LeBron James signs with Cleveland; what does it mean for Boston?

Jim Rogash

More moves are on the way for the Boston Celtics...but what?

With LeBron James' move back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, shockwaves have ripped through the National Basketball Association, and one of the teams most influenced teams is the Boston Celtics because of the amount of roster versatility they possess.

Boston was the team that helped Cleveland open up the cap space necessary to sign LeBron James and could be in a position to react a number of different opportunities that will come over the course of the next few hours, days, and weeks.

Houston Pickings

It's almost a sure thing that the Houston Rockets will sign Chris Bosh and match the offer sheet on Chandler Parsons, so they will need to dump virtually every salary on the roster. They have already gotten rid of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, but more moves must be made.

Oddly enough, almost every other available player has talent and may be a player the Celtics could have interest in acquiring. Players like Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Clint Capela, Troy Daniels, and Patrick Beverley don't all need to be dumped, but at least a handful of them do.

At the least, Boston will be in a position to inquire about some of the talented players waiting to be dealt away from Houston's roster.

Unrequited Love

If Cleveland is willing to give up Andrew Wiggins in a package for Kevin Love, it's incredibly difficult seeing Minnesota passing up on the deal. No matter what Boston offers, they'll be unable to offer a player with more potential than Wiggins.

While there is no guarantee that the Cavs will put their top pick on the table, it'd be surprising if a clever general manager like David Griffin is unwilling to pass on a proven talent like Love. Assuming he makes the right move and offers a large package for Love, the implications for the Celtics could be troubling.

For one, losing out on Love suggests that the Celtics will have, at best, an average 40-to-45 win season, though another season with wins in the 20s or 30s would be more likely.

Boston would be limited to sign-and-trade options for players like Greg Monroe and Lance Stephenson if they were still looking to make a big splash this summer, but those moves still wouldn't bring them that much closer to a title.

Three Firsts in 2016

When the Celtics acquired Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller earlier this week, they also acquired a top 10 projected first round draft pick from the Cavaliers. Now that LeBron signed in Cleveland, it's highly likely that the Celtics will receive that pick in 2016, meaning they will have three first round draft picks that year.

In addition to Cleveland's first, they'll have their own and Brooklyn's unprotected first, so they will be in a prime position to either trade the picks for players or move within the 2016 NBA Draft. It may seem like a long ways away, but it'll be here before you know it.

The amount of flexibility Boston has with draft picks is quite remarkable, as they could have up to six over the next two drafts, if Philadelphia makes the playoffs next season.

The Rondo Title Window

In the event that the Celtics are unable to trade for Kevin Love or any other borderline superstar player, they have to at least think about trading their own star point guard, Rajon Rondo.

It's a grim thought that many Celts fans don't even like thinking about, but there are options out there -- albeit limited. While it's unlikely we'll see a Rondo trade come this summer, it's something Ainge and the front office should consider especially if they believe Rondo will bolt after another subpar season.

If Carmelo Anthony chooses to sign with the Chicago Bulls (as he should), then Boston's chances of a championship over the course of the next 2 to 4 seasons will be cut dramatically in the event that a star can't be found to pair with Rajon Rondo.

Considering that Cleveland and Indiana will lead the way with championship hopes this year, and maybe Chicago, it's possible that building for a run in the future is Boston's best bet at winning not just Banner 18, but multiple championships.

Even though making a blockbuster trade this summer or next is the best overall option for the Boston Celtics, having patience and slowly building towards success isn't the worst option in the world. The bottom line is that the last place the Celtics want to be is in the middle.

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