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Celtics Offseason Look-Ahead: Hey, Why Not Bring 'Em Back Again?

Blowing the team up at the trade deadline never made sense to me. The plan was clear. Let the boys have one more swing at it and break up the team in the summer. It was all very simple and straightforward. I was content enough preparing for a victory lap of a season and sending the Big 3 off with a big thank you ovation when they lost their last playoff game.

Now I can't help but to start having second thoughts. The team looks as strong as they have in years and is threatening to come together at just the right time. Maybe this is an overreaction to some short term success (much of which happened against sup-par competition). Also, a lot can change in a few months (just see the last 2 months) and we could be singing a different tune soon enough.

Still, call me crazy but I wonder if we shouldn't just bring the gang back again.

(Note: I know this has been covered elsewhere on this blog - like here and here - but I couldn't help weighing in with my thoughts)

The big money contracts of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are set to come off the books this offseason. Those two will get interest elsewhere around the league and they would almost certainly command larger salaries elsewhere (Ray in particular due to his transferable skill of shooting). With that said, I wonder if both would accept a healthy paycut to finish off their careers in Boston for reasonable deals that allow us to sign 1 or 2 guys that would help bridge the gap into the next era.

The starting role likely won't be guaranteed for any of the big 3 anymore after this year, but there's no reason to toss aside great talent just to "start fresh" with a new group. Cap space is all well and good, but you need to use it to add talent or it is wasted. The only guys that would be worth clearing the deck for are locked up for another year and the rest of the free agent class (except Deron Williams) is all but devoid of star talent (and all will be vastly overpaid). I still wouldn't object to making a lopsided trade in our favor using that cap space, but if that option doesn't present itself, it might be better to go with what we know.

There's an argument to be made for a true re-do. That would mean bringing KG and Ray back, drafting a couple guys, extending Brandon Bass, signing Jeff Green and calling it an offseason. Personally I think that's still a recipe for stagnation and a slow painful regression into the no man's land of "too good to get good lottery picks and not good enough to compete." Assuming we got a couple big men either in the draft or with minimum contracts, that would likely be enough to get us into the playoffs but not much beyond (unless our players start aging like Benjamin Button).

Maybe I'm wrong and Danny can find that missing piece without making a major move. Maybe JaJuan Johnson, Avery Bradley, and the 2 first rounders from this draft are the foundation of the next era and I just don't know it. But that sounds more like the supporting pieces than the foundation. Rondo needs another star and it would be nice if Ainge could find that guy this offseason. They could enjoy the immediate benefits of playing with the Big 3 for a year or two and then they could keep things going with Rondo and the rest for years to come.

Maybe they could go after Josh Smith or maybe... well, honestly I can't even think of anyone else that fits the description above and would definitely be available but that changes every few months so I'm sure someone will pop up on our radar eventually. At the deadline you saw guys like Monta Ellis, Nene, and Bogut traded. None are superstars, but they have star type potential and more guys like that will be available this summer.

Now that I think of it, getting that star caliber player might require losing either Ray or KG in the process. Either they might be needed in a trade or we might have to clear their cap holds off the books and won't have enough left to offer them both reasonable deals. So then it becomes a question of "would you swap out (either directly or indirectly) KG or Ray for a younger star?" I think I would, as painful as that might be.

Anyway, all of this is putting the cart well before the horse. This team is clicking right now and it is nothing but fun to watch. All it does is make me think that I wouldn't mind seeing these guys stick around for another year or two. I guess we'll see.

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