End of an Era?
From 1987 to 2007 The Boston Celtics went 53-61 in playoff games and did not win a single championship. From 2008 to 2012 the Celtics went 54-39 in the playoffs with one championship (it would have been two but a Kendrick Perkins knee injury hurt their chances in 2010).
After a devastating finish to their season the Boston Celtics have several question surrounding them. I can pretty much sum it up with two words; what's next? Five years ago the "Big 3" was put together via two trades (Allen from Seattle and Garnett from Minnesota). The initial thought was that these three aging stars (Paul Pierce was a mainstay on the Celtics since being drafted 10th overall out of Kansas in 1998) would compete for three season's and then management would break them up. Allen, Garnett and Pierce defied all critics and proceeded to compete for the next five years. Now the team has to make some tough decisions. The emergence of Rajon Rondo has many fans believing he will now be the engine that runs the next group of Celtics, but who will his teammates be? This article will bring up a lot of interesting choices Boston's general manager Danny Ainge will have to deal with this off season. I did a similar breakdown of the Los Angeles Lakers on May 21st. Before I get into things, I want to say that Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the NBA and I am in no way saying he should be gone. I think they need him more than any one of these players. Doc Rivers, in my eyes, is the second best coach in the game today, only behind Greg Popovich and just in front of George Karl.
Free agent to be, Ray Allen probably won't return next year. There was rumblings of him being dealt to the Memphis Grizzles (for O.J. Mayo) this past trade deadline mostly due to his 10 million dollar contract and aging skill set. The only way Allen returns to the C's next year is by taking a major pay cut, I don't see that happening.
- Landing spots for Allen: Heat, Lakers, Clippers, Grizzles, Spurs, Knicks and possibly the Bulls.
Garnett, like Allen, is also a free agent to be. Garnett made 21 million dollars last year and if he does return to Boston I would have to think he would want his next contract to be at least 2 years and worth roughly 15 million a year. Between Allen and Garnett, I think Danny Ainge would prefer to have KG because he offers an inside presence that every title contending team needs.
- Keep in mind Garnett was reluctent to leave Minnesota 5 years ago. I wouldn't be shocked to see him playing along side Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love in 2013. To be honest, I'm secretly wanting him to return to Minnesota.
Most every fan wants "The Truth" to retire a Celtic. Many nay-sayers will look at his playoff numbers and ask if he's worth the 15 million they're paying him. Don't forget Pierce was nearly traded to the Nets earlier in the season but the deal fell threw when New Jersey (now Brooklyn) got offered a better deal by the Trailblazers. He has one year left on his contract and I think it would be in the best interest of the team to shop him around and then hold onto him if the plausible return isn't what they are looking for.
I think he's a legit face to this Boston team. I've been asking a lot of Twitter followers if they think Rondo is elite and the general response was that he is nearing some elite company (Williams, Rose, Nash). The best asset the C's have moving forward is their back court. Rondo (age 26) and Avery Bradley (age 21) will be a hard combination to guard in 2013 and beyond.
I like Bass but he has the option to opt out of his contract, which would make him a free agent. He's going to want more money after averaging over 11 points and 5 rebounds this postseason. A postseason where he shot 92.2% from the free throw line. A power forward with his touch at the free throw line and work ethic is hard to come by.
Bench Free Agents
Potential Free Agents on the Market- 2012 Team
Carlos Delfino- Bucks SF
Carl Landry- Hornets SG
Eric Gordon- Hornets SG
O.J. Mayo- Grizzles SG
D.J. White- Bobcats PF
Rudy Fernandez- Nuggets SG
Brian Scalabrine- Bulls PF
Brandon Rush- Warriors SG
Jason Terry- Mavericks SG
Andre Miller- Nuggets SG
Marcus Camby- Rockets C
Leandro Barbosa- Pacers SG
Matt Barnes- Lakers SF
Ersan Ilyasova- Bucks PF
Gerald Wallace- Nets SF
Steve Novak- Knicks SG
I'm going to throw out 5 combinations of lineups and bench players that make sense to me.
Possible Lineup 1: Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Bass and KG
Possible Bench 1: Mayo, Novak, Dooling, Pietrus, Wilcox, Hollins and Daniels
Possible Lineup 2: Rondo, Bradley, Wallace, Bass and KG
Possible Bench 2: Terry, Novak, Dooling, Pietrus, Stiemsma, Hollins and Daniels
Possible Lineup 3: Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Ilyasova and KG
Possible Bench 3: Camby, Terry, Dooling, Barnes, Wilcox, Stiemsma, and Daniels
Possible Lineup 4: Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Bass and Camby
Possible Bench 4: Wallace, Mayo, Delfino, Barnes, Novak, Dooling, and Stiemsma
Possible Lineup 5: Rondo, Bradley, Wallace, Delfino and Dwight Howard
Possible Bench 5: Dooling, Barnes, Pietrus, Wilcox, Stiemsma, Hollins and Daniels
I also think that Brian Scalabrine will most likely sign with the team. He was a fan favorite from 2006 to 2010.
If you have an idea on what the Celtics should do or you would like to discuss their situation in depth, feel free to comment or find me on Twitter @Awies28