Throughout the 2010-11 NBA season, the Big 4 were forced to play huge minutes due to an unreliable bench headed by sixth man candidate, Glen Davis, and an injury plagued team.
Davis will join the likes of Ray Allen and Delonte West as unrestricted free agents this summer. Jeff Green is the only Celtic that is a restricted free agent.
In this edition of “Outlook on the Offseason,” we will look at which free agents will be staying and who is leaving.
Allen exercised his player option and will return to the Celtics for yet another season. As one of the best conditioned athletes in the sporting world, there is no reason to believe he was ready to hang it up just yet. Allen shot a career-high field goal percentage (49) and three-point percentage (44), in his 14th season nonetheless. Allen wasn’t a victim to the injury bug and was relatively healthy throughout the 82-game season. His ability to hit clutch shots and pull this veteran team back into games is reason enough to bring the all-time three-point shooter back for another year.
Boston threw away one of the best defensive centers in the league to acquire Jeff Green as a backup to Paul Pierce. Green was streaky throughout the season on the offensive end, but his defensive capability is exceptional. His work against LeBron James throughout the second round matchup was better than most expected and will continue to solidify himself as a defensive force. Green did show signs of brilliance in a garbage game toward the end of the season, as he went for 20 points and 15 boards in a loss to the Washington Wizards, then 14 points and seven boards in a regular season ender against the New York Knicks. For all they gave for him, the C’s can’t give up on Green just yet.
Although suffering a broken wrist and enduring a preseason locker room fight, Delonte West had a solid return to Boston. After being drafted by the Celtics in 2004, West was somewhat of a journeyman before returning via free agency last season. West sacrificed a starting job elsewhere to back up starting guards Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. His production and relentless hustle makes him likely to return to Boston next year.
The biggest position the C’s needed to fill during the offseason just got bigger. The Big Shamrock, Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement from the league right before Nenad Krstic jumped ship to Russia in lieu of the potential NBA lockout. O’Neal was injury-prone throughout the second half of the season and couldn’t will himself to finish out the last stretch of the playoffs. Krstic’s offensive abilities were on display quickly after his involvement in the Perkins trade. He proceeded to suffer multiple knee injuries and was passed in the rotation by Jermaine O’Neal and Glen Davis as the playoffs rolled around.
The Celtics cashed in with yet another productive second round pick, but his immaturity issues has caused Boston to become anxious with him. From his nickname, “Big Baby,” to a fight with childhood friends, Davis has refused to simply grow up during his time in Boston. He has shown flashes of brilliance, throughout the 2009 playoffs in place of the injured Kevin Garnett and in the 2010 Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, for example. Unless Davis can turn things around, something he has refused to do in the last four years, “Baby” might just end up in a different uniform next season.
-The ‘Other’ Guys
Carlos Arroyo, Von Wafer, Troy Murphy and Sasha Pavlovic will all, most likely, end up among the free agency heap. Wafer played in a serviceable 58 games throughout the season, but only saw time on the parquet floor during injuries to West and Rondo. Arroyo, Murphy and Pavlovic all signed as free agents during “Spring Cleaning,” when the C’s traded away the likes of Semih Erden, Luke Harangody and Marquis Daniels. The new three were unable to complement each other or get accustomed to the Celtics system.
With the lack of scoring off the bench, and their inability to hold onto leads, Boston will focus their offseason efforts on bolstering their bench and finding a legit center to complete their starting five.
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