It's never too early to look ahead for any team, and the Boston Celtics are at a crucial point in the franchise's history.
On one hand, you have a team that is just four seasons removed from a title with its core (minus Ray Allen) still intact from that year. On the other, you have a team that may need to rebuild eventually with an aging Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. What that means is the 2013-2014 campaign could be the last hurrah for the now Big Two (actually still a Big Three if you go ahead and include Rajon Rondo).
They are going to be just a hair over the $58 million salary cap imposed by the new collective bargaining agreement, but teams are always resourceful with the mid-level exception (M.L.E.) and Boston GM Danny Ainge is creative at making things happen even when over the cap. Look at the way he managed to bring in Courtney Lee via a sign and trade, and used the actual M.L.E. on Jason Terry this year to replace Allen.
Still, the options aren't the greatest with so little money to spend. There will be no signing of Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Josh Smith, or even guys like Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka, and James Harden.
Instead, these are the guys the Celtics will search for at bargain prices.