The Boston Celtics have managed to keep two of their major free agents in Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers. Danny Ainge had maintained all along that Pierce and Rivers would be back in the fold and they were right.
Doc did his customary end of season soul searching and got the thumbs up from his family to go for one more championship drive.
The present climate in the NBA speaks of desperation; there are teams who don't have the wherewithal to patiently build a franchise. They are looking for the latest and greatest without concern for the long-term effects on their financial health.
The Celtics on the other hand will pick and choose wisely as they continue their search to fill their roster.
The Celtics need to convince Ray Allen to take less money for another run with the Green. Boston can ill afford to tie themselves to a long term contract with Ray.
Allen will not command as much money on the free market, but the Celtics should not entertain offering more than a three year deal. He may have been the healthiest of the three physically, but he has been hot and cold in the playoffs for the past two seasons.
Ainge and Wyc Grosbeck now face the dilemma of what to pay Allen. They can't afford to offend him especially since they just gave Pierce a contract worth $61 million. How much will be enough to keep an aging but efficient sharp shooter?
Do the Celtics have a plan B if he decides to take the money or are they looking to spend their money to sure up the middle because of the Perkins injury?
If they fail to keep him in the family the Celtics can make a run at J.J. Reddick or Kyle Korver.
Korver would not command the full mid-level exception, on the other hand, Reddick most certainly will. The Celtics may have a chance considering the kind of money the likes of Drew Gooden and Amir Johnson are getting on the open market.
Tony Allen is also an important part of the equation after successfully showing that he could be trusted in the post season. Other teams, like the Los Angeles Lakers have taken notice and Tony will be hard pressed not to take the money.
It will be interesting to see if T.A. would consider wearing the purple and gold after such a heart wrenching loss in the NBA Finals.
He has always professed his love and loyalty for the Green; this off-season negotiation will tell just how much the team who nurtured his game really means to him.
There are a lot of concerns about the 'big three' having maxed out on their playing potential. They are what they are and the warts that they used to be able to cover up with athleticism are now more visible to the naked eye.
Danny's task is to find role players who can help minimize those warts and who are willing to play defense.
There are a lot of questions to answer still, but the Boston Celtics will have a good chance of winning the 2010-11 Eastern Conference crown if Ray Allen returns.