Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I'm bored, so lets explore the Pierce rumor one step further. Say we do the rumored deal (Paul and #18 for Nick Van Excel and #3). Regardless of who we pick with that 3rd pick, we would decline the option on Van Excel's contract and go shopping for a Pierce replacement. We would have a payroll of $32.5M with an expected salary cap of around $50M. That's $17M* to throw around.
* Update: Gabe Kahn was kind enough to point out some flaws in my math. (I aced calculus in college but can't add and subtract) First, $50 might be a bit high. They are talking about $48M right now (but I know Chad Ford mentioned $47 - $50 at some point). Also, you have to factor in a Justin Reed's option and the draft picks, so that's likely a couple million less you have to spend. All told, Gabe figured on $11M to $14M in walking around money. Still enough to land Ray Allen but not much else.
So what are our options? Best list of free agents I've seen is at NBADraft.net (of all places), where they rank the top PG's, SG's, SF's, PF's, and Centers.
To me, I think there are 2 ways to use the "new money" we'd have.
A. Use most of the money on a big name star.
That pretty much means Ray Allen. He commands near-max money and would likely be worth it.
B. Split the money between 2 or more high-quality FA's
That $17M could go in a lot of directions. I'm not sure what the market values of these guys would be, but some combination of the following players could be available at the right price: Dalembert, Chandler, Redd, Stro, Radmanovic, Joe Johnson, Hughes, Daniels, Saras, and others. If Danny really wants to build a Pistons-like squad, this would be one way to keep adding more and more talent (instead of pooling too much into one star player).
The only other option you could logically consider is hanging onto Van Excel for his expiring contract to offer in a mid season trade. However, I don't think that is very likely. I also don't think the Celtics would go Clippers-East and just horde cap space in hopes of waiting for a Kobe-type talent to become available (yes, Shaq is likely to sign an extension this offseason).
So hypothetically, if Danny made the above trade and turned over the team to you, what would you do with all that extra cash?
(By the way, there's finally a new poll up)