Simple concept: The Celtics finished last season with 15 players on their roster, today we're going to vote on who will be back, and who won't be. Not exactly re-inventing the wheel, but let's see how many we can get right before Danny Ainge starts his wheeling and dealing. Let's get it started:

Chris Babb:

Babb has a team option for next season for just less than a million dollars, and it's hard to see Ainge picking it up. While Babb seemingly always was drawing praise from Brad Stevens, he appeared in only 14 games, playing a grand total of 132 minutes. He's far more likely to be used in a trade as a semi-valuable non-guaranteed contract than he is to be back.

My pick: Leave him

Chris Johnson:

Unlike Babb, Johnson came out of the D-League to really make an impact with Boston. He appeared in 40 games after being signed, averaging 6.3 PPG in 19.7 MPG and showing signs of being a legitimate "3-and-D" guy for the Celts. Johnson also has a team option for just less than a million dollars for next season, and I think his fate depends on how active Ainge is this summer. Will a plethora of players be dumped for a star, opening up spots at the end of the roster? Will Rondo be dealt with several guys coming back in return, eating up those spots? I think the odds are slightly in Johnson's favor, but it's far from a sure thing.

My pick: Love him

Phil Pressey:

Pressey also has a team option for next season for $816,000, but it would be shocking if he's not back. Pressey can't shoot (31% FG, 26% 3 PT), but man can he run an offense and play defense. The Cs were actually a much better team with him running the offense than they were with Rajon Rondo running it (no, I'm not saying he's a better player, just pointing it out), and he showed quite a bit as a rookie. He looks like a solid backup PG, and for less than a million bucks, you can basically lock him in barring some kind of trade.

My pick: Love him

Keith Bogans:

What are the odds that the Celtics decide to pay Bogans $5.3 million next season after he played six games this year and was excused from the team? I'm going to go with about 0.000000%. Bogans is actually an attractive trade chip because he can be bought out immediately, meaning he can be used to balance trades without having to pay the salary. But the odds of him being in green are nonexistent.

My pick: Leave him

Jerryd Bayless:

Jerryd Bayless is the definition of "replacement level" to me. A decent, but not great scorer who can fill in at both guard positions, plays average defense and can run an offense, but only in small doses. Yes, he's an NBA player. But how much room is there for him on a rebuilding team? If he's available for cheap and the Celtics lose Avery Bradley, maybe they bring him back. But I really don't see it happening.

My pick: Leave him

Kris Humphries:

Oh Hump, how I love thee. Humphries was amazing this season, averaging 15.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per-36 minutes of action, earning a spot in the rotation after originally not having one. He was also a consummate professional, working hard and showing up to camp in great shape despite knowing full well that he was going from a good team to a rebuilding one in his 10th year in the league. Now he's about to hit free agency, and the question is this: can the Celtics bring him back on a (way) reduced salary? He made $12 million this year, and won't approach those numbers in his next contract. Personally I see him as a mid-level exception type talent, and would be thrilled to have him back at $5-6 million per season. But if another team goes higher, I let him walk.

My pick: Love him (more me being hopeful than anything else)

Avery Bradley:

The last of the Celtics free agents, Bradley is an extremely tough call. The positives: He took major steps as an offensive player this season, averaging 15 PPG while improving his true shooting percentage from 46% in 2012-13 up to 51% this season, he's still a very good defensive player (although he didn't play quite as well), and he's a hard working kid who everyone in the organization loves. The negatives: Despite his improvements, he's still barely average offensively, he's in a constant struggle to stay healthy, and he's about to get expensive.

I've been adamant at drawing the line at AB between $5-6 million per season, shading more towards the $5 million number after yet another injury (this time the ankle) cost him 22 games at the end of the season. I honestly can't get a great feel on how other teams are going to approach AB, but there have been reports that the market isn't great for him. If that's the case, I think there's a good chance he's back.

My pick: Love him

Joel Anthony:

The last eight guys on this list are under contract for next season, but that doesn't mean they will all be back. Take Anthony for example. He's owed $4 million next year, but the Celtics are going to be very active this summer in my opinion, and his expiring deal could easily be involved in a deal as a salary balancer. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic, but I think Anthony gets moved this summer in some type of deal.

