awesome, right?!

In all fairness, Brad had his hands tied a bit…ok, actually, a LOT.  Jayson Tatum didn’t play because of illness.  Kemba Walker was just back from injury and was on a minutes limit.  Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward got hurt during the game and were unavailable.  And Marcus Smart took a couple of dumb fouls at the end of regulation and the beginning of OT and as a result fouled out of the ballgame.

There shouldn’t have even been overtime.  Smart fouling a dude on a three pointer with 0.2 seconds left was just colossally stupid.  As much as I love what Smart brings to the table each game, he still does stupid stuff like this, pushes refs, flops and takes waaaaay too many shots.  I guess we have to just deal with it.  In any event, it wasn’t all his fault, as the 51 points allowed in the fourth quarter and the blown 21 point lead was simply atrocious work by the team overall.

So, back to the OT lineup.  Daniel Theis, Carsen Edwards, Brad Wanamaker, Semi Ojeleye and Javonte Green were your guys.  At least that is what I recall since I don’t even want to go back and confirm it was specifically all of them.

As much as I love myself some Danny Theis, this unit may have trouble beating an over-50 team at the local YMCA.

Hyperbole, I know.  But you get my point.

There needed to be some veteran depth bench moves made by GM Danny Ainge at the trade deadline a ways back.  And he didn’t get it done.  We’ve written about that.  But this just proves it.

As well as that Friday night atrocity against the Utah Jazz at home.  No Brown or Gordo.  And limited Kemba.  But when you are forced to throw Wanamaker out there in crunch time and watch him throw up wide open bricks, including an airball, then you should know you have a problem.

Wanamaker was something like -25 in 26 minutes.  That’s hard to do on a good team.

Sure, once everyone is healthy, the C’s should be competitive.  But not enough for a championship, in my opinion.

I am beginning to think that Ainge and Stevens knew this.  And didn’t want to overpay for anyone at the deadline.  See which, if any, of the kids pan out, see if Gordo opts out after this season…then make appropriate moves over the summer to form a REAL contender.

Wouldn’t make them bad guys or even wrong.

But frustrating, nonetheless…

Celtics Trade Deadline Review…

…a little late, but…so be it…

So the NBA trade deadline came and went last week with Boston Celtic GM “Trader Danny” Ainge making ZERO moves.  I was kind of shocked when I read it, but apparently, this is the fifth consecutive deadline that Ainge has not made a deal.  Perhaps it’s time to retire the “Trader Danny” nickname?

The Celtics have a true core of five players that really carry the load:  Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart (yes, he is a key piece of the team…live with it).  If you wanted to combine Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter into a sixth, then go right ahead.  Though not ideal, those two should not kill you playing the “5”.

But that’s all folks.  You can shove as much Grant Williams down my throat as you want.  But although I appreciate the hustle and drive he shows out there, I have no interest in seeing this guy on the court when the playoffs arrive.

Speaking of “shoving someone down our throat”, Head Coach Brad Stevens has been trying to do this with Semi Ojeleye for almost three years running now.  Maybe in the right situation, “Shemi” may actually be able to play in the NBA?  I don’t know.  But I do know that this dude is atrocious and does absolutely nothing for me.  And please spare me with “he guards Giannis well, so he should play a lot against Milwaukee if they end up playing them” bit.  Please.  I think Ojeleye’s defense against Giannis is a little overstated.  But that is me.  Furthermore, if he can actually guard Giannis, why can he not guard anyone else in the league?  I think the 6 fouls he has per game is the most valuable thing about him.  Moving on…

Robert Williams?  I would have LOVED to have seen more of him this season to see what his raw ability could have added to the team.  But a hip injury wiped that out.  He is supposedly due back in March.  Can he add value coming off the bench for a few minutes a game?  Perhaps.  But can he be counted on?  Nope.

Romeo Langford?  Not this year anyway.  The 14th pick overall has missed a great deal of the season with a variety of injuries.  Now seemingly past all that, Langford had kind of a breakout game last Friday against the Atlanta Hawks.  you know, the “bottom of the conference” Hawks that is.  Then Romeo turned that progress into an ugly 6 minute stint against the much better Oklahoma City Thunder 2 days later.  I am not sure if the kid can play in the NBA over the long haul as of yet.  But he certainly isn’t ready now.

We could keep going through the rest of the roster, but I will spare you.  No one else can be trusted.  And since I spared you by not going through the rest of the names on the roster individually, please spare me any Tacko Fall comments as well.  Thank you in advance.

