We're in the dog days of summer and Celtics news is going to be sparse at best. So to keep things clicking around here, we'll have to get a little creative. So I'm going to try to introduce topics to discuss. I'll try to do it daily, but no promises.
Let's talk about Ray Allen. He quietly played along as the 3rd banana all year long, hit a cold streak in the playoffs, then turned it on at just the right time, helping lead the team to the Title. He's the oldest of the new big three (though not by much). His contract comes up the soonest, which happens to be the year when LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and others hit the free agent market.
I'm of the opinion (apparently shared by management) that you simply don't even consider trading him this offseason. You have to keep the core of the team together for a chance to repeat. However, I do think you need to monitor Ray's level of play over the next year or two.
Also, keep in mind that Danny famously told Red that he needed to trade the original Big Three as their bodies were breaking down at the end of thier careers. He won't hesitate to do what he thinks is best for the team.
Some options that Ainge will face ahead:
- Keep Ray for the duration of his contract. Re-sign him to a lower salary to provide veteran leadership for the next generation or squeeze a few more years out of the current core. Ray then likely retires as a Celtic.
- Keep Ray for the duration of his contract and let him walk (renouncing Bird rights) to free up some free agent cash. Obviously depends on the team's cap situation and what Danny does with salaries over the next 2 years.
- Keep for the duration of his contract and sign & trade him to get value for him at the end.
- Trade Allen either next summer or at the trade deadline before his contract comes up. This takes advantage of teams looking to shed salary for a run at LeBron James. If the team doesn't resign Ray, we'd still have the option of brining him back as a free agent.