It’s safe to say that the Celtics got much more than they bargained for out of the combination of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, what with the C’s taking the Heat to Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
What was expected to be a three-year run at the title has turned into a five-year era in the storied history of the team. But it looks like the end may be near, at least for the Big Three as it’s now known.
A lot of that has to do with the contract status of two of those three players. Both Allen and Garnett are free agents this summer. A lot of it will come down to what those two want to do with their futures.
There’s probably little doubt that the C’s want Garnett back, especially with the way he played down the stretch. What’s it going to cost them, though