There's still a lot of summer left to see some fireworks but that might not be in the cards this summer. There's always the trade deadline, but it is usually pretty hard to reshape a roster too dramatically mid-year. So what if Danny Ainge's plan C (or whatever letter we are on now) is to wait till 2015 and see what happens then?
Chris Forsberg lines out how the Celtics could free up as much as $48M or more in cap room next season. He assumes that Jeff Green could opt out of his deal next summer (given the way GMs spend money these days, that's not a bad assumption) and the team could use a draft pick to get a team with cap room to take the last year of Gerald Wallace's deal.
So, for the sake of hypotheticals, let's eliminate Wallace, Green, Keith Bogans and Chris Babb (the latter of whom faces an uphill battle to make this year's roster). That would leave Boston with as little as five guaranteed contracts (Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, James Young and Jared Sullinger) at a total value of roughly $17.3 million (we're assuming here that team options on Olynyk and Sullinger would be no-brainers to pick up). Boston could also retain low-cost bodies such as Tyler Zeller (team option), while Vitor Faverani, Phil Pressey and Chris Johnson would have nonguaranteed pacts.
That would give the Celtics the ability to recruit their own super team of free agents. Rondo could play the role of 2010 Dwyane Wade recruiting a few stars to play with him.
Next year's unrestricted free-agent class could include the likes of Rondo, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Goran Dragic, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Roy Hibbert (player options and contract extensions will determine just how bountiful the class is). The Celtics could pick a couple of their favorites and pitch them on being the ones to help restore the league's most successful franchise to contender status.
To me, this is yet another reason not to trade Rondo, even if there's the risk of losing him in 2015. He can come back and name his price and recruit his own set of teammates. The Celtics will also have the ability to pay him the most money because under CBA rules they can offer him the most years (with the highest raises).
If the Celtics strike out on free agency (and Bob Ryan will be quick to point out they NEVER sign big free agents - eyeroll), there are other ways you can use cap space as well, including taking bigger contracts back in trades than you send out. Considering all the draft picks we'll still have, that's a viable option. Remember, every year or so another star that was previously untouchable becomes uncomfortable with the future of his franchise and starts looking for greener pastures.
So is the potential payoff worth another year of rebuilding and struggling for wins (and the inevitable "tank" talk)? Obviously Ainge will keep looking for quicker options to upgrade the roster. But if the right deal doesn't come along, maybe this isn't that bad of a fallback plan.