Perhaps more than ever, the Boston Celtics are facing a whole lot of uncertainty heading into this offseason. Do Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce consider retirement? If not, will the Celtics elect to bring them back for another run? How will Rajon Rondo heal from knee surgery? Can he be the franchise player going forward?
Clearly, Boston faces a whole lot of decisions this summer.
The C's will also have some holes to fill.
First of all, they need to bolster their frontcourt. Regardless of whether or not Garnett is in green next season, the Celtics need some help on the interior. This is especially considering that we have no clue how Jared Sullinger is going to recover from back surgery.
Second of all, they will need to go out and get another point guard. Boston has some guys on its roster who can handle the basketball, but none of them are true floor generals. The C's are going to need to go out and get another one to give the recovering Rondo some support.
Because the Celtics ended up holding on to both K.G. and Pierce at the trade deadline, the future is a bit murky. Had they parted ways with either—or both—of them, it would have signaled that GM Danny Ainge decided it was time to go into all-out rebuilding mode. However, with both veterans still patrolling the TD Garden floor, the direction of the ballclub is in limbo.
Of course, Ainge could explore trading Garnett and Pierce again this offseason, but that may be very tricky.
Because then the two future Hall of Famers could just decide to retire, choosing not to want to start a new chapter with another organization at this stage of their careers. So, unless K.G. or The Truth decide to hang it up, Boston will likely enter the 2013-14 campaign with both players on the roster.
That's not a bad thing, either.
Perhaps Ainge decides one more attempt at glory would be appropriate, considering that Rondo's injury put a significant damper on this year. Maybe he decides that he wants to give the trio one more go and will try to fill out the roster to accommodate them. There is a very good chance that that happens.
Fortunately for the C's, they can depend on free agency to satisfy some of their needs. While it is incredibly difficult to make trades, it is not all that hard to sign free agents. Obviously, the Celtics will need to have cap space to make that happen. Fortunately, Ainge has displayed an uncanny ability to fit talented groups of players together within the means of the salary cap before.
There is no reason to believe that he can't do it again.
You would have to think that Ainge's first order of business would be addressing the problems down low. He doesn't have to sign any star big men; just guys who can do the dirty work inside and rebound the basketball. Boston has been in dire need of those types of players ever since Kendrick Perkins was dealt, and maybe now Ainge will finally be able to fill that gaping hole.
What Boston is fortunate enough to have is a solid group of young players who have already proven that they can play in this league. Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee and Sullinger are all very good talents, and assuming they can all stay healthy, they should be a big part of the team moving forward. You can potentially add the two newly acquired players, Jordan Crawford and Terrence Williams, to that list.
A healthy Sullinger may be the biggest wild card here, as he demonstrated excellent skills on the glass before going down with the back injury. With some NBA experience under his belt, one would guess that he will only get more savvy as he progresses, perhaps diminishing the need for another big up front.
Will he eliminate the need? No, but he could at least make the situation less bleak.
As mentioned earlier, Ainge would then probably go for a backup point guard. Although Williams has shown some pretty nice point guard skills during his limited time with the C's, that is not his natural position, so it's hard to believe that he is the answer there. Finding a reserve floor general should not be much of an issue. During the offseason, there are generally always numerous guys out there who can fit that mold.
With June being four months away, the Celtics front office has a lot of time to think about this, but it seems somewhat logical to think that Boston will attempt to go for one last run next year.