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Looking Ahead: Will KG And Ray Be Back Next Season?

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Marc Spears ponders whether this season will be the last of the "big four", and gives us an interesting quote from Ray:

Celtics' Big Four could scatter after season - Marc J. Spears - Yahoo! Sports

"I’m always sentimental with them," Rivers said. "I won a title with them and lost another one in a Game. 7. I think people assume they won’t be back next year. I don’t know why there is that assumption. [Garnett and Allen] are free agents, but you can sign your own free agents last time I checked.

"I don’t know if we will sign them both. We may sign one. But they’ve been great for us. Our [free agents] are probably the best ones and we will have the most money."

Rivers said he believes Garnett’s preference would be to return to Boston. "When he doesn’t think he can help a team, he’d stop playing," Rivers said.

Allen’s free-agent options are up in the air. The Miami Heat are expected to make a strong run at signing him this summer, one league source said.

"First of all, the team has to be willing to have me back," Allen said. "Then you have to look around to see what’s acceptable and who is capable of having me on the team and then you go from there. It’s hard to really say."

After the season, the Celtics will be faced with a decision: should they exercise their cap space to try to bring in new free agents, should they instead focus on signing their own free agents (potentially going over the cap to do so), or should they try to do a combination of the two?

While we'll look at these issues more extensively in the off-season, the quotes from Doc and Ray give us something to think about now. Looking at our two biggest free agents -- Ray and KG -- I see it a lot like Doc does. KG strikes me as an intensely loyal guy who will either play in Boston or retire; I can't see him joining another team to chase a second ring. There's no doubt that he'd be a great fit for almost any squad, but I think he has embraced the team, the city, and the fans.

Ray, for whatever reason, I feel differently about. Maybe it's because his name has been involved in so many rumors, maybe it's because he's had one additional stop in his NBA career, maybe it's because he hasn't been the face of the Celtics turnaround in the same way... Whatever it is, I can more easily see Ray moving on, and his words above seem to confirm that. If he does, I'd be a bit sad; there have been few things more exciting over the last few seasons than Ray hitting a clutch three down the stretch. Just thinking about him moving on makes me a little nostalgic.