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The best way to get over the disappointing end of the season is to embark on the 2010-2011 campaign. That starts with the off-season. There are a lot of questions marks for the C's entering free agency. Here are my top 5 off-season priorities and my take on the upcoming months.

1. Re-sign 'The Truth": Paul Pierce is an integral part of the Celtics team, vibe, and image. He has been the face of the Celtics for close to a decade, although he has shared the spotlight with Ray, KG, Big Al, 'Toine, Ricky Davis, and a slew of others. He can still carry the team on his back for short stretches of time and is one of the all-time best Celtics.

He may not be on the same level as Bird or Russell but his blood flows green throughout his body. As I've mentioned before, I fully expect him to opt out. He'll get more money in the long-term and have security in case he gets injured. This may also be a good thing for the Celtics. They may be able to sign Pierce to a three year deal, and at the same time open up $3-4 million in cap room. There is little doubt the captain is a Celtic for life. I'd just like to see Danny and company get him locked up early so they can focus on other issues.

2. Sign a head coach: I want Doc back. The fans want Doc back. The players want Doc back. And I'm sure Danny Ainge and the rest of the C's front office want Doc back. However, there is a strong possibility that may not happen. Would anyone blame him to step back from coaching and focus on being a father and family man? Of course not. If Boston can't retain Rivers, they should search for a similar coach, a player's coach.

Doc always knew how to treat his players. He rested them when they needed to be rested, and always involved them in huddles. With three future Hall of Famer's he essentially used them as assistant coaches in practices and on the sidelines. Getting a hard-nosed coach would be a bad idea. Doc closed the void when the locker room began to split young vs. old. I think Doc is the second most important piece to keep behind Pierce. Without him, I don't think the Celts would have made it past the Cavs this year, or won the championship in '08.

3. Retain Ray or Acquire a Comparable Shooter: This is a tough one. Part of me wants Ray back, but another part of me knows he's a liability in crunch time. He's had god awful performances in all three of the postseasons he's donned the green and white. My strong sense of loyalty wants to see him back next year, but I feel like bringing in a younger, more durable shooter may be more financially efficient.

Ray has said he doesn't expect the same $18+ million he got this year, but I don't see him taking too much less. I feel like making a run at a guy like Joe Johnson may be a better use of money. I'm not sure exactly how much room to spend the C's will have, but I think it will all come down to just how big a pay cut Allen is willing to take.

4. Make the Most of the Draft: Boston has picks 19 and 52. We've seen what Danny can do on the big stage. Personally, I would much rather bring in a player that can make a difference now than draft a raw rookie. I certainly would not take a player without serious college experience or a player from overseas. I'm no draft expert, and I won't pretend to be. On ESPN's mock draft, the C's are slotted to take James Anderson form Oklahoma, and Jon Scheyer, from Duke.

Both seem like players who could make an immediate difference. Anderson would be a nice upgrade from Marquis Daniels, and maybe TA as well. Scheyer would provide a backup point guard presence that Boston's clearly lacked in past seasons. I trust Danny to make good decisions on draft day and hopefully he can pull some strings like he did in 08 bringing in both Ray and KG.

5. Bring Eddie Back!: I'd love to see Eddie House back in a Celtics uniform next season. I can't imagine he would be much more than the veteran's minimum and I would put money on the fact that he'd love to return to Beantown. Eddie's a fan favorite, second behind Scal. He's a lights out shooter and brings energy every night. The Nate Robinson experiment wasn't a failure, but I think Eddie is a much better defender.

This is my loyalty showing through again. This is the reason I would make a terrible GM...well one of the reasons. I don't foresee this happening, but a guy can hope right? It will surely be a very telling off-season for the Celtics; one that will have a serious impact on the long-term future of the team.

Stephen Bailey 6/21/2010 10:49:00 AM Edit
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16 Responses so far.

  1. Benti says:

    I don't agree that Eddie was a better defender. I think Nate's lateral quickness made him a much faster and much more energetic defender.

    I also think that cap wise they really don't have a choice but to retain Ray, unless Rasheed retires and they get the MLE back.

  2. Bailey says:

    Nate may get a couple more steals, but against a shooting PG, he gets shot over every time. It's not his fault, but it's his big weakness on D.

  3. xxcelticsfan1xx says:

    this is so rite we need eddie doc paul and ray on this team as well as rookies with kevin rondo and perk

  4. Anonymous says:

    What about KG? Nothing was said about that?

  5. JR says:

    Yeah I'm not 100% sure about the Eddie thing. We could of used his shooting in this year's Finals (Nate actually passes on too many open looks. Eddie has never passed on an open look. lol). With that said, that ship has sailed imo. We need to add some youth and athleticism. I'd be in favor of buying another first rounder.

  6. Three Toe says:

    Nice write-up here! It's tough to pick a top 5 because off-season priorities can change so much with each move made, but I think you did a nice job.

    1 - agree 100%

    2 - While Doc is a fan and player favorite, I hesitate to say I want him more than anyone else. My concern is that he is too much of a player's coach. Yielding to your veteran players can be good at times, but how many games have we seen him underuse the bench, only to see his tired, aging starters lose leads because they've already logged too many MPG (minutes per game, rather than miles per gallon haha). This is just a theory of mine, and I love Doc and Thibs' schemes, but I wonder if another coach might have been better for this group.

