NBA Draft/Free Agency Preview: The Boston Celtics are Now Rajon Rondo’s Team
And just like that, the Boston Celtics went from a team that was two minutes away from the NBA Finals in 2012, to becoming a completely different team overnight. Doc Rivers was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers (just in time to help in the Clippers’ war room in lieu of the 2013 NBA Draft), and there are a series of moves that are sure to follow, as Boston’s last-ditch effort to squeeze one more run out of their remaining core of Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce. Going forward, the C’s are quite literally Rondo’s team.
Boston has a decision to make on Pierce, who is entering the final year of his contract in 2013-14. The team can buy him out for roughly one-third of his 2013-2014 salary of $15.3 million. However, Pierce is also an enticing expiring contract for another team if he is traded; particularly to a team who will vie for the services of free agents in the 2014 crop. Boston will have to make its decision within the next week or so, because the moratorium on trades and free agency signings that begins with the new league year on July 1 will cloud the waters for the Celtics’ front office. Keep in mind also that Pierce is from Inglewood in the shadows of the Staples Center, where the Clippers and Lakers play their home games.
Will Kevin Garnett retire? That remains to be seen, but early indications are that he plans to play for at least another season or two. If Boston decides to move on from Garnett, they are committed to Rondo, second-year player Jared Sullinger, Jason Terry (who had an awful season, making his trade value virtually non-existent), Brandon Bass, second-year player Fab Melo, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green. The Celtics have pieces, so do not expect a complete collapse of the team, regardless of what happens with Garnett and/or Pierce. Expect Boston to be active in free agency, whether it is to retain Garnett, trade Pierce or add another big body in the middle (which they need badly). Additionally, Boston can look for a project of a big man (which is likely all that will be available to the C’s with the 16th pick in the 2013 Draft). Otherwise, they could look for the big man in free agency and utilize the 16th pick on a wing player to replace Pierce, should Pierce be traded. Boston is in erstwhile decent shape at the point guard position (provided Rondo has no setbacks during rehab of his torn ACL), and has a plethora of small forwards and big, but inexperienced and unpolished bodies in the pivot.
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