My pick: Leave him

Vitor Faverani:

Remember when Vitor went for 12 points, 18 rebounds and 6 blocks in the second game of the season and we all thought maybe, just maybe, Danny Ainge found a diamond in the rough? Well, Faverani's star faded quickly as he moved from the starting rotation, to the bench, to the deep bench, to the Red Claws and finally to the surgeon's table as he underwent knee surgery. But I think it's too early to give up on Vitor completely, especially considering his modest price tag of $2 million next season. Once healthy and given a second training camp with the club, I think Vitor can make an impact next season off the bench.

My pick: Love him

Brandon Bass:

Somehow Bass didn't get moved this season, despite the fact that he's actually pretty good and his contract is not all that bad. Now that he's entering the final season of his deal (for just under $7 million), I think that changes. Bass is a really good defensive player who chips in 10-12 points and 5-6 boards per game, and it's a damn shame that such a good role player is wasting away on a rebuilding club. Of course, if the Celtics go all in on a guy like Kevin Love, maybe they want to keep Bass around in an attempt to make a run. But I think it's better than 50/50 that he's gone.

My pick: Leave him

Gerald Wallace:

Sigh. There are $20.2 million reasons why Wallace will be around come training camp, and unlike with a guy like Bass, there's just not enough value in his play to warrant any team in their right mind to take him off the Celtics' hands. The only chance he could be moved is in tandem with Rondo, but if a team agrees to take him, Boston would likely get less in the way of draft picks and players heading their way. Get mentally prepared now for season two of Crash.

My pick: Love him (I mean I don't love him but you know what I mean)

Jeff Green:

Again, maybe I'm wearing my Ainge-colored glasses, but I think Danny is making moves this summer, and I think Green is one of them. He may need to simply take back an expiring deal for Uncle Jeff (thus shedding Green's salary in 2015-16), but it's vital that the team brings in another small forward this summer. Don't get me wrong, it's far from a lock, but it's clear that the Green experiment has not been successful, and it's time for DA to cut bait.

My pick: Leave him

Kelly Olynyk:

KO was awesome down the stretch in 2013-14, averaging 11.9 points and 6.5 boards per game with 51/41/80 shooting splits over his last 28 games played. Even more impressive, he did that in only 22.7 minutes per game, meaning his per-36 averages were 18.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Olynyk has his flaws, namely rim protection (he can't do it), and he needs to spend the summer getting into better shape. But he's really skilled and has a bright future in the NBA. Barring his inclusion in a blockbuster trade, he'll be back next year.

My pick: Love him

Jared Sullinger:

Like Olynyk, Sully will be back in 2014-15 barring something unforeseen. He took major strides this season, upping his averages to 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while playing in 74 of the 82 games after undergoing back surgery last year. Like Olynyk, I'd like to see Sullinger get into better shape this summer, and I'd also like to see him either improve his three-point shooting or stop shooting from deep. A one season experiment during a lost season is totally understandable, but Sully can't shoot three threes-per-game if he maintains his 27% success rate. Still, he's a nice building block, unless of course he's part of a package to land Kevin Love.

My pick: Love him

Rajon Rondo:

And now we get to the best and most polarizing player on the Celtics in Rondo. If forced to make a prediction right now, #9 is on the roster opening night next year, but there's no doubt one of Ainge's options is to go into total rebuild mode and trade Rondo before he hits free agency next summer.

Rondo struggled coming back from ACL surgery, but he was also jumping into the season when it was halfway over and playing with a bunch of new teammates. The real test will be next season when Rondo has a full training camp and a better rapport with the new look Cs, but if Ainge decides to go nuclear, Rondo may not get the chance to prove he's the guy to lead this franchise into the next era.

As of now I'm giving a tentative thumbs up to Rondo being here, but those odds can't be higher than 60% or so. It's going to be a really interesting summer, and the Rondo decision is a huge part of it.

My pick: Love him

Photo cred: Chad Griffith

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Michael Dyer 5/12/2014 06:12:00 PM Edit
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