Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34
The Celtics are rightly focused on the present. They need to maximize this window of opportunity. However, they cannot completely sacrifice the future. Life beyond the Big 3 isn't all that far away. Rajon Rondo just signed a contract that won't end until 2015 so the subject of our future is on my mind.
Of course there's nothing we can do about tomorrow, so there's truly nothing worth worrying about. However, that doesn't mean we can't gaze at the horizon and speculate about it a bit.
There are far, far too many variables to make any sort of well defined predictions about who will be playing for the Celtics 2, 3, or 4 years from now. Barring unforseen circumstances, you can count on Rondo, Pierce, KG, Perkins, Sheed, and most likely Big Baby to be on the roster next year. Everyone else is a free agent.
The Celtics will have a good shot at bringing Ray Allen back with a short term extension. Assuming he doesn't opt out this summer, Paul Pierce will be eligible for an extension the next year. But at some point those two, along with Garnett, will transition to being support players. I expect Pierce to retire in Boston but KG, Ray, and Sheed could each eventually be moved near the end of their contracts.
At some point, the next generation (led in theory by Rondo) will have to take over the reins. Perkins is the other young cornerstone to build around, but he'll need to stay healthy and be resigned first. Having Rondo and Perkins takes care of the two hardest positions to fill, but we'll need more than that to compete for more championships.
Even though I'm a huge fan of Rondo, I just can't picture him as the alpha dog and face of the franchise. He's too introverted off the court and he seems to lack that charisma that natural leaders have that makes people gravitate toward them. (Put another way, I don't think Tom Brady's coach ever had to ask him if his teammates liked playing with him.) Perhaps as he grows and matures he'll be better at it. Remember that Paul Pierce had to work on his demeanor and image a bit. But right now, I don't see it.
Regardless, Rondo and Perkins will need at least a couple of dynamic scorers to round out the starting lineup. In an ideal world we'd find a way to bring Kevin Durant to town (but don't hold your breath). The challenge is how to bring in star-quality talent that is still young enough to hit their prime alongside Rondo and Perk.
One option of course is the draft. But the Celtics are going to continue to pick at the end of the first round and wind up with gambles like Gabe Pruitt and J.R. Giddens. We can count on Danny to find the occasional gem like Big Baby or Leon Powe, but it is really hard finding future stars that low in the draft.
Another option is to move tradeable assets for lottery picks. The C's have some expiring contracts this year and maybe they could convince a team to give us a bad contract and a good pick for our Scal and Tony, but don't count on it. For one thing, picks are like gold in this economy (cheap labor). For another thing, the Celtics will be way into luxury land as it is without taking on bad contracts. I don't know just how deep Wyc's pockets are, but I tend to think it would have to be a real lopsided deal for him to sign off on a move like that.
So perhaps the most realistic option is to use the MLE each year on guys in their early 20's (rather than thirtysomethings like Sheed). I believe Red had a philosophy of adding one very good player per year, which allowed him to sustain his dominance over the years.
Like I said, there's no shortage of paths this club can take to get into the next generation but I'm far from worried about it. It will be fun to see which approaches Danny takes. In the meantime we'll just have to bide our time watching an elite team fight for more championships.