OK, this Q and A thing is fun! This one I did with Jim from Green Bandwagon is more pressing, given that the game starts in about 5 hours.
Again, if you want to see my answers to Jim's questions, you can mosey on over to Green Bandwagon. As brilliant as I was for the Raptors fans at HoopsAddict, I feel I outdid myself this time.
By the way, if I don't get around to writing a preview for this game (which, frankly, seems like a long shot at this point), consider this your open thread.
Here are Jim's answers to my questions:
ClipperSteve: You know my thoughts on a Cassell buyout. Do fans in Boston really think they're going to get this guy for nothing? Besides, wouldn't you really rather have Gary Payton?
Jim: I think people saw the Chris Webber and Damon Stoudamire buyouts and just assumed the same would eventually happen with Cassell. Of course both Webber and Stoudamire had more than one year left on their contracts and Webber made an obscene amount of money. Meanwhile, Cassell is in the last year of his deal. Furthermore, Celtics fans seem to dismiss the fact that Shaun Livingston is hurt and there are not a lot of options at the point in LA. However, the feeling is that Cassell or his agent, David Falk, can somehow make it work. And to be fair Kevin McHale allegedly once said, "If a nuclear bomb dropped on earth, two things would survive: roaches and David Falk" after coming out on the losing end in an encounter with Falk and one of his clients. Still Donald Sterling strikes me as the kind of guy that will not be blackmailed or pressured. Finally, I have no interest in Payton returning to Boston. Most Celtics fans agree. But if you asked me what Plan B is I would be at a loss.
ClipperSteve: After so many years wandering in the wilderness, how does it feel to have the Celtics be relevant again? Use very small and understandable words, because you're talking to Clippers fans, and it may seem like a foreign language to us.
Jim: It's been surreal. I was too young to follow Bird's Celtics. So this is the first time I've followed a NBA team that wins this much. Currently I'm just enjoying the ride. If it does not work out in the end it will be a downer. But I'm just happy the team is no longer a joke. At the same time I've reflected on past Celtics teams and I've come to the conclusion that only so many teams can be legitimately good in the NBA. Therefore, it is incredibly important for fans to be able to like their respective teams. As bad as last season was I wanted to watch every night to see Jefferson and Rajon Rondo grow as players. Yes it is about winning. But I bet Knicks fans would take a team of less talented players that cared over a boat load of former first round draft picks that may or may not care and definitely don't play defense. Still I am struck by how many Celtics fans can't fully enjoy the success. They are waiting for something bad to happen or constantly see the negative in any development.
ClipperSteve: Given the package of 'prospects' the Lakers sent to the Grizzlies for Gasol, are you now pissed off that McHale soaked you in that KG trade? Seriously, are there any qualms along the lines of 'Al Jefferson is going to be 27 and making $14M when KG is 35 and making $21M'?
Jim: I was a huge fan of Al Jefferson. His development into a one-man low post clinic was the highlight of an otherwise dreary campaign last season. And like others I had reservations about trading Big Al. Turns out I drastically underestimated how good Garnett is defensively. I've never seen a Celtic defend the pick and roll quite like he does. Factor in KG's intensity and leadership skills and the deal had to made. On top of all that Jefferson is a mediocre defender. I'm not entirely sure if it an inexperience thing or an under the radar case of indifference, displayed more blatantly by Zach Randolph. Personally I hope it's the former. Also the Celtics were committed to winning with Paul Pierce. Realistically that window is closing and the Celtics are not contenders with Pierce, Ray Allen and Jefferson leading the way. Although you make a great point about KG's age. Celtics fans will be holding their breath about te age/health of the Celtics' triumvirate for this season and the next few as well.
ClipperSteve: Is there a clinic that Doc Rivers went to during the off-season to learn how to coach? Some Clipper fans would like to send MDsr there.
I'll start by saying that Dunleavy is probably a better coach if Brand can play. Obviously the off-season deals gave Rivers a more talented team, with plenty of veterans. Let's just say James Posey has a significantly higher basketball IQ than Gerald Green. And it's not close. More importantly everyone is buying in. Also Tom Thibodeau has been a huge factor as well. There is no denying that he has a track record for improving teams' defenses, with Boston serving as the most recent example. Add it all up and Rivers is now in the perfect spot to be successful. But I don't think Dunleavy is going to get better players and a defensive guru on his staff overnight. And if he did would it matter? Could he get Corey Maggette to come off the bench if he really believed the Clippers were better with Quinton Ross in the starting lineup? Is he a lame duck head coach after his public spat with Donald Sterling?
Thanks to Jim for taking the time to answer my questions. Wacky how Rivers is a better coach with Garnett and Allen, and how MDsr could be better with Brand. Seriously though, that whole Thibodeau thing is interesting - it seems reasonable that the Clippers should be looking for an offensive guru on their staff, right?