2010 Offseason Timeline (So Far)

As if losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers wasn't dreadful enough, the Boston Celtics were suddenly immersed in waves of uncertainty over the immediate futures of several prominent members of the organization. Would head coach Doc Rivers return, or elect to head home and spend more time with his family? Would Paul Pierce opt out of the final year of his contract and seek a new team? What did Ray Allen's future hold? And how long would it take Kendrick Perkins to recover from a torn right ACL? 

With only Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, and Kendrick Perkins serving as the virtually guaranteed returners, and the team already battling the salary cap, it was nearly impossible to accurately predict how president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would assemble a 15-man roster. 

Alas, August is upon us, and, after two and a half months worth of moves, we're suddenly looking at a roster on the cusp of that 15-player limit. But it wasn't enough to simply add players for the sake of adding them. Over the course of his flurry of offseason moves, Ainge has thus far managed to keep his team on the short list of next season's title contenders. How exactly has it all happened? Let's take a look back and find out. 
Sunday, June 6, 2010 - Associate head coach and defensive architect Tom Thibodeau reportedly accepts an offer from the Chicago Bulls to become their next head coach. Long before even the NBA Finals were decided (and the offseason technically began), it was clear the Celtics' sideline would not be the same the following season. Thibodeau, the man responsible for one of the league's premiere defenses would be moving on, and appropriately so. Thibbs earned the job, and while his new gig might be with one of next season's conference rivals, we can still quietly wish him well. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - In the first quarter of Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins leaves the court with an apparent right knee injury and does not return. It is later revealed he has torn his right ACL. As mmmmm pointed out in the comments: 

Not only did it probably decide the series outcome, but it obviously has had a huge impact on how Danny has had to approach the offseason, especially combined with Sheed's retirement.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 - The Celtics fall to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 7th and deciding game of the NBA Finals. Doc Rivers's personal future as head coach of the team is immediately plunged into doubt, as months earlier it was initially reported he was considering leaving the team at the end of the season in order to spend more time with his family. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010ESPN reports that reserve big man Rasheed Wallace will retire. This news wasn't completely shocking, since Rivers mentioned in his postgame press conference following the Game 7 loss to the Lakers that he felt Rasheed would be hanging them up for the final time. Now it was simply a matter of how Wallace would go about it. Would he file for retirement through the league office and save the Celtics the cap space, or would he negotiate a buyout? Interestingly enough, Wallace has yet to actually retire, and appears to be waiting purposefully, so that the Celtics have the freedom to use his contract in a deal that could land them another impact player. Either that, or he's reconsidering his initial decision and could be back in a Celtics uniform next season. As of Monday, August 2, both options are still on the table.

Thursday, June 24, 2010 - With the 19th and 52nd overall picks, the Celtics select Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody, respectively, in the 2010 NBA Draft. Bradley, a 6'3 guard out of Texas is touted for being an NBA-ready defender, while Harangody had a terrific career at Notre Dame, and was named the 2008 Big East Player of the Year. The Celtics announced shortly after drafting Bradley that he would need surgery to repair a sprained left ankle, but he would be ready for the start of training camp. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - After reports surfaced that he was leaning in the opposite direction, Doc Rivers announces he will return to coach the Celtics for the 2010-2011 NBA season. This was perhaps the most important move for the Celtics early in the offseason, as it cemented the team's direction for the following season, at the very least. Doc staying put was something of a confidence boost regarding the team's ability to retain the services of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, in order to make another run at an NBA championship. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - On the eve of the official free agency period, ESPN reports Paul Pierce will opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent. While it was widely believed Pierce would negotiate a new long-term deal with the Celtics, the possibility of him leaving did exist. Doc Rivers returning made that second option less likely, however.

Thursday, July 1, 2010Marc Steins posts on his Twitter account that Pierce and the Celtics have engaged in contract discussions, and that the C's are the only club Pierce is currently speaking with. Celtics fans rejoice. 

