Boston Celtics Poised To Make Another Run At Championship

Randy JacksonContributor IJuly 8, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics moves the ball while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With all the hoopla that has surrounded the star-studded cast of free agents and the "Summer of 2010," the 2009-10 Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics have taken a backseat.

But they like it that way.

The same core group that surprised the world by beating Cleveland and Orlando in the Eastern Conference Playoffs—and came within a quarter of winning the NBA Finals—will remain intact for at least another season.

Although there are still many question marks with this team—notably the health of starting center Kendrick Perkins—Boston will have the same pieces in play to make another run at the title.

In the span of a little more than a week, the Celtics have brought back coach Doc Rivers and free agents Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

There was some question whether Rivers would return to the bench for another year, but he could not pass up the opportunity to raise banner number 18 in the Boston Garden.

"I want another crack at it with this group," Rivers said after he agreed to stay on as Head Coach.

With the balance of power seemingly shifting every day in the NBA, the Celtics have many holes to fill.

Rasheed Wallace, a valuable contributor during the Celtics playoff run, has played his final NBA game.

The Celtics are actively pursuing possible replacements for Wallace, including former All-Star Jermaine O'Neal, who averaged 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 28.6 minutes in 70 games last season for the Heat and could provide the Celtics with a valuable reserve forward.

There is also some speculation around the league that the Celtics could bring in 15-time All-Star Shaquille O'Neal.

There is no question that Boston's "Big Three" are past the primes of their career, but as they showed this past season, there is no counting them out.

Staying healthy is the main concern with Allen, Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and do not be surprised if Doc Rivers and company limits their minutes throughout the course of the season.

As Rajon Rondo continues to develop into one of the top players in the league, only time will tell what will happen with the Celtics.

Don't sleep on this group. With the same core back and possible help coming, the Celtics will look to show that their run to the Finals was no fluke.