When the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals the players and coaches knew that it may have been the end of era. With Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen both being free agents this summer, next season’s team might have a completely different look.
The way point guard Rajon Rondo played this postseason makes it impossible to justify trading him, even with his attitude issues, because he is now considered as on of the best in the game at the point. Therefore the Celtics will try to build around him for the future. Paul Pierce still has multiple years left on his contract and even though rumors have spread about him being traded there is no way that Boston could get equal value for him. They would just be trading one of the greatest players in franchise history just for the sake of making a move (now that I think of it Danny Ainge has done that in the past…).
The Celtics will try to bring back Kevin Garnett although he will be in high demand due to the fact that he found the fountain of youth this post season and along with Rondo were the reason the C’s were one game away from getting to their third Finals in five years. Garnett and Celtic coach Doc Rivers share an extremely strong bond, which should be the main reason KG will wind up in wearing green and white next season.
Ray Allen on the other hand will also be in high demand but will almost definitely not coming back to Boston. Allen has been on the trading block the past few season and he has not been thrilled about it (who can blame him?). Allen who loves his teammates and the city of Boston, wants to be somewhere who wants him and with the emergence of Avery Bradley it seems the Celtics are no longer that place. Allen will have to get the bone spurs in his foot removed this offseason via surgery but the way he looked in the latter part of the Miami series his future seems promising. Teams that might be looking for his services that he would be willing to go to are the Bulls, Heat, Thunder, Lakers (unlikely) and maybe even the Spurs who are always looking for a veteran sharp shooter (ie. Steve Kerr and Robert Horry).
Jeff Green, who didn’t play at all of this season due to heart surgery, will also be a free agent this offseason. Boston will make a strong push to resign him and he will likely come back because the team did not cut him when they found out the news that he would not play in 2012, instead they aloud him to use the team doctors and facilities for rehab.
A key area that Boston needs to address this offseason is the center position, which has been a need ever since Kendrick Perkins was dealt to Oklahoma City. Kevin Garnett (if he resigns) cannot go an entire season playing center, his body just cannot handle it at this point in his career. Also the Celtics need an explosive player like Josh Smith (who is a free agent this summer) who can add a spark to the offense. Smith and Garnett may not fit well together but if any coach can find out how to maximize the two it is Doc Rivers.
One thing that does seem certain about the Celtics is that the “Big Three” (Pierce, Allen and Garnett) have played their last game together. Fans of the team have seen this coming and even gave a “Lets go Celtics!” chant at the end of a blowout loss against Miami in game 6 to thank the team for all of the good memories.
Celtics fans can only hope that Danny Ainge can work another miracle like when he landed KG in Boston back in 2007. This offseason will determine whether Boston will turn in to another mediocre team or remain at the top of the NBA. Stay tuned.
Check out our 2012 NBA Final Predictions here.