We might be several weeks short of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, but it's never too early to consider who Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics should be bringing in to Beantown in 2012 free agency.
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen headline a list of 11 players that will become free agents following this season, with 10 of them considered unrestricted.
With a plethora of free agents on this team's plate following the end of this season, there is no question head coach Doc Rivers and the organization will need to make some significant changes next season as the rebuilding process begins.
These are the 10 free agents the Celtics must target during the 2012 NBA free agency period.
Greg Stiemsma, rookie out of Wisconsin, is giving the Celtics quality minutes since Rivers has inserted him into the regular rotation.
This is a player that brings his all on the defensive end, and will come at no high price next season. He is a talent that still needs to continue to prove himself, as he has shown spurts of greatness with his shot-blocking and rebounding.
As a cost-effective, tall talent at the center position, there is no doubt the Celtics make a significant mistake not signing Stiemsma back to the team next season.
If I recall correctly, Carmelo Anthony ends up getting this layup to go. But that's okay Bass, you get a pass on this one.
Brandon Bass has been a great asset for the Celtics this season, as he has been able to stretch the floor offensively with his solid jump shot. His consistent jump shooting from the elbows is exactly what this team needed to give Rondo more space on the floor.
Now a starter for this team, Bass has proven his worth. Defensively, Bass also brings a solid game to this team. He is a big body that is as solid as any player, outside of KG, when it comes to defending in the paint.
It will be a must for this team to sign Bass this season, not an option. He has been too effective and at just 26 years of age, has room to grow on a team that will soon enter the rebuilding stages.
Just give him one more chance.
Although Green had to sit the 2011-12 season, he is a proven talent that was just starting to get into things with this team.
The Celtics also gave up Kendrick Perkins for him. This alone makes a re-signing of Green all the more worthwhile.
Make no mistake about it—so long as his heart does not continue to give him problems, Green will be a Celtic in 2013.
Not to worry—soon enough, this list will venture outside of the Boston Celtics.
Daniels, although having one of his rougher seasons in his NBA career, is a solid basketball player that gives the Celtics a top-notch defender at the shooting guard and small forward spots. He averages just 2.6 points and 1.1 assists per game.
However, his ability to take out an opponent's top scorers is key for this team. It is simply a statistic that cannot be measured and will prove to be integral for this team next season.
With the veterans only getting older, expect Daniels to certainly earn himself more than 11 minutes per game next season as well. He will come at a relatively cheap cost, as his signing might be an especially cost-effective move.
Set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2012, Hawes would make a prime-time pick up for the future of the Boston Celtics.
At just 23 years old, Hawes is already proving his worth as a big man that can eventually play starter minutes. In just 25.5 minutes per game, Hawes is posting an impressive 9.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game this season.
He is a big-time advantage in the paint at 7'1'', and is especially coordinated considering his height and length.
With injuries to Jermaine O'Neal and a thin front court to begin with, the Celtics know they need the size to compete with the East's best teams.
Although highly doubtful that the Boston Celtics sign both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2013, it is a move they should strongly consider.
Considering the team's success as of late—and the potential to do utmost damage in the postseason—it could be beneficial to keep the Big Three intact in Boston next season. It will depend greatly on just how well this team does in the playoffs, as a title in Boston might be the key to bringing these two players back.
As Allen has been hurt the majority of the year, it would seem doubtful the team signs him after this season. However, with one of the smoothest jumpers in the history of the game and a work ethic as impressive as any player on the team, there is no doubt the Celtics will be considering the signing.
Expected to be an unrestricted free agent in 2012, Jamal Crawford is the type of talent that gives the team depth upon the roster.
His ability to come off the bench and score points in a hurry is something that can give a championship quality team, like the Celtics, a go-to-guy in the second rotation.
This season with the Trailblazers, Crawford is posting 13.8 points and 3.2 assists per game in just 25 minutes per contest.
A player that can produce as effectively as can Crawford in such limited minutes is certainly a talent the Celtics should be taking a look at this offseason.
Under the leadership of head coach Greg Popovich in San Antonio, Daniel Green has quietly made a tremendous impact on the West's No. 1 team.
Green has proven he is capable of playing significant minutes in the league, as he averaged just over 23 minutes this season.
He is a solid scoring threat, posting nine points per game, and a solid 6'6'' guard that can play the small forward position. The versatility he brings as well as the efficiency he has shown in his limited minutes show this player has plenty of promise in the league.
As the Celtics are soon set to rebuild, Green is a guy the Celtics could use to help keep a championship team intact in Beantown.
If the Celtics decide against re-signing Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers is the most fitting free agent this team can sign.
Hibbert, a restricted free agent after this season, has helped elevate the Pacers to a No. 3-seed in the East when the league least expected it. He has been the anchor of this team defensively, as he is averaging nine rebounds and two blocks per game this season.
On a Celtics team that predicates their play on the defensive end of the floor, Hibbert makes a tremendous fit into the team's rotation. If the Celtics don't sign Allen or Garnett, the money would be there to make the move, as Hibbert will certainly come with a hefty contract.
The return of Garnett is being debated when in fact there is no choice.
The Boston Celtics must sign Kevin Garnett in the 2012 offseason, as the future of the Celtics will rest highly on this particular move. He is the anchor of the defense, and still as efficient as any power forward shooting the basketball.
Not to mention, he has only stepped up his game late in the season, posting six 20-point, 10-rebound games since the All-Star break.
He may be getting older, but failing to sign Garnett in the 2012 season would make life especially difficult for Paul Pierce and company. Rest assured, Garnett will be a Boston Celtic in 2012 if this team expects to continue to compete in the East for the remainder of Pierce's tenure.