The Heat looked more energized than the Celtics in all aspects of the game.
Miami basically dominated what was supposed to be an epic series, pitting two contenders against one another.
The Celtics must look into altering their roster for next year so that they have a chance at revenge against the Heat.
Some of Boston’s players are getting up there in age, so it’s time the Celtics start thinking about adding younger depth players that can contribute immediately. However, the team still has the major pieces to be a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference.
Here are five moves the Celtics should make to prepare themselves for a title run next season.
Both Carlos Arroyo and Delonte West will be free agents this offseason. They are both point guards, and did an adequate job backing up Rajon Rondo.
West filled in superbly with 10 points after Rondo was forced to leave Game 5 with a sore elbow and back.
Arroyo has good range from downtown, which is always valuable of the bench.
Since Boston will likely address other needs, the team should look into only bringing back one of these players.
Both have shown they can be solid reserves, so either would be a serviceable option.
Shaquille O’Neal’s historic career is winding down, and the Celtics already have too many aging players to deal with the Diesel.
The problem is that Shaq has a player option for next season.
If possible, Boston should look into releasing the big man and pursuing other options down low.
He would have been a big help to the Celtics if he were on the court for the entire series. However, Shaq was limited to just 12 minutes in two games against the Heat.
Though he’s a legend, the Celtics have to explore players that can help them in the present.
The Celtics are scheduled to pick late in the first round, and a possible option might be Purdue power forward JaJaun Johnson.
Johnson averaged 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Boilermakers this season.
Despite the .294 shooting percentage from downtown, Johnson actually has a decent three-point stroke.
Kevin Garnett is not the 25-15 player that he once was, so Boston should look into adding some depth at the forward position.
With some work, Johnson could also fill in for Paul Pierce at small forward.
Johnson would make sense as Boston’s first-round pick, and could be an immediate contributor to the roster.
While Boston has relied on its outside shooting, a dominant center could go a long way.
Losing Kendrick Perkins hurt the chemistry of the team, especially since Nenad Krstic and Shaq had difficulty making up the slack.
Jermaine O’Neal had some solid games—including in the playoffs—but he is better suited as a reserve player at this point in his career.
Nene Hilario is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Denver Nuggets to become a free agent. He would revitalize Boston’s front line and give Rajon Rondo a scoring option down low in addition to Kevin Garnett.
Tyson Chandler may also hit the free agent market. Chandler enjoyed a breakout year with the Dallas Mavericks, who may be wise to hang onto the talented center.
Adding a bone fide starting center would give Boston much more depth on the bench, rather than having to start a player like Krstic or O’Neal. Krstic is a free agent anyway, and may not be back to begin with.
Though other teams may be prepared to offer Jeff Green a starting role, the Celtics should look into keeping him as their sixth man.
Green has all sorts of talent, and would likely find plenty of playing time on a team that includes Ray Allen and Paul Pierce—both of whom will need their rest.
Green is a restricted free agent, so the Celtics will have to match the contract offer of another team in order to keep him.
A full season of Green understanding his role and producing could be just what this team needs.
The Celtics should also do what they can to re-sign Glen “Big Baby” Davis. He too may receive offers to be a starting power forward on another team. However, Boston needs depth behind Kevin Garnett, and there aren’t many better options than Big Baby.
Basically, the Celtics need to keep the core of their roster in tact while adding a few role players via free agency and the draft to earn a trip back to the NBA Finals.