As a Celtics fan, I got a lot of texts, BBMs and e-mails last night after the game. Some of them were condolence calls, and others were boastful, champagne-ridden messages from Laker fans. But you know what? I was content. Back when I wrote that the Celtics could still win the NBA Championship on March 8th, people thought I was crazy. And in retrospect, I knew that i was going out on a limb. But after this amazing series, I’m more proud of Boston’s resilience than upset with their loss.
Now that the offseason has officially started, it’s time to look forward to the 2010-11 Boston Celtics. From possible major shakeups to the NBA Draft and free agency, here’s everything you need to know.
Possible Major Shakeups
If you ask me, I was kind of upset with Doc Rivers during his press conference last night. While we all realize that Kendrick Perkins would have made a difference, to say that the starting lineup from 2008 still hasn’t lost is a bit of a cop out. And looking forward, that starting five my never play together again.
It’s widely known that if unrestricted free agent Ray Allen is going to return, he’s going to have to take a huge pay cut to do so. Crazily, Allen was the highest paid player on the Celtics this year making over $20 million. And if want’s to return to Boston, he’ll most likely have to agree to mid-level exception deal like Rasheed Wallace did last summer.
In terms of other major shakeups, six role/bench players are all unrestricted free agents: Tony Allen, Marquis Daniels, Michael Finley, Nate Robinson, Brian Scalabrine and Shelden Williams. And I can’t see any of these guys being a major priority to bring back. So assuming Paul Pierce doesn’t exercise his early termination option, the Celtics will already have of $63 million committed to their core six guys – Rondo, Perkins, Pierce, Wallace, Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis – making it hard to add key pieces. Clearly not afraid to pay the luxury tax, they’ll have to be smart filling out the roster.
As far as the Draft is concerned, Boston has two selections: No. 19 and No. 52. So with a need for rotational players, look for them to take a player ready to come in and play at No. 19. This year’s Draft especially has a surplus of solid talent. While the potential superstars are most likely tied up in the Lottery, they should find some solid prospects still available on the board. Whoever they select, they should be complementary to the nucleus of Rondo & Perkins, as they are most likely the building blocks of the future.
As noted above, with so many players being free agents, the Celtics are going to be forced to be active in the open market. If they’re smart, they do what the Knicks did this past summer and sign guys to one- or two-year deals, with the hopes of being big players in free agency during the Summer of 2012. At that point, Garnett and Wallace will be large expiring contracts, and Rondo will be the face of the franchise. Regardless, they’re going to have to sign guys, and will most likely retain
While I hate to say it, the Celtics are no shoe-in to be in the Top 4 of the Eastern Conference any longer. Despite future Hall of Famers on the roster, 82-game seasons are going to look longer and longer to guys like Pierce, KG and ‘Sheed, while Rondo attempts to push the franchise forward into the next decade. But for all the Celtics faithful out there, believe me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If the Boston brass can be smart about who they invest in this summer, they’ll be setting themselves up for another trip to the Finals before you know it.
What do you think? Where do the Celtics go from here?
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