NBA Draft 2012: Allen, Garnett Free Agents; 6 Keys to Boston Celtics Offseason
Following a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics and Doc Rivers need to look to the future in the next couple of days. Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are both in the last year of their deals, and neither is a lock to wear Celtic green for another year.
With that in mind, let's take a look at what the Celtics need to do this offseason to rebuild and recover.
1. Re-Sign Kevin Garnett
Although Kevin Garnett may retire following tonight's loss to the Heat, if he does decide to come back for another season, the Celtics need to make sure they sign him.
Yes, his skills are declining, but he upped his game in this year's playoffs and there's no questioning the drive and determination of the 36-year-old big man. Even if Garnett doesn't play as well as he did this year, he would still be an important part of the team, even if it would only be in a capacity of mentoring younger bigs on the roster.
Yet he is also the heart and soul of this Boston franchise.
It's unimaginable to think of Kevin Garnett in a jersey that isn't green and white, and there's no reason that should change.
2. Let Ray Allen Walk
It's really hard to say this, especially after all that Ray Allen has done for this franchise.
Most Celtics fans remember his play in 2008; they remember the countless buzzer-beaters that he hit and the huge impact he had in the Finals series against the Lakers.
And through it all, Allen has been the consummate professional. He doesn't have the intensity of Kevin Garnett or the leadership skills of Paul Pierce, but he has a calm, quiet demeanor that allows him to change the tide of a game no matter what the score.
That being said, Allen's time in Boston is probably up.
Although he's still a fantastic shooter, his other skills have atrophied; he's no longer the same defender he used to be, and he isn't as quick getting off screens as he used to be.
With the emergence of Avery Bradley, there just isn't a need for a shooting guard like Ray Allen on the Celtics anymore.
Although it pains me to say it, the Celtics need to let him leave as a free agent.
3. Re-Sign Jeff Green
Jeff Green's career hasn't been as great as many expected it to be when he was selected as the 5th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
But he's definitely still an above-average forward, despite being somewhat of a tweener.
Although he looked lost on the court at times last season, he was still trying to fit in with the Celtics after being traded 49 games into the season for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.
Green missed the entire year with a heart problem, but is a free agent and will be ready to come back to the game next year.
It doesn't hurt that Green has expressed interest in returning to Boston.
Boston needs young talent, and Green can be a solid part of a quick rebuilding effort in Beantown.
4. Draft Forwards and Centers
The Celtics already have their backcourt of the future in Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.
They can get bench players for their backcourt in free agency, but this year's draft is too big for them to focus on landing role players.
Instead, good frontcourt players like Royce White and Arnett Moultrie are likely to be available when it is the Celtics' turn to pick.
The C's, having two back-to-back picks in the draft, need to focus on replacing players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the long run, as well as obtaining a defensive-minded center like Fab Melo or Festus Ezeli.
This year's draft class is the best place for them to look to fill those needs for the future.
5. Sign Nicolas Batum
This one is a long shot, given the fact that Batum is a restricted free agent and has a lot of suitors after him.
However, there's no denying that signing a younger player with a lot of upside like Batum will drastically improve the Celtics.
Batum is not only a great defender, but also a 3-point marksman, having shot 39.1percent from behind the line this year.
He could become Boston's best long-range shooter and help space the floor, allowing for easier buckets inside for power forwards like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green.
This would be a huge signing, but it would also likely force Avery Bradley to come off the bench, as Paul Pierce would probably be shifted down to the shooting guard position where he played earlier in his career.
6. Sign a Bench Scorer
It's truly amazing that the Celtics were able to get through the entire season and make it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals with such a horrendous bench.
For example, Mickael Pietrus, who played the role of sixth-man for much of the season, was signed only a day before the season started.
A bench rotation of Keyon Dooling, Avery Bradley, Pietrus, JaJuan Johnson and Ryan Hollins doesn't inspire fear. It might actually inspire laughs.
The Celtics need a James Harden-esque bench scorer who can get into a rhythm leading the second unit. I would love it if Ray Allen could be that leader, but he seems to be more inconsistent off the bench and would probably receive a higher salary as a starter for another team, like the Clippers.
The C's need to target players like Jerryd Bayless, Lou Williams, OJ Mayo, Ryan Anderson and Ersan Ilyasova this offseason if they want to stay competitive.