2013 Boston Celtics

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Boston Celtics (Last Year: 41-40)

2012-13 Season Summary:
For the past couple of seasons, the goal for the Boston Celtics was to just get to the playoffs with everybody healthy and hope to make a postseason run. However, Rajon Rondo’s season-ending torn ACL midway through the year quickly ended any real hope the Celtics had of making any noise past the regular season.

With Rondo out of the lineup, that put a ton of pressure on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who still played at a high level but definitely were a step slower in their older age. Retirement rumors have even surfaced surrounding the 37-year old Garnett.

Boston made moves in last offseason to improve its bench play and supporting cast, but those acquisitions fell short for the most part. Jeff Green did return from a heart condition that forced him to miss the entire 2011-12 season and provided some punch off the bench. Rookie Jared Sullinger seemed like a first-round steal early in the season, but had his year cut short because of a back injury. From there, guys like Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Leandro Barbosa didn’t get the job done, and the Celtics even made some mid-season moves in acquiring Jordan Crawford and signing Terrence Williams. In the end, the team still lacked the efficiency off the bench to help Pierce and Garnett.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Kelly Olynyk/Fab Melo/Colton Iverson

PF: Jeff Green/Brandon Bass/Jared Sullinger/Kris Humphries

SF: Gerald Wallace/Keith Bogans/Kris Joseph

SG: Avery Bradley/Jordan Crawford/Courtney Lee/MarShon Brooks

PG: Rajon Rondo

NBA Offseason Transactions:

The Celtics acquire SF-Gerald Wallace, PF-Kris Humphries, SG-MarShon Brooks, SF-Kris Joseph, SG-Keith Bogans, first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and the right to swap first-round picks in 2017 from the Nets for PF-Kevin Garnett, SF-Paul Pierce, and SG-Jason Terry.

The Celtics waive SF-Terrence Williams.

NBA Free Agents:

PF-Chris Wilcox (UFA)

PF-D.J. White (UFA)

PF-Shavlik Randolph (UFA)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $73.1 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Center: Garnett isn’t the ironman he once was, and while the Celtics did draft Fab Melo last year, the team needs to add a true big man to help bang inside and take some of the low-post responsibilities away from Garnett. This need becomes even more prominent if Garnett ends up retiring this offseason, but I can’t see that happening.

There will be some guys available when the Celtics pick sixteenth overall in the NBA Draft, but since the organization just took a project in Melo a year ago, finding a free agent center would be a better route to take since it would provide immediate relief which is what Boston needs since its window is shrinking.

2. Point Guard: With Rondo’s health uncertain for the start of next season, Boston would be smart to add another true point guard to the roster. Bradley is capable of filling in at the spot like he did after Rondo’s injury, but by no means is he a true distributor or creator. There could be a couple of point guards options available at No. 16 as well, so that’s something the Celtics might look into as well with their first-rounder.

3. Shop Pierce and Rondo: I’m not saying the Celtics should definitely trade either player, but they should at least put out some feelers to see if some team is willing to grossly overpay to land an immediate All-Star caliber player. It almost seems sacrilegious to shop Pierce, but he is in the final year of his contract, and with Garnett likely to retire in a year or two (possibly even this summer), Boston needs to start looking to the future at some point. As for Rondo, if the team might be able to land a DeMarcus Cousins in a trade for him, it would have to seriously contemplate making that move. You might as well add Garnett to this list as well.

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