The Boston Celtics had a nice five-year run with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce leading the team. They won a championship and had three other deep runs in the NBA playoffs.
Boston lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and fans heard the team’s death rattle. Garnett and Allen are free agents this summer and even Pierce’s future in Boston is questionable.
Rumors are swirling about what GM Danny Ainge will do this off-season. Could he blow the team up and rebuild around Rajon Rondo or sign Allen and Garnett for one last run? The duo will have plenty of suitors, but would they give Boston a hometown discount?
Gary Washburn of Boston.com had an interesting article about the moves Boston could make this off-season. He seemed pretty optimistic about the ‘Big Three’ staying together for the next season or two, if they took a pay cut. The Celtics could offer Garnett a two-year deal with the incentive being an extra guaranteed year. Allen would have to sign a much smaller contract with a lesser role, most likely being a 3-point specialist. Boston would have enough money to re-sign Jeff Green, who is coming back from heart surgery.
Washburn’s scenario is plausible, but could Garnett and Allen ignore the temptation of signing with a team who has a better chance at winning a title?
Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News reported on Sunday that the San Antonio Spurs will take a long look at Kevin Garnett this summer. The Spurs were only two wins away from making it to the NBA Finals and an extra piece. Garnett alongside of Tim Duncan is a scary thought for Western Conference teams.
Ray Allen will also have his share of suitors. A 3-point specialist is in high demand, but he wouldn’t be getting a lot of money. He would be signing with a new team strictly for the opportunity to raise another banner. The Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls all need a player with Allen’s skill-set. The Bulls would be an interesting fit with Richard Hamilton and Allen both coming off screens. It would be a defensive nightmare for teams, but both players have lost a step.
My money would be on Ainge orchestrating a maneuver that keeps the ‘Big Three’ in Boston for at least one more season. Boston has three of the first 51 picks in this year’s NBA Draft, but could use the D-League system and to keep a player or two down there to keep roster spots open.
Boston already has a young core of players waiting on the bench. Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson, and E’Twaun Moore could be productive players in the league. Bradley has already shown his worth as a spark plug who can play both sides of the ball. A full season of a Bradley/Rondo backcourt could lead to another deep playoff run, even without Garnett and Allen.
If Ainge decided to blow up the team, he wouldn’t have to do a lot. If he chose to move some pieces for elite talent, Boston has assets…especially with the amount of draft picks they own in this very deep draft.
Let’s hope that Ainge makes a decision without flipping a coin…even if it would be much easier.
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