In These Uncertain Times

I present these truths as self evident:

• Going in to this off season of uncertainty the Celtics have only five players under a 2012 contract without conditions—Rondo, Pierce, Garnett, J. O’Neal, and Bradley.
• Two others have player options—Allen and Shaq.
• The rest are free agents with only one restricted—Green.
• Entering last season the consensus was that the minutes of the Aging Big Three had to be reduced for their effectiveness to be maintained. Instead their minutes went up as the Celtics underwent a constant stream of injuries (in fact I believe that Baby and the Big Three were the only players on the team to avoid seriously limiting injuries).
• A championship run requires a number of elements, not the least of which is luck. Only in 2008 did Boston avoid crippling injuries to key personnel.

I posit the following as sufficiently valid to serve as working/thinking bounds:

• To contend for a championship the Big Three will require more and better help allowing them to play less but more effectively.
• While we do not know what the new CBA will include,
it is highly unlikely that the Celtics will have more options for player acquisition (if anything it will likely be fewer).
• With the five players under contract totaling over $54M there is no chance that they will have cap room for any signings other than the exceptions, whatever they may be under the new agreement.

And now for my own beliefs:

• The importance of resigning their own free agents is magnified due to the paucity of alternative methods to acquire players.
• I do NOT favor bringing in any end-of-their-career journeyman additions like the free agent additions of this past trading deadline.
• For the past four years the attraction for free agents was to chase a title riding on the coattails of the Big Three. Now the attractions should be to share a position with one of the Big Three with the chance to succeed them, play for Doc, and compete for a title.
• The most critical needs are athletic and serviceable big men.
• A key will be resigning Delonte West without using the LLE.

• I favor resigning the following:
Jeff Green—multiple years at or about the qualifying offer
Delonte West—multiple years at 120% of the minimum for which he played last year
Nenad Krstic—multiple years at last year’s salary (hope there is a buyout in the Russian contract)
Von Wafer—2 years with second as team option at minimum
Glen Davis—2 years with second as team option at last year’s salary with increased weight clauses. I actually prefer a sign and trade for someone in the $4-6M range at PF or C.
• I hope J.O. (is healthy and) stays for next year, Allen exercises his player option (has said he will), and Shaq does not (retirement already announced).
• I favor drafting best available regardless of position, buying a pick or two, and investing those additional picks in some overseas talent to stockpile.
• I favor bringing in athletic, young, long players at or near minimum on make-good contracts, 2 years with 2nd a team option:
Chris Johnson—minimum (on non-guaranteed contract with Portland)
Tony Gaffney—min (UFA)
Brandan Wright—min (RFA likely not given qualifying offer)
Josh McRoberts—min (UFA)
DeShawn Sims—min (UFA)
Joe Alexander—min (UFA)
Jonas Jerebko—min (UFA)
Earl Clark—min (UFA)
Marquis Daniels—min (UFA)
Least realistic is McRoberts but a guaranteed contract might get it done.
• I favor trying (in decending order of preference) to lure with MLE:
DeAndre Jordan (UFA)—2nd and 4th years at team option, 3rd and 5th player option
Alternative acquisition in trade for Glen Davis both with sign and trade
Tyson Chandler—doesn’t hurt to ask
Samuel Delambert (UFA)—2nd and 4th years at team option, 3rd and 5th player option
Greg Oden (RFA unlikely to get qualifying offer)—2nd & 4th years team option, 3rd & 5th player option
• With BE or splitting the MLE in offers to:
Kwame Brown
Ryan Hollins (player option $2.5M with Cleveland)
Earl Barron (on non-guaranteed contract with Portland)
Josh McRoberts

Next up, trades and draft.