Given his job as Celtics GM I’m guessing Danny Ainge must have had pretty decent seats to last year’s Celtics/Heat playoff series. I presume these good seats allowed him to see Jermaine O’Neal up close as he shot 23% from the field and 43% from the foul line. Ainge then likely used some advanced form of sabermetrics to deduce that these numbers were good enough to reward O’Neal with the Celtics full veteran’s minimum during the offseason.
Ainge’s decision to sign O’Neal seemed either misguided or overwhelmingly optimistic, but in the long run, it didn’t really seem as if it would have any long term effects on the team’s title hopes, then came last week’s trade deadline.
Ainge’s decision to trade Kendrick Perkins was a financial decision made to alleviate some of the damage caused by the O’Neal signing. Granted, the Celtics have every option not to overpay Kendrick Perkins, but given the prospective changes in the league’s CBA & salary cap, it was unlikely that Perkins would’ve found that big of a payday as a free agent. But with O’Neal’s contract on the books, the Celtics were hamstrung in trade options, except for Perkins, if they were to get younger and/or better as Ainge desires.