    3 - agree 110% I'd love to see Ray back, or another shooter. given the team we have, they greatly benefit from having an elite shooter.

    4 - you are probably right in saying immediate impact is more important right now than long-term, given another run at a title is not out of the realm of possibility at all. The problem is that I don't see them getting anyone like this at pick 19, let alone 52. I think a higher priority might be getting another big man even if Sheed stays, cause KG and Sheed are going to need to play less MPG next season.

    5 - That would be awesome. I kind of agree with Benti's comment, and prefer Nate to Eddie since he can give Rondo rest, but another great shooter is never a bad thing. How about this, during the play-offs, was anyone else thinking, "Man, I wish we still had Bill Walker and a way to make Doc play him"?

  7. Ben says:

    I think that we need Ray AND another shooter. He has had to play a lot more minutes than the rest of the Big three, and with who he had to defend (Wade, Lebron 1/2 the time) and Kobe it is not wonder he wore down. We also need another point guard (maybe nate again if he wants to stay) who we can trust. Throughout the postseason Ray had to be on the floor with the bench to provide leadership. He has played well in all three post seasons, just not consistently he is tired, even if he is the best conditioned guard in the NBA

  8. amyy says:

    we just have to hope the truth doesn't opt out. he has one more year left in his contract but has the player option to opt out. but on the other hand why wouldn't he stay a celtic? he's one of the all time best celtics and i can't ever imagine him in another jersey other than a green one! i hope doc stays with us. we cant blame him if he decides to leave but i'm sure everyone else wants him back just as much as the fans. if ray wants another ring he'll stay with the celtics and not test free agency and accept how much the C's offer. would be nice to get another shooting guard so ray can take a break as well. all season tony allen was coming in for ray pierce and rondo. ray and pierce are players who can score anywhere they want on the court.. tony allen on the other hand is not a jump shooter as you can see throughout the whole playoffs. we need a backup SG and a BETTER backup PG. nate proved himself somewhat throughout the playoffs but there also reasons why he doesn't see much playing time which means rondo plays 42 mins per game and a game is only 48 mins long. would be nice to give rondo a break with a PG who can carry the team to a W.

  9. Karl says:

    Is there a chance we could get Joe Johnson? If so, we should make that happen. Good write up.

  10. Bailey says:

    Didn't mean to spark a storm with the Eddie comment lol. It isn't really THAT important, I just wante to throw him in there. Nate did step up in the playoffs and provides instant offense. Depending on the cap room the C's have, they could bring in a mid-level star. I think Joe Johnson may be a stretch, but in this upcoming crazy summer, it seems far from impossible.

  11. aiza says:

    just KEEP them starting 5! enough said.. we dont wanna lose them

  12. Bohemian says:

    Agreed, awesome article!

    If we could somehow manage to sign someone like Mike Miller/JJ Redick and Ty Thomas or some athleticism in the paint it would be really good for our team

  13. Bohemian says:

    I hope Wallace doesn't retire... but if he chooses so, what about adding fierce Brad Miller to our paint?

  14. CelticJay says:

    The Celts got rid of Eddie house to solidify Rondo as the team leader and to give Baby & TA a chance to play more minutes, and it worked. He's a great streak shooter but when he goes cold it really hurts the team.

    They need to sign Ray Ray. Unfortunately the only way they could get a top free agen is if they renounce him or if he signs elsewhere (even though he is unrestricted.) The Celts own his "Bird Rights" so his salary wont count against the Cap, but his $19M acts as a "salary cap" hold. It's complex, but the rule prevents rcher clubs from loading up on expensive FA's.

    They need to have Pierce opt-out and sign a 3-yr deal. Hopefully Rasheed is gone. He gave us 1 month but the rest of the year was a waste... and it really affected the chemistry.

    We need more outside shooting whether or notRay Ray signs - use the Mid-level exception. I doubt we could snag Joe Johnson (he declined an extension from Atlanta at $15M/yr). Barnes from Orlando is a free agent. He is a tough player.

    We have to draft a big man and a power forward with length - no exceptions... especially if Perk is out of action until December/January.

    I say we keep Nate Robinson - we own his Bird Rights. Also we have to keep TA.... he & Rondo are our two most athletic players.

    KG will be a year older.... but a year removed from surgery also.

    We have to keep Doc Rivers.... otherwise we might as well break up the team and start building for the future with a brand new coach.

    GO CELTICS!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    No change in the line-up, look how far we go,..........If anyone HAS to go it's Shelden, and Marquis...I'm ready to c wat Gaffney and the other guy can do 4 the team. Just re-sign Ray and "The Truth", pray that Doc stays, and try 2 talk some sense into Sheed....we need SHEEDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!....pick well in the draft and let's start the 2010-2011 Season!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    First of all love the article. Secondly I love Eddie House he was my favorite Celtics player. I would love for him to come back. Im thinking I should start a "bring eddie back to boston" petition.

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