A Look Into the Future of the Celtics

I'm not usually one to talk about the offseason during the playoffs, but with a 72 hour break between games 4 and 5, I figured why not. Yesterday, Doc released this statement regarding the future of the Celtics, "We don't talk about it at all, and I don't think this [the window of opportunity is closing], anyway. I've said that -- I said it in the middle of the year -- I think, hopefully, we sign Ray back. I think I can say that; if not, I just got fined. I think Kevin is going to be better next year because of a year away from surgery ... So we don't think that [the window is closing]. I think everyone outside of us, a lot of people do."

It's funny that even with his future with the team up in the air, Rivers is firm in his belief that the Big Three era is not over. Only a few months ago, the whole NBA community was convinced that this was it for the aging trio. But now, with their run in the playoffs, I can't help but feel this thing isn't quite over. Let's take a look at the roster, and what the future of the C's looks like (my predictions):
Definitely Returning:
Glen Davis
Kevin Garnett
Kendrick Perkins
Rajon Rondo
Rasheed Wallace

Early Termination Option:
Paul Pierce (Opt out, resign long term contract)

Unrestricted Free Agents:
Ray Allen (?)
Tony Allen (Resign)
Michael Finley (Retire)
Nate Robinson (Resign)
Brian Scalabrine (Retire/Coach)
Sheldon Williams (Gone)
Marquis Daniels (Gone)

A lot of the Free Agents will work themselves out. I expect Finley to retire, Scal to become a coach (AKA what he's done all postseason, Sam Cassell anyone?), and Daniels and Shelden Williams to sign with other teams. Neither are real assets to the Celtics and are a waste of money to be honest. Danny can find younger guys with potential and a lower salary. I'd like to see TA and Nate back, although there's a part of me that wants to see Eddie House back in Celtics green. There's no way the C's sign both Nate and Eddie, and with the way Robinson has played this postseason, the choice doesn't seem that difficult.

As for Paul Pierce, he's said it hundreds of times. He's a Celtic for life. He wants to stay here for the rest of his career. However, he isn't an idiot. Taking the option would definitely hurt him in the long run. That means he would hit the market another year older, and less likely to get a 3-4 year extension. I expect him to opt out, and then sign a long term contract with Boston, probably the last of his playing days.

That leaves Ray Allen. I think his future is going to be determined by how much money he wants to make. There are teams out there without multiple big money players (Rondo, KG, Pierce) that can afford to offer him more than Boston. But, I do expect Danny to at the very least negotiate with him. Ray has indicated that he'd like to remain a Celtic and I know that most of the fan base wants him back. His work ethic and motivation keep him in great shape. He's still got enough gas in the tank for another Championship run or two in my opinion.

Remember than this starting five (Rondo, Ray, Pierce, KG, Perk) have yet to lose a playoff series. As old and washed up some may think of them, a fact is a fact. Just as Doc said, KG should be healthier next year. Rondo and Big Baby can be relied on for continued improvement. And even Sheed has shown what he can do in crunch time. I'd love to see the Big Three era drive on. Boston has proven this year that a steady group of core players can beat superstars with a roster full of rotating sidekicks. I'm confident this trend will remain true, especially after the summer of LeBron scrambles half of the rosters in the league.

Ok, so that's that. Now, is it Sunday night yet?