Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Boston Celtics Roster Next Season

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIJune 10, 2012

Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Boston Celtics Roster Next Season

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    It's all over for the Boston Celtics.  With their 2011-12 season ending in a Game 7 loss to the mighty Miami Heat, it's time to start thinking about what the upcoming offseason has in store for them.

    The Celtics head into the offseason with only six players under contract—including Brandon Bass (player option) and Greg Stiemsma (qualifying offer).  Of those players under contract, you won't find Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen, who will become unrestricted free agents in the next few weeks.

    With a lot of questions facing the Celtics this offseason it's time to play best/worst-case scenario when it comes to what the Celtics roster will look like next year.

    Ahead you'll find the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Celtics heading into the 2012-13 season. 

Worst Case: Celtics Fail to Get Younger Across the Board by Overspending

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    The overarching theme for the Boston Celtics this offseason is to get younger across the board when it comes to the talent they have on their roster.

    The average age on the Celtics' roster is 29, and to compete in an increasingly youthful Eastern Conference they'll certainly have to make sure they're much younger heading into the 2012-13 season.

    While re-signing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen might seem enticing for Celtics fans, it's time to move on from the first big three and start creating a new big three around their new franchise player—Rajon Rondo.

    The worst thing the Celtics can do this offseason is fail to acquire legitimate youth to add to their depth chart.  With aging talent like Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus becoming free agents this offseason, the Celtics need to also get younger in their second unit.

    If the average age of the Celtics is still 29 at the start of the 2012-13 season, they will be in for a long year. 

Worst Case: Celtics Overpay to Bring Back Both Garnett and Allen

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    I know I just said the Celtics need to get younger before next season, but it's going to be hard to stay away from trying to re-sign both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

    It's almost inevitable that the Celtics will at least make an attempt or two to re-sign their aging franchise talent, but there's one thing they need to make sure not to do—overpay.

    This past season, Garnett and Allen earned a combined $31.2 million. If the Celtics want to bring them both back they'll need to do so without getting anywhere near that $30 million mark.

    With Allen's recent health issues, it will be easy to bring him back without overpaying, but Garnett, on the other hand, will be in high demand this offseason with a number of teams looking to add veteran talent to make a push at an NBA title next year.

    If the Celtics want to bring back Garnett for another year or two they need to do so for less than $10 million per year.  Bringing back Allen needs to happen for under $5 million a year.  If the Celtics pay more than a combined $15 million for both players they'll be overpaying, and that's something they can't afford to do.

Worst Case: Celtics Fail to Draft NBA-Ready Players with No. 21 & 22 Picks

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    One of the best ways for the Celtics to get younger across the board is to draft players who are ready to step in and make an immediate impact in the NBA.

    Luckily the Celtics can do just that with their first-round picks in this year's NBA draft—the No. 21 & No. 22 picks.

    Last year the Celtics drafted JuJuan Johnson and E'Twuan Moore, and they combined for 6.2 point on 41.4 percent shooting, in 8.5 minutes per game.  If the Celtics draft talent that gives them that kind of production next year they would be in a very bad place.

    Drafting NBA-ready talent this offseason is a must for the Celtics, and two players who fall into that category that the Celtics can realistically pursue are Terrence Jones and John Jenkins.

    Finding players who are ready to make an instant impact in the NBA is a challenge, but it's something the Celtics absolutely must do.  That is, unless they want to be a lottery team at the end of the 2012-13 season. 

Best Case: Celtics Don't Re-Sign Ray Allen

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    When the 2012-13 season begins, Ray Allen will be 37 years old, and he'll be in the 17th year of his illustrious NBA career.

    It's integral to the Celtics' future success that they don't fall into the trap of re-signing Allen this offseason, especially when you consider the injuries he's suffered through this season and the subsequent surgery he needs now.

    While Allen's record-setting three-point shooting is certainly enticing, it's a piece of the game that the Celtics can certainly learn to live without.  They excelled with Allen on the bench near the end of the regular season and into the 2012 postseason, especially with the emergence of Avery Bradley at the shooting guard position.

    If the 2012-13 season starts without Ray Allen on the Celtics' depth chart, the Celtics would be moving in the right direction. 

Best Case: Celtics Begin the "Rebuilding" Process Around Rajon Rondo

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    It's time for the Celtics to move on without their original big three, and it's time to start rebuilding their franchise around Rajon Rondo.

    Rondo is just 26 years old, and he's also one of the most complete players in the NBA.  Not only can he be a prolific scorer when his team needs him to be, he's also able get his teammates involved at an impressively high level.

    Rondo's greatest strength is the high-level of confidence that exists in the way he approaches the game, and that's exactly what the Celtics need to start building around this offseason.

    No matter who the Celtics pursue and ultimately bring in this offseason, one thing is certain, and that is that Rondo's the kind of player who will be able to make those players around him better than they currently are.

    Beantown needs to become Rondo-ville for the next few years when it comes to professional basketball in the city of Boston.  If that happens, the Celtics would still be an elite team in the East next season. 

Best Case: Celtics Re-Sign Kevin Garnett for Under $10 Million a Year

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    The only player who's over the age of 30 that the Celtics should even consider re-signing this offseason is Kevin Garnett.

    I know I said the Celtics need to get younger, and that still stands, but KG certainly has potential to still produce, as long as the Celtics can sign him at the right price.

    This past season the Celtics payed KG $21 million, and if they want him back on their roster next year they can't be willing to pay anywhere near that amount.

    The most the Celtics should offer Garnett this offseason is $30 million for the next three years.  If the Celtics pay more than that, they'll be making a mistake that could seriously impact the future of their franchise.

    Having Garnett could help with the development of the Celtics young talent, but he's only worth bringing back if he's willing to take about a 50 percent pay cut.  If not, moving on from KG is the way for the Celtics to go.  

Best Case: Celtics Make the Steal of 2012 Free Agency

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    With so much uncertainty surrounding the Celtics roster heading into this upcoming offseason, the Celtics certainly need to be one of the most active teams in free agency.

    If they don't re-sign Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics will have gaping holes at the shooting guard position and in the frontcourt.

    With so much free cap-space heading into this offseason the Celtics should be willing to make max-contract offers to players like O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Roy Hibbert and Nicolas Batum.

    They should also pursue unrestricted free agents like Spencer Hawes, Kris Humphries and Carl Landry.

    Finding talent to complement Rajon Rondo will be a key for the Celtics this offseason, and if they manage to grab at least one of the highly touted free agents listed above, their offseason would be a success.

Best-Case Starting Lineup for 2012-13

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    PG:  Rajon Rondo

    SG:  O.J. Mayo

    SF:  Paul Pierce

    PF:  Terrence Jones

    C:  Kevin Garnett  

    6th Man:  Avery Bradley

    This starting lineup could certainly be a reality, assuming that the Celtics decide to not pursue re-signing Ray Allen and are able to re-sign Kevin Garnett for a reasonable amount.