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The Antoine Situation

I've been reading some if not all of the various threads on Antoine,
including Norine's, and I disagree to some extent, though I will say I
have come around to the idea of trading him IF NECESSARY.

It's useless to talk about not paying a young star until he's proven. 
If you have a young Larry Bird, a young Jordan, a Tim Duncan, you have
to lock them up plain and simple.  Few teams can afford to buy an nba
first team type player, since few teams have the cap room and money
and are attractive to top  free agents.  Generally if those players
move it is to teams that are either championship contenders and/or big
media markets and/or sunny.  Boston is none of the above, which is why
Antoine and Falk have us over a barrel.

That having been said, people are right who say that Antoine's numbers
are illusory.  His scoring average is deceptive, since he gets so many
shots, but given the amount he goes to the line and the quickness
advantage he has over every other 4 in the league, he should either be
scoring more points or shooting a higher percentage.  More
importantly, you can't give them the ball in any given crucial
situation and feel confident he will score.  He gets his points in the
flow of his 40+ minutes a game.   Fine.  And he hasn't shown me that
he is a great passer  (Malone, Coleman, and Barkely are all better,
off the top of my head).  He is definitely a great rebounder, and
there is where the crux of the issue lies.

We will have a power forward under contract in Popeye Jones who can
rebound with Antoine.  If we lose Antoine at big forward, we lose all
his scoring, but I doubt that will be a problem, given Kenny's passing
and the addition of Paul Pierce.  Furthermore, since Antoine is
undoubtedly, for all his flaws, a true superstar-caliber talent, we
should be able to move him, if they can work out the cap room, for a
middle aged star center like David Robinson or Alonzo Mourning or
Dikembe Mutumbo, the veteran star this team desperately needs in the
locker room and in the paint.  Then you would have scoring and
rebounding and shotblocking from the center position, which should
more than make up for the scoring you lose with Popeye replacing

I am warming to the idea of David Robinson, although I doubt it would
happen (where is San Antonio going to get 20 M?) since he is a true
leader and a great, great player who only has been in the league eight
years.  But other than him or the other two, who could we get of
Antoine's value?  I mean, given that he's jerky, and misses a lot of
shots, and all the rest of it, the bottom line is that you're talking
about a forward who rebounds like a center and handles the ball like a
guard, a 21-year-old all star.  The guy oozes confidence and his
teammates believe in him. 

 I have to think that Paul Gaston, when all is said and done, will
bend to the pressure of Pitino's potential wrath.  He didn't coronate
this guy to sour their relationship this early.  But to sign Antoine,
we still have to have at least the threat of a trade.  Pierce provides
some security (don't think he doesn't) but we have to find something
that could legitimately work for us.  Maybe Olowakandi.  Spreewell and
the number five and salary cap relief was interesting, but we didn't
pull the trigger on it, and came up smiling as it worked out.  The
truth is, Antoine may be too valuable to move and too valuable to
sign.  Pippin?  Who?  

This is a bittersweet time to be a celtics fan.  We have four all star
caliber players on our team, and money issues threaten two of them
before they've even had a chance to gel.  One things for sure.  If we
lose Antoine, I want Ron locked up until doomsday.


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