The point is, the team could use some help off the bench.  A veteran or two.  A big man to share the load with Theis and Kanter…or even overtake them in the rotation.  Some help anyway.

And…nothing.  So what does that mean?

I suppose big men such as Clint Capela and Andre Drummond were not real options because they don’t shoot three pointers and therefore were not a fit for Stevens’ system.  Neither does Kanter…though maybe that’s why, in his case, despite him being a rebounding machine, he plays less than 20 minutes a game here.

But what about other wings and ball handlers?  There weren’t any available?  Are you really satisfied with Brad Wanamaker Danny?  I don’t see it.

Salary cap issues?  Perhaps.  But those things have a way of working themselves out if a deal needs to get done.  And I am not talking about “throwing” a core player in a deal to make the numbers work.

Draft pick hesitation?  The picks the Celtics have coming up are almost worthless now.  Mid to late first rounders.  Not worthless, that is hyperbole.  But it’s not like having a pick in the top three.  I think you get my point.

Not wanting to give up on younger players?  I mean, Langford MAY be a player someday.  Not guaranteed.  Robert Williams MAY be worth holding on to.  But not necessarily.  Grant Williams MAY be a decent bench player in this league going forward.  Carsen Edwards?  Disappointment.  I thought he would be able to come off the bench and hit some buckets.  Hasn’t happened this year.  Tremont Waters has some skill, but his height will always haunt him.  Besides, if he had that much promise, wouldn’t he have a real roster spot now, instead of a two-way deal?

You can have the whole lot of them, in my opinion.  Guys of that ilk will always be available.

Side note:  I guess one writer said the C’s may be hesitant to give up on players like Vincent Poirier because he has “flashed at times this season”.  Poirier has played 108 minutes the whole year, as of this writing.  How much “flashing” can that provide??!

In any event, so why did Danny not make a deal?

Glad you asked!

I believe some of the chatter that I’ve heard on talk radio this week.  I think Ainge thinks that this team is not good enough to win a championship and may be more than one or two “pieces” away.  That the West is loaded and that the East seems to be all Milwaukee.  I don’t believe that Danny wants to make deals for this year when he believes holding on to “assets” for the future is better for the team.

That being said, what did Ainge really have at his disposal to give up?  The younger bench guys ain’t getting him anything great.  The future draft picks either.  Theis and/or Kanter?  Maybe as a piece.  But not as a major part of any deal.

That means he would have been dipping into one of the five “core” players.  And what would be the sense of that when they are trying to add to that core and not take away from it?

One initial thought I had was…gasp…is there a chance Gordon Hayward may be available?  He has a huge player option next year.  Which means he will opt out of it.  Because that’s what professional athletes do.  Hayward has been pretty good when he’s been on the floor this season.  But he has missed some time.  And he has been a little snakebitten here over the years with injury.  Jaylen Brown’s cap hit goes from 6.5 mil to almost 24 mil next season.  Jayson Tatum still needs to get paid.

Could Gordo become a casualty, either at the deadline this season, or next summer?  Despite the obvious ties to Brad?  Well, the deadline has passed.  But was that possibly being bandied about as a potential move before the deadline?  And may be on the table over the summer?

Remember also that Hayward was the subject of some teammates’ dissatisfaction last season when Brad forced minutes on him when he wasn’t quite ready in his return from his major injury the season before.  Taking away minutes from the likes of Brown and Tatum, who felt like they earned them with their long playoff run from the previous season.

Maybe Langford grows into that “other guy” down the road.  Some of the other kids/picks develop.  Tatum gets his dough.  And he, Brown and Kemba are the three top dogs.

Hmmmmmmmm…

I didn’t think it was a real option for this season.  But a real option over the summer?  And that perhaps is when Ainge is ready to make his “next big move”, to take the step to legitimate championship contender?

Hard to say.  But can a team really have four max contracts…or close to max contracts?

Then I see something recently where the team wants Gordo still for the long haul.

So who knows what Danny is thinking?

If I am “Trader Danny” though, I try to make a deal for a couple of veteran bench guys last week.  You already have four scorers.  You just can’t play them 48 minutes a game in the playoffs.  And you sure as hell cannot trust most of the other guys on the roster other than Smart.  As long as he isn’t shooting a ton himself, that is.  Adding some reliable veterans to fill up the main bench minutes along with Theis and Kanter would have satisfied me at least.  And Danny didn’t get it done.

I’m still not sure that adding the vet depth pieces would make them a legit contender this season.  But it would have certainly put them in a better place.

Now?

A trip to the Eastern Conference may be the best Celtics fans can hope for.

So Where Do They Go From Here?