Friday, July 2, 2010 - Paul Pierce and the Celtics reportedly agree on a new four-year, $61 million contract. It's unclear whether or not the fourth year is guaranteed. Minor details, right? Celtics fans rejoice some more.

Saturday, July 3, 2010 - Woah...Hold the champagne. According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, that new four-year deal the Celtics and Pierce reportedly agreed upon the day before, has not actually been agreed upon. That pesky fourth year is holding up the deal, apparently. Pierce wants it guaranteed. Celtics fans are catapulted back into uncertainty. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010 - The deal is back on. The Celtics fully guarantee the fourth year of Pierce's new four-year contract, and the two parties finalize an agreement. Some fans are slightly concerned over the length of the deal. 

Monday, July 5, 2010 - The Celtics announce they've signed Semih Erden, who they drafted with the 60th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Erden is most likely being brought in to help stabilize a front line that will be shorthanded until Kendrick Perkins returns from his right knee injury. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010Ray Allen and the Celtics agree on a new two-year, $20 million deal. Slowly, but surely, the pieces are coming together. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - The NBA salary cap for the 2010-2011 season is set at $58 million. The Celtics are already exceeding it. They can still offer free agents a portion of, or the full Mid-Level Exception, as well as the Veteran's Minimum. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010 The Boston Celtics agree to terms with free agent power forward/center Jermaine O'Neal on a two-year contract worth the full Mid-Level Exception. 

Monday, July 12, 2010 - In a somewhat surprising move, Tony Allen agrees to a three-year contract worth approximately $10 million with the Memphis Grizzlies. Allen's departure puts Boston in a somewhat tricky situation, seeing as they owned Allen's Bird Rights and were at liberty to exceed the salary cap in order to re-sign him. With Allen gone and the Celtics in desperate need of depth along the perimeter, they can now only offer free agents the Veteran's Minimum. The options are not very appealing. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010 - Speaking with reporters during a scheduled conference call, Pierce, perhaps disheartened by Allen's sudden departure, admits he isn't fully satisfied with the team's offseason thus far:

"I thought it was a great move picking up Jermaine [O'Neal], giving us an inside presence in case Rasheed [Wallace] retires, but sometimes I'm looking at all the players signing and wish we would get on the ball a little bit," Pierce said. "I trust in Danny [Ainge] to put a good team around us, but I'm sitting here watching all these good players fall to other teams."

Thursday, July 15, 2010 - Aiming to replace Tom Thibodeau's presence on the bench, the Celtics hire former New Jersey Nets head coach Lawrence Frank

Friday, July 16, 2010 - The Celtics and Nate Robinson agree on a new two-year contract. The team would make the official announcement three days later. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010Rondo reports he's happy with the Celtics' offseason thus far. Take that, Paul. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010 - The Celtics continue to reassemble last season's roster by re-signing guard/forward Marquis Daniels to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Considering the lack of overwhelming perimeter players available in free agency, taking a second chance on Daniels is one of Boston's best options. A thumb injury derailed Daniels's first season in Boston, and the C's are clearly expecting better production if he can stay injury free. That could be a big "if". 

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - Second round draft pick Luke Harangody is expected to join the team in Boston and come to terms on a rookie contract. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - The Celtics add more perimeter depth by agreeing with Von Wafer on a one-year deal worth the Veteran's Minimum

And there you have it. Contrary to popular belief (particularly by those who don't follow sports teams during the offseason), plenty of things have happened for the Celtics since they fell in the NBA Finals. It was Danny Ainge's job (as usual), to assemble a roster he feels can compete for a title next season, and so far, his moves are commendable, particularly when you consider the very, very little he had to work with financially. And keep in mind, we're only at the beginning of August, and training camp doesn't start until October. Ainge still has plenty of time to make more moves. There's still the matter of Rasheed Wallace's contract, and when Harangody signs there will still be an open roster spot. Are we looking at the final product right now? Most likely not. But, as this list exemplifies, we've certainly made significant progress. 

So, what do you think? Are you happy with the moves? What else do you want to see happen?
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