Blakely: C's build for future, deal with present

Blakely: C's build for future, deal with present
July 10, 2014, 10:30 am
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CELTICS DRAFT PICKS
YEAR PICKS
2015 Own 1st Rd, Clippers 1st, 76ers 1st (Top 14 Proctected)
2016 Own 1st Rd, Nets' 1st, Cavs' 1st (Top 10 protected)
2017 Own 1st (Option to swap w/ Nets)
2018 Own 1st, Nets' 1st
TOTAL 8 (could be 9 if Philly makes playoffs in '15)

ORLANDO, Fla. — At some point today, the three-team deal involving the Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers will become official.

Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller will become Celtics and Danny Ainge will have a new addition to his baseball card-like collection of draft picks.

Marcus Thornton.

Tyler Zeller.

They're decent players.

But additions that make you think of "fireworks?"

Not.

Even.

Close.

The deeper we get into this offseason, the clearer it becomes Ainge and the Celtics will have to operate on at least two parallel tracks when it comes to rebuilding this team.

On one route, there is the acquisition of talent with the goal being to flip it for more immediate help in the form of proven, superstar-caliber talent.

And then there's the longer and, right now, more likely path, which unfortunately is similar to last season, with the exception being that this roster will have more talent, but not quite enough to contend for anything other than a playoff berth.

Boston's biggest disposable offseason asset this summer, the $10.3 million trade exception from the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett deal, is gone.

And in conversations with various sources around the NBA, the Celtics have not done enough to entice the Minnesota Timberwolves into seriously considering a trade that would send Kevin Love to Boston.

The Celtics' best shot at landing Love would be for Minnesota to begin the season with him and the team struggle, which would make the Timberwolves more inclined to accept a trade heavy on draft picks and not so much on actual proven talent.

So, void of adding a superstar like Love, the Celtics are starting to look more and more like the teams we saw in the preceding years prior to the blockbuster additions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in 2007.

While Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck was hoping to see "fireworks" this summer, Ainge and company have preached patience, well aware that so many factors beyond their control come into play when it comes to landing one of the game's best players.

But fans aren't trying to hear that.

They want to win ... NOW!!!

It's only been a couple years since Boston was among the NBA's elite, but it feels like so long ago.

That's what happens when you're in a town such as Boston that sees success through the prism of title runs and championships.

Fans for the most part, could care less about progress or how hard it is to put a championship-team together.

It's supposed to be hard.

Otherwise, perennial losers like Milwaukee and Cleveland and Sacramento would be, you know, not perennial losers.

The Celtics have standards that for the most part, are higher than those set by most NBA teams.

So, the idea that they will be better next season sounds good, but it won't be enough to satisfy the appetite for success that this city has come to expect.

Despite their middle-of-the-road status (and that might be a bit optimistic, all things considered), there is clear and undeniable hope around the corner.

As the roster is constructed now, the Celtics will shed more than $41 million next summer in salary, which will provide ample cap space to add a couple of significant, high-impact players via free agency.

Among the free agents-to-be for 2015 are Brooklyn's Brook Lopez, former Celtic and current Charlotte Hornet Al Jefferson, Soon-to-be New Orleans big man Omer Asik, ex-Harvard star Jeremy Lin of Houston and of course, Minnesota's Kevin Love, unless the Timberpuppies do the right thing and trade him at some point prior to the NBA trade deadline in February.

As we've talked about before, Boston hasn't exactly been a must-see for free agents looking for a new team.

And now that the Celtics will be flush with cash, the progress that Ainge and so many others within the Celtics organization have talked about when it comes to free agents will indeed be put to the test.

And maybe just maybe, that'll produce those "fireworks" that Celtics Nation has been longing for and this franchise desperately needs going forward.