As promised at some point in the recent past, let’s have a really, really, really early look at where the New England Patriots could be headed next season.  Take a look at the players on the current roster and their status.  What I think might happen going into next season.  Some thoughts about what should happen.  And perhaps some chatter about what we in this space here WANT to happen.

I know, the 2019 NFL season isn’t even over, free agency doesn’t start for about two months and the draft is about three and a half months away.  But QB Tom Brady’s future has been speculated upon all season.  And there are about 20 other free agents that will need to be accounted for.  So it’s fun to think about, even at this early juncture.  Well, for me anyway…

But think about it.  Arguably the best player of all time could leave this organization.  Several other marquee players could jump ship as well.  The Pats could have some significant roster turnover next season and be led by a 2nd year quarterback who barely played his first season.  Although that storyline sounds eerily familiar, let’s not put Jarrett Stidham in Brady’s class yet, ok?  Despite some late season stories by beat writers that said Stidham was making “wow” throws in practice all season.  Let’s pump the brakes on all that please.

Seriously, however, not only is Brady a free agent with some significant other players, there could be some additional salary cap casualties involving older, high priced, consistently banged up players.

Also consider the way coach Bill Belichick likes to trade, especially during the draft, when you add it all up, it is going to be a FASCINATING offseason.  Even for non-Patriot fans, as they wait to see what happens with Brady, first and foremost.  And if it indeed is the end of an era for the organization.

Per usual when we do these things, let’s take a look by position, starting today with the offense:

Quarterback:

Under contract:  Jarrett Stidham, Cody Kessler

Free Agents:  Tom Brady

Comments:  The elephant in the room right off the bat.  Brady.  What happens?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Brady spent all year kind of whining.  His behavior appeared to be about the weapons he was given to work with throughout the year.  But you have to believe it was about the money too.  How they have made him work for his money with incentives, voidable contracts and all that.  And how, after all these years, they just wouldn’t give him a three year contract to play until his goal of 45 years old.  Not for top dollar, mind you.  But I am sure for decent money.  Maybe his attitude had to do with that he is sick of coach Bill Belichick and his methods.  And even offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, as rumors had it later in the year.

Any way you slice it, Brady’s demeanor was different this year.  And it has led many to believe he will be gone as soon as he gets a chance.  For the first time in his career, he is a free agent.  So he will have that chance.

Recent rumors have indicated that he may have softened his stance however.  That he really doesn’t want to “start over” in a new city, system, etc.  If he felt that way it would be unsurprising.  But it also would be quite a sudden turn of events from what he portrayed all season.

That all being said, how much is any team across the league going to pay a 43 year old quarterback, despite being arguably the best player of ALL-TIME?  Sure, some bottom feeder could open the coffers to get Brady in and draw fans in.  Would Brady do something like that?  Hard to believe.  He has always been about winning and not the highest bidder.  And what would it feel like to him to just be an attraction?

Does Bill even want him back?  I am not so sure that is the case.  Not that Stidham is ready.  Or is even the long term answer.  But Bill may be ready to move on.  Especially if Brady doesn’t go to the offseason stuff like he used to and work with the young/new receivers to help ensure a more seamless transition into the real games?  But also…BECAUSE HE IS 43 YEARS OLD!  People seem to think this guy can go on forever.  There is simply no data for QBs to be successful at his age.  Not to mention the fact that Bill usually gets rid of guys “a year too early rather than a year too late”.  And everyone already assumes he had wanted to move on from Brady when Jimmy Garoppolo was ready to go.

Brady is not done.  He has declined, despite what a lot of people think.  But he is far from done.  But could he be next year?  Sure can.  If I was Bill, I wouldn’t hand him a 3 year contract either.  Doesn’t matter who he is.  If he would come back on a one year deal, would he be better than Stidham or a veteran stopgap such as Andy Dalton?  Damn right.  But Brady may not want to do that.

All of the above would probably be moot if owner Robert Kraft stepped in.  Don’t rule that out either.

No one knows what is going to happen.  I don’t know the right answer as to what should happen.  I am not sure what I even WANT to happen.  I could go either way.  Let Brady walk, root for him on another team, see if he can win, see if Bill can win with the replacement QB in New England, etc.  Or bring him back for at least one more year (if he will do it), surround him with better talent and make one more run at it.  After all, the last time Brady had this kind of crew at receiver, Randy Moss and Wes Welker came walking through that door the following year.

One thing is for sure:  I can’t wait for this to play out.  I am sure everyone else is in the same boat.

Next:  The remainder of the offense and specialists.

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