There are a million questions regarding the state of the Boston Celtics right now. Doc Rivers is likely going to be the coach next year, but we’re not 100% sure. Kevin Garnett might retire, and he says he doesn’t want to play here without Paul Pierce. Pierce’s skills are no longer worth the $15+ million he’s due to be paid next season, but I don’t see the alternatives as being any better. Because of his age and lucrative contract, if the C’s trade their captain it’s unlikely they’ll be able to get much value in return. And even if they could, how do you trade a guy who’s spent his entire 15 year career in Boston; the #2 leading scorer in franchise history, and one of the ten greatest Celtics of all-time?
The Celts could buy out Pierce’s contract for $5 million, but even saving $10 million next year still wouldn’t put them below the salary cap, so they have very little to gain from that option (i.e. they can’t just go sign a free agent for $10 million to replace him). And because of his ACL injury, trading Rajon Rondo doesn’t make any sense at the moment either. Not to mention the fact that Boston’s other starting guard, Avery Bradley, is a much better player when he and Rondo are on the floor together.
So what does it all mean? Despite the common perception that the Celtics will likely undergo some major shakeups this offseason, my guess is next year’s team will actually be very similar to this year’s. Probably the most logical choice for Danny Ainge is to keep his current roster primarily intact. I expect both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to suit up once more in green for Doc Rivers in 2013-2014. When KG’s arrival in 2008 helped dramatically turn the franchise around, it was widely assumed that Boston had a three year long window for success. Next year will be year 7 of the 3 year plan.
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