Despite retaining their entire starting lineup from a year ago, the Boston Celtics will almost certainly be a different team next season.
After several years of little to security and playing time with the C's, Ray Allen decided to jump ship and go to Miami. With that, the Big Three Era in Boston is officially over. But all is not lost.
While many are blaming him for Ray's departure, Danny Ainge was prepared for Ray Allen to leave, as he added a younger, and higher scorer in Jason Terry to come off the bench. Ainge also has brought back Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Jeff Green; all key pieces for his plan of "Reload, Not Rebuild".
Even though he's brought back some of the key pieces to possible success next season, there is still much to be done. For one thing, the Front court depth needs to be taken care of. Heck, even after adding Jason Terry to the fold, Ainge apparently thinks they need another guy at the two.
With all of this in account, I present my version of what I'd want the C's looking like next season...
C- Kevin Garnett (3 Years/36 Mill)
PF- Brandon Bass (3 Years/20 Mill)
SF- Paul Pierce
SG- Avery Bradley
PG- Rajon Rondo
Bench- Jeff Green SF/PF (reportedly 4-Years/40 million)
Bench- Jason Terry G (3 Years/15 million on Mid-Level Exception)
Bench- O.J. Mayo G (Sign-And-Trade w/ Memphis)*
Bench- Nenad Krstic C (Re-Signed w/ Bird rights)**
Bench- Jared Sullinger PF (Rookie)
Bench- Fab Melo C (Rookie)
Bench- Gerald Green G/F (Mini Mid-Level Exception for $3 mill)***
Bench (RES)- Keyon Dooling G (Vet Minumum)
Bench (RES) Kris Joseph F (Rookie)
Bench (RES) Chris Wilcox C (Vet Minimum)
I understand in order for my dream to become a reality, a lot will have to happen. All of the stars indicate the remaining moves that haven't been made, but this is how I saw it panning out in my head...
*- Mayo comes to Boston on a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies that would basically send the team's 2011 draft (JaJuan Johnson/E'Twaun Moore) and future picks to the Grizzlies. Deal in the neighborhood of 3-Years, $18 million.
**- Kristic comes back to the C's from Russia, where he has reportedly decided to leave. The C's nab him with the Bird rights they have on him with a two-year deal worth about $6-$7 million. With the Bird rights, they are allowed to exceed the cap. Since he was a Celtic when he left for Russia, he still falls under the Bird rights. He rebounds well and has a decent jump mid-range jump shot... Always liked him, and I think it's important (like we did with Green), that we stick to our guns after the Perk trade.
***-Green comes back home to Boston on the Mini-Mid Level on $3 million. He resurrected his career with the Nets last season, and could provide depth at the G/F position. Essentially, he's someone that plays the role Marquis Daniels played. But his name is not Marquis Daniels.
NOTES ABOUT CURRENT CELTIC FREE AGENTS (who wouldn't come back):
Pietrus sort of becomes irrelevant with Mayo addition........Does Marquis Daniels really deserve a spot at this point?....Ryan Hollins seems expendable with the drafting of Melo....Sasha Pavlovic gets the boot with Green and Dooling back....Stiemsma seems gone to Minnesota for me. They'll make him an offer that makes it really tough for the C's to bring him back. Could come down to him and the veteran Kristic. Kristic rebounds vs. Stiemsma's blocks. Tough call for the C's....
Unrealistic, I know. But what the heck? I can dream!