With the end of our season coming at the hands of the Miami Heat last night, the Celtics head into a very long offseason. A lot of questions now surround the franchise, and they will have to be answered before the beginning of next season.
Will the Big 3 return next season, or are they going to retire? Is Danny Ainge thinking of trading both 1st round picks in this year’s draft or will he keep them? Who will be returning next season? These are the type of questions that the Celtics organization face. Right now, they’re at a crossroads. They could try bringing back everyone for one last year, which is something I would advise Boston not to do. Or they could take the rebuilding road, and with the money they’ll have this offseason, they could attract some good young players.
As I take a look at the possible scenarios, I think the chances of the Big 3 not coming back are very likely. Pierce has said a few times this season that he is considering retirement. Kevin Garnett gave every last ounce of energy, passion, and heart in these playoffs. I’m just not sure how much he has left in the tank. Lastly, Ray Allen has said he’d like to re-sign with the Celtics, but according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Allen has the New York Knicks and Miami Heat high on his list if he doesn’t return next season.
Keeping Current Players
So with all that in mind, what foundation can the Celtics build on for next season? Keeping Rajon Rondo is a must, so lets stop talking about trading him. Rondo can lead this team, and he did an excellent job this season.
Avery Bradley is another player worth keeping. He has become one of the best defenders in the NBA, and he has the potential to develop a very productive offensive game.
Brandon Bass is also someone I would keep. Bass has turned out to be one of the biggest steals we’ve gotten from a trade in a long time. He has become a legitimate starter in the league, and if he decides to opt out of his contract, the Celtics have the money to offer him a decent amount.
There are plenty of good quality, young, athletic players in this year’s free agent market. Roy Hibbert is the first player that comes to mind. Hibbert can rebound, score in the post, and is a force down in the paint. He’d definitely be my first candidate to go after in this offseason. There are a lot of other role players that the Celtics could sign. There are two in particular that I think we’ll see in green and white next year.
Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox. Both these players have already said they’d like to return to Boston next season. Seeing that both came off of open heart surgery, most teams are not going to offer them big contracts. Just from watching how Danny Ainge operates, I think he’ll sign both Green and Wilcox to 1 year deals, most likely veteran minimums.
Right there alone, we have a nice young core to build on for the future. A team consisting of Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, and Rajon Rondo may not win you 50 or 60 games a season, but at least if the Big 3 retire, we are not left with bench warmers.
The next few months leading up to next season are going to be interesting. If last night really was the last game in the Big 3 era, it was one heck of a run.