Predicting Which Boston Celtics Players Won't Be Back Next Season
The Celtics, who seem to be settling into the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, have a lot of work to do with their roster. Though they have control over essentially all their current players, their two biggest stars, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, are entering the latter half of their 30s. With their impending retirements looming in the not-too-distant future, the Celtics must make some changes over the summer.
Both Pierce and Garnett are under contract for the 2013-14 season, so this offseason's moves will likely be more tune-ups than some kind of face lift. However, some of those tweaks might be bigger than people expect.
A low-seeded playoff team has areas to improve. There are certainly subtractions the Celtics can make to improve their club, with an eye on the short and long terms.
Rajon Rondo, the Celtics superstar point guard, may not be playing his home games in the TD Bank Garden next season.
At the beginning of this season, such a statement would have been greeted with scoffs.
What a difference a couple of months make.
Before Rondo went down with a season-ending ACL injury on January 15, the Celtics were nursing a poor 20-23 record and looked to be in the middle of a lost season.
To the surprise of most, the Rondo-less Celtics outperformed the early-season model, having gone 20-15 in games since the injury.
That is not to say that losing a talented ball distributor like Rondo has made the Celtics a better team. But it has shown fans and management alike that they need not be reliant on his wizardry to compete in their conference.
It seems very feasible that the Celtics' president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, could make a push to move Rondo in the offseason.
Ainge has shown that he is willing to pull the trigger on risky trades in the past, such as the 2011 midseason trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green.
In fact, just last season Ainge tried to deal Rondo for Chris Paul, so he is clearly not reluctant to move the popular point guard.
Even with Rondo coming off a major injury, there will be a favorable market for him. The league suffers a scarcity of truly dynamic ball distributors, and Rondo heads that prestigious list; he has averaged over 11 assists per game over the past three seasons. Remarkably, despite his playing in just 38 games this season, his five triple-doubles still lead the NBA.
That is not to mention his relatively cheap salary of $12 million next season, which ups his trade value more.
The Celtics, who are currently second-to-last in rebounds per game, are in desperate need of some frontcourt help. For a player like Rondo, there will be teams out there willing to part with a great player with some size.
Who is most likely to not be on the Celtics roster in 2013-14?
Jason Terry might find himself as a one-season wonder in Boston.
With last offseason's loss of Ray Allen, Celtics fans looked to Terry to provide the roster with the sharp-shooter they have grown accustomed to watching.
No one expected Terry to be as good as Allen, but his inconsistent play this year has been disappointing, to say the least.
Terry's 10.2 points-per-game this season is just the most recent number in a disconcerting downward spiral in the shooting guard's scoring production over the past couple of seasons. His average points-per-game totals have dropped every season since 2008-09.
Boston will definitely be looking to fill its roster with young talent that can take the reins when the Pierce-Garnett era finally comes to a close. At 35 years old, Terry is not a player that can be penciled in to future plans.
There will still be some market for Terry's services. Teams that are on the precipice of championship contention would love to reap the benefits of a shooter like Terry off the bench. But with his age and recent lack of elite scoring, he won't command top value.
Terry is not the player for the Celtics next season, and they should try to get a solid young player in exchange for his services.
The acquisition of Jordan Crawford at this year's trade deadline seemed to be a reasonable move.
When Rondo and Leandro Barbosa both suffered season-ending knee injuries within a month of each other, the Celtics' list of quality backcourt players grew thin.
So, obtaining Crawford from the Washington Wizards for just Jason Collins and the injured Barbosa seemed like a solid trade.
But Crawford has not really meshed with the Celtics. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, Crawford was a quality scorer off the bench for the Wizards, averaging 16.3 and 14.7 points per game, respectively.
In Boston, however, he is averaging just 8.1 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting. Additionally, his mediocre defensive play doesn't fit well on a team that prides itself on defensive excellence.
Crawford may be just 24 years of age, but it is clear he is not going to be a long-term fit in Boston. With his $2.1 million salary next season, Crawford has some trade value.
Based on the quality of player that Crawford is, the Celtics might not be able to get a ton back for him. Whatever they can muster, though, will be worth it, because it is nonsensical to retain a player who doesn't fit well with the team.
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