"That's all, folks."
After all, the Big Three looked ready to ride off into the sunset, with the contracts of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen expiring and Paul Pierce contemplating retirement. The roster was gutted, and there were no franchise-changing free agents on the market that didn't play the same position as the Celtics' lone star, PG Rajon Rondo.
There seemed to be few avenues to rebuilding the Cs, beyond waiting out the year and hoping a franchise player would waltz into their open arms before Rondo's prime was wasted.
Somehow, GM Danny Ainge took a bucket of spare parts into the garage and emerged with a functional vehicle. It may not be the Ferrari of NBA contenders—depending on your point of view, that would be either the Heat or Lakers—but Boston's squad certainly has a chance to make a deep playoff run.
That means the Celtics' championship window—originally thought to be three years—now enters its sixth season.
And that, in turn, means we can take a look at some of the marquee matchups between the Celtics and rival title contenders.
Keep in mind, there aren't any duplicate teams on this list—so while Ray Allen's January 27 return to the Garden is a huge storyline, consider it covered in the first Heat slide.