|Posted by paul on September 22, 2012 at 7:45 AM|
Several commenters objected to my raising questions about Dooling's departure. Well, we all have our choices to make in life, but I'll tell you this: if you choose to take on face value whatever the media and the authority figures (such as Ainge) spit out at you, then you are BEGGING to be lied to. You are demanding to be lied to. You make your choice in this life. Do you choose to be responsible for your mind? Or do you want to drink koolaide all day every day?
Furthermore, as every one of you knows, it's standard boilerplate for folks being booted, for whatever reason, to say that they are 'choosing to pursue other interests and spending time with their families'. Nothing is more standard as a cover. It's like saying 'I didn't like her anyway' when the love of your life breaks up with you.
Did Dooling call this one? Did Ainge force it? Was it a little bit of both? We may never know. It's not extremely obvious. But we do know that Ainge has a history of getting carried away with himself when he's trying to be Mr. Smarty, don't we? Maybe Dooling couldn't face getting in shape for just one more season. Or whatever. Or maybe Danny thought he was on such an amazing hot streak this summer (which he has been, for sure) that he could surely pull one more rabbit out of the hat. Celtics Blog claims that the Cs will still be on the spot for part of Dooling's salary, so maybe not. I just don't know. I know I don't believe whatever crap I'm spoon fed. That's what I do not believe.
Obviously the loss of Dooling isn't the end of the world. We still have a mountain of talent, and we have three of the smartest and most dedicated players in the league leading us. But, at the same time, I think anyone who dismisses the loss is simply whistling past the graveyard. This team is going to have to digest an absolutely massive amount of change on the run. They've made a good start, but it's going to take a solid core of veteran leadership. Dooling appeared to be a key component of that veteran leadership core. Dooling wasn't just a mascott. He was an amazingly inexpensive and reliable backup for our (sometimes) fragile point guard, and an important component of our veteran leadership corp.
I don't know how that can be overemphasized. Down the stretch last year, Dooling became the voice of the team, at times. He smoothed the waters with Rondo over and over again, which was as key as anything could be. He guided the bench into a supportive role in a championship drive that was fueled by heart, and he was openly credited by the starters and Doc with inspiring at least one key playoff victory at halftime. As others have pointed out, he seemed to the respect of KG and Rondo, a double accomplishment that's reportedly far from easy to achieve.
And let's not forget that Rondo is expected to carry a huge weight on his shoulders this season. This is a guy who was physically attacking referees less than six months ago. This is a guy whose fued with a teammate led to the loss of a key player just this summer. You all know I love Rondo. But I'm not blind. I know he is mercurial, as any truly creative person is.
We may be better off without Dooling. Last season may have been his last masterpiece - and it apparently truly was a masterpiece of veteran leadership. Now it's time for something new. And, as Jlil points out, that something new could be Jason Terry. We can see this summer that Terry has already been working hard to bond with the new guys, while singing the praises of the old guys, and generally acting like he wants to be a leader who buys into the core leadership group (not someone who is coming in as a threat to that group).
In fact, there is room to wonder if Dooling may not be the saintly character we have been led to believe he is. According to ESPN, Dooling was a key supporter amongst the players for apparent union mafiosa type Billy Hunter (not that I believe ESPN). If it's true, a big 'if' to be sure, I don't suppose it sat well with Rondo, KG and Pierce, however much they may have liked Dooling personally. Meanwhile Redsarmy reports a claim out of Orlando that Dooling is headed to the Heat. Well, that sounds like nothing more than a bizarre rumor, but the situation itself seems bizarre. Was Dooling really a latter day M.L. Carr? Maybe I never understood Carr, but to me he always came off as a guy out to eke a few more years, and even a front office career, out of playing the ra ra game for a team.
In the end, maybe Dooling's departure is best for the team. But one way or another, it changes the picture. This looks less like a team on the move, and more like a team with an awful lot of change to absorb and digest in a short amount of time. The load on Rondo just got a lot heavier. Well, if there's anyone who can take on a big challenge, it's Rondo, and it's an awfully good sign that he and KG seem to be getting tighter and tighter. Twitter has a picture purportedly of Rondo and KG playing touch football...
One of the most interesting summers in Celtics history just gets more interesting with each passing day...