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Celtics' Free Agency Outlook

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Well that was certainly a rollercoaster ride of a season. The Boston Celtics season ended in one of the hardest ways imaginable, falling in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the hated Lakers. The Celtics run to the finals was unexpected to say the least. After struggling following Christmas the Celtics looked lifeless heading into the playoffs. Pundits and fans alike expected them to at best struggle past the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs and then be dismantled by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. However the Celtics shocked most everyone. Kevin Garnett looked like the Big Ticket of old, Ray Allen found his touch from distance, Paul Pierce started making big shots again, and Rajon Rondo turned in some of the finest point guard play a Celtics fan had seen since the days of Bob Cousy. The Celtics suspect bench, possibly their Achilles heel all season long, turned in some excellent performances including the epic Shrek and Donkey game from Glen Davis and Nate Robinson. As promising as things looked when the Celtics were up 3 games to 2 heading into game 6 it was not to be. The C’s no showed in game 6 and then fell apart in the clutch in Game 7. For the team and its fans it was a crushing end to the season. The magical playoff run turned out to be nothing more than fool’s gold as the Celtics weren’t able to finish the job. Now as the rest of the NBA world details and follows the every move of Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, and the rest of this free agent class Celtics fans are wondering who could be the final pieces to the Celtics puzzle to push them over the top.

Looking back on what happened it becomes apparent that the Celtics need to shore up a few things before next season if they want to return to the Finals next year. The two biggest issues facing the Celtics are their lack scoring and the need of another backup big man. Finding scoring in free agency has to be priority number one for the Celtics. Assuming the Celtics bring back Pierce, which all early indicators point towards them doing, it is paramount for management to find players to help him carry the scoring load. Ray Allen, whose future is in flux, had a very up and down season culminating in a very down Finals. If Allen is willing to take the right price then the Celtics could and should bring him back. If however he holds out for three years and the market runs the price up it would make sense to thank Allen for his help in 07-08 and let him go. JJ Reddick, Mike Miller, Kyle Korver, and Anthony Morrow are all available this off season to varying degrees and they are all excellent shooters. Miller and Korver are the more seasoned and proven of the bunch and will demand more money. Reddick showed during the past two post seasons against the Celtics that he can fill it up from deep but also that he gives his all on both ends up the floor, like chasing Ray Allen all over the court and through countless screens. It would be ideal if Celtics could use the mid-level exception to grab either Miller or Reddick. However Morrow would not be a bad backup plan as he can stretch the floor and is athletic enough to help on the glass and on defense.

When it comes to finding another big man for the Celtics to take Perk’s place while he recovers and to come off the bench when Perk is back, things are a little cloudier. If Rasheed Wallace retires like he is claiming he will, and leaves the Celtics with his 6.3 million, they will have the money to bring someone in but it might be hard to find the right piece. Brad Miller is available but he continues to get older. Udonis Haslem is available but he would force Garnett to play center most of the time and that would be taxing on Garnett’s old legs. Eric Dampier is available via trade but he is a perennial underachiever with a poor work ethic. Kurt Thomas is another player who is available but at 37 years old Kurt is on his way out and may not have much left in the tank. There are also bargain basement bigs available like Tony Battie, Juan Howard, and a few other players of those ilk. Miller would be the best of the bunch and would possibly fit in well with the Celtics. He’s a big man who can bang down low but he can also shoot the mid range jump shot. If Miller turns out to be too pricey or signs elsewhere the Celtics would be wise to take another look at Haslem. While Haslem is only six foot eight he has always been a good rebounder in the NBA averaging over 8 rebounds a game in his career and he is efficient around the basket scoring around ten points a game in his career. All in all it should be an interesting free agency. Falling only one game short of banner number 18 left a sour taste in every Celtic’s fans mouth but hopefully a few key free agent pickups will be able to do a little to wash that out and set the Celtics back on the right path.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Celtics’ Free Agency Outlook | New England Sports 24/7

  2. Dmazz

    July 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Haslem or Miller please…

  3. Tyler

    July 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I still think it would be interesting to get Tmac… doubt it will happen though!

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