’No’ on Nocioni
Uh oh, the Andres Nocioni rumors are swirling again. Like this summer, I can only hope the outcome is a "no thanks" from Celtics GM Danny Ainge.
I know the C’s have struggled a bit of late. But Nocioni isn’t the answer. The problem is the odometer, and a 30-year-old (at the end of the month) 3/4 posting mediocre numbers with plenty of mileage on him isn’t the solution. Boston already has the talent, it just needs to hope for health and some luck. Other than a major makeover, which I certainly wouldn’t suggest just yet, this is the team that we’ve got. And it’s still a pretty good team, I might add.
Nocioni, for a season, wouldn’t be a bad addition. Talent is always nice to add. But the C’s don’t "need" him, with Shelden Williams performing as the fourth big (Williams actually has a higher PER than Nocioni and it’s not like the Argentinian plays great defense), Glen Davis on the mend to join the top five front court guys, and Marquis Daniels backing up the swingmen and coupling with Eddie House to replace Rajon Rondo off the bench. The real problem with Nocioni also isn’t the cost of players, because J.R. Giddens, Tony Allen, and Brian Scalabrine aren’t going to be missed other than for bench celebrations and post-whistle dunking contests, but rather the cost in long-term cap flexibility.
Nocioni’s deal, which pays him $7.5 million this year, would align with Kevin Garnett’s contract, set to expire in the summer of 2012. At this point, the only Celtic signed beyond that date is Rajon Rondo. If the C’s decide to play things out and let almost all of their players go, they could have space for possibly two max-contract players at that point. But, that would require convincing Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to take less money and shorter years than their play has warrented or letting them walk and withering in the standings after this season. Instead, rebuilding might be a little trickier. Adding a player of Nocioni’s quality (a good bench player but nothing more) in exchange for that much cap space isn’t the move unless the Celtics have decided on a plan requiring his cap number for years in the future. Sacrificing now for a championship is one thing, but sacrificing now AND possibly in the future, for a guy who won’t likely make that much of an impact, is entirely another.
I vote "No" on Nocioni.