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Friday, February 25, 2005
To 'Toine or not to 'Toine 
First, I want to say farewell to Jiri Welsch. In the simplest terms possible, you were a guy on the wrong team at the wrong time. Stacked on the depth charts behind 2 superior athletes who fit the system better and have all star potential, there was no future here for you. I believe you'll have a decent NBA career once you get some reliable playing time and the confidence that comes with it. Take care and best of luck with your future.

And now, the two little words that will probably consume the Celtic Nation for the rest of the season, playoffs (yes, we'll be there) and offseason: Antoine Walker.

Less than a month ago, I was trashing every trade scenario I came across that saw Antoine Walker back in a Celtics uniform. The very public spat on the way out -plus- the history of DA's commentary on his game -plus- DA was still in charge now, meant that it seemed highly unlikely that Walker would ever see Celtic green on him while Danny Ainge was still drawing breath. I closed posts with comments like, "I liked 'Toine too, but it was time to move on". "He's not walking back through that door". You know, that general stuff you say to be polite when you just really want to tell someone that they are living in the past or some alternate reality where the rules of common sense and logic have no influence.

But today,.....today requires penatance. To those who ignored popular convention and the rules of the CBA - those who ignored the perception that AW and Dannyboy hated each other - those who ignored the fact that the team had turned a corner to a path that before he left the Celtics, Walker seemed unwilling to follow down - to all those who spent your work days on RealGM running trade scenario upon trade scenario for that elusive combination that could get Antoine back - To all those and any others I've missed who dared to dream the dream: This day is yours. I salute you.


So,..... do you 'Toine or not?

I do. I know that I'm going to catch endless amounts of flack for writing those mere words but I'm defiantly stating them anyways. Be proud of who you are, I always say. I'm a Wiggler. I love the Wabble. Not matter what you call the signature move, I'm a fan. This revelation is nothing new to those who have been around me for years, but it may be to others, so why not set public record straight once and for all. After all, you were going to find out soon enough anyways.

Yes, I know all the detractions by heart: "shoots too much, bad FG%, doesn't play in the paint enough, too many turnovers, argues with refs too much, shoots too many 3's and doesn't collect enough rbs for a PF, Needs alot of shots to maintain his averages,......I can go on and on.

Let's just get it out of the way now: Yes, he's been guilty of all of the above and more at some point in the past. This however, is now and all sins need to be forgiven, even if you can't (and shouldn't) forget them.

Never! You reply. "I will hate AWful until my dying days. I hate everything about his game". Such is the case for some out there in Celtic land. So ingrained is the hate of yesteryear with Walker that the mere mention of his name in certain circles can trigger vomiting and rage enduced embolisms. The aforementioned group of people will take the place of those who couldn't let RD's past be his past either. They will ride him endlessly and every little mistake will only bring forth "I told you so" commentary. However, 'Toine won't likely ever win them over like RD's done with many of his skeptics. The best AW can hope for is to not provide them fodder for complaints on a regular basis. And so it shall be in Celtic Nation. Not a day will pass that the debate won't rage on.

There are worries about how this affects our rotations and playing time for the young post guys like Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins. There are worries that 'Toine can't or won't adapt and play his role. There are worries that if GP doesn't come back here, that this trade has essentially exposed a glaring weakness at the PG position. There are worries that 'Toine will try to over-handle the ball. And there are so many more issues out there that I'm sure will be brought up.

Will this trade turn out to be a positive for the Celtics? Whether the relationship last only a half season or ends up being longer, the answer is YES. With the exception of GP, we're not rid of anyone we'll miss. If GP comes back, we're in a position to compete with what appears to be an upgraded Philly team. If he doesn't, then we'll have to see how the team has planned for this but we're still a better team at the end of the day. If 'Toine can be used the right way and he plays that role well, this team is going to be very hard to beat, IMO.

I can ramble on about this for days, but I'm sure people already have angry comments to convey concerning what I've said and on all other matters related to 'Toine. Jeff will be adding his own 2 cents later on so save some of the feeding frenzy for him.

# posted by hagrid @ 2/25/2005 12:15:00 AM - Message Board

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