Chapter Twelve: Offseason, Struggles, and Luck The first matter of business during the offseason was to determine how to deal with Ron Artest. His indefinite suspension was reduced to season long, and it wasn’t to anyone’s surprise that the Celtics placed him upon the trading block. Eventually, the Celtics settled for a 2003 second round pick in exchange for Artest, as the Los Angeles Clippers wanted any attempt to make their franchise relevant again. In the 2002 Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers would end up with the first overall pick and they’d take Yao Ming with the pick, while the Celtics would draft Small Forward Qyntel Woods with the 20th overall pick, a man who would be out of the league in a handful of years, and Power Forward Lonny Baxter with the 43rd overall pick. The team was ready to put the 2001-2002 season behind them, the Union Brawl behind them, and ready to make the league and country remember them for their on court play. However, injuries would once again rear its ugly head. Tim Duncan would suffer a knee contusion in November that would bother him all year, Tyronn Lue would break his ankle, Jermaine O’Neal would also injure his arm in January. All in all, the changing roster and injured key pieces would see the Celtics only win 31 games, far from the playoffs. Kobe tried his best to drag the roster into the playoffs, aiming for even the eighth seed, having numbers of 24.5 PPG and 6.3 APG, but it wasn’t close enough. The Philadelphia 76ers would repeat as champions, finishing off the Tracey McGrady led Spurs in 6 games, as Dirk Nowitzki would surprisingly be named Finals MVP. The Boston Celtics would be one of the teams in the league’s lottery, even with slim odds, they were still odds. Enter the Blackball lottery. The nickname given to the 2003 draft lottery by fans. The Miami Heat would fall into the first overall pick, a lock for high school sensation Lebron James. The Los Angeles Lakers also suffered from injuries, including Shaq’s torn acl, saw them only win 35 games but still get the second overall pick. Then the third overall pick came into the laps of the Boston Celtics. “I remember talk around the team was Melo, Darko and Chris. But Tim and Marko couldn’t gel at all in workouts, but Chris and Tim was a dream, so if Melo went to the Lakers, Bosh was our guy.” Kobe remembers the 2003 draft time. The Miami Heat surprised no one taking Lebron James. The Los Angeles Lakers would pick Carmelo Anthony, their ideal replacement for Grant Hill who was getting up in age and number of injuries. The Boston Celtics would end up with Chris Bosh, making their frontcourt a terrifying duo of Tim Duncan and Chris Bosh. The Detroit Pistons unfortunately select Darko Milicic and Dwyane Wade would round out the top five to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Willie Green would be picked up with the Clippers pick in the second round and James Jones was picked with their own second round pick. Kobe and the Celtics were ready to get themselves back into the elite teams of the league after the previous three years of heartbreak and troublesome.