The Boston Celtics currently have 10 players set to become free agents this offseason, including both Hall-of-Fame talents in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.
A young Rajon Rondo at the point guard spot and a leader in Paul Pierce means Ainge will have to act swiftly and strongly this offseason to try and keep the Celtics as championship contenders. Aiming for those players that are more cost-effective will be the answer for this team, as Ainge and company know the time to win a title is now.
These are the 10 low-cost free agents that the Celtics must keep on their radar this offseason.
Jeff Green may have significant issues with his heart, yet he is undoubtedly a talent these Celtics have desperately missed this season.
Not only was he capable of playing starters minutes, as he proved with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he was also valuable in his ability to give Paul Pierce and Ray Allen rest during games.
This season both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have dealt with injuries. The Pierce injury to open up the season has these Celtics playing as poorly as they had since the Big Three-era began, as Green's absence was felt deeply this season.
Wouldn't it be something to have a Nash-Rondo duo in Beantown? Could it be that the two best passers in the game end up in the same city?
Steve Nash, depending on how much money he is looking for, would be an especially effective acquisition. Not to mention, he must also be willing to come off the bench.
Yet entertaining the idea could be interesting, as it would allow Rondo to improve his game behind Nash's leadership and undoubtedly give them all the more of a chance to compete for a title in 2012. This is a player that is as hungry for an NBA title as any, and could possibly take the pay cut and bench player option in hopes of winning a championship.
Ironically, the one player that is giving this team a headache in the second round of the 2012 playoffs is the same player this team should take a major look at this offseason.
Spencer Hawes is an especially talented offensive player that shoots well from the floor. He has a confidence in his scoring ability that most don't boast at the position.
Not to mention, as I like to call it, he is a minute-effective player. In the 24.9 minutes per game he received this season, Hawes averaged just under 10 points and a solid 7.3 rebounds per contest.
Yes, he's actually a good player and not just a Hollywood star soaking up the spotlight with Kim Kardashian.
Better known for his television appearances with Kim Kardashian, Humphries is also one of the more solid rebounding threats this league has to offer. This season, the Nets star frontcourt talent posted 11 rebounds per contest.
The mark was good for No. 4 in the NBA, as Humphries will be a player the Celtics will have to look at this offseason with hopes of bettering the frontcourt play and ultimately deepening the rotation.
With a career-best 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season, it's especially difficult to argue against bringing back Brandon Bass to the Celtics frontcourt rotation.
Bass is a player that opens up the floor for the Celtics offensively by creating space with his strong jumper. His mid-range touch proved imperative this season for the Celtics success offensively, as re-signing the former Magic forward is a must.
Hasheem Thabeet would be a risky acquisition for this team, yet it may be one that works out in their favor.
Thabeet boasts size like none other. The 7'3'' beast from UConn has a strong shot-blocking ability and poses a major threat defensively. The risk with Thabeet is that he has yet to prove himself in the league, and has been tossed back and forth between the D-League and the NBA.
Considering he has done little in the league he would be a low-price signing, and perhaps the Celtics may want to take a chance on this talent. It is hard to argue with his size and the Celtics know they must get bigger inside in order to compete for titles.
Boston Celtics, it might just be time for Linsanity in Beantown.
Although a restricted free agent in 2012, Jeremy Lin could well be an option that the Celtics consider.
Lin was able to revitalize a struggling Knicks team and get them into playoff form before his season-ending injury. What Lin would give the Celtics is a strong backup point guard that is more than capable of also playing the two-guard alongside Rajon Rondo. Not to mention, he's also a proven winner, which is an especially hard quality to come by in this league.
The Knicks may not have it in them to offer Lin a contract, as he has played just 35 games with the team this season. If Lin wants out of the Big Apple, the Celtics must hop on this prospect. At just 23 years of age, there is plenty to like about this up-and-coming talent.
Greg Stiemsma is a restricted free agent that the Celtics must retain this offseason solely for the defensive energy he brings to the table.
Stiemsma is a talented shot blocker that has the potential to play major minutes for this team going forward.
Just how impressive was the Wisconsin baller? Stiemsma was No. 2 in the NBA in blocks per 48 minutes, trailing Oklahoma City Thunder shot-blocking king Serge Ibaka.
The 16-year veteran is piling up the years, yet his production is piling up high as well during these 2012 NBA Playoffs.
During the regular season, Garnett averaged 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. This postseason, Garnett is up to nearly 20 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Talk about a change to recognize.
Now in a Game 7 duel with the 76ers, Garnett has been the leader of this team throughout these playoffs. He has been the go-to guy offensively and still the anchor of the defense. Giving up the Big Ticket is anything but the answer, as he continues to prove his worth.
The Boston Celtics have been significantly short in the frontcourt over the last couple of seasons, and could well use the talents that a free agent like Roy Hibbert brings to the table.
It might come as a surprise to many, as it is believed that he will be getting the big money this offseason. Yet keep in mind, this is still an unproven talent that hasn't exactly earned the big bucks.
The Pacers center boasts size that allow him to bang around in the paint with some of the bigger inside threats in the game. He moves well defensively considering his side and boasts a high basketball IQ in the half-court set offensively.
Under a coach as well-rounded and experienced as Doc Rivers is, Hibbert could become that much more of an effective pick up. A costly acquisition, Hibbert is well worth the fat contract if he can continue to help Boston contend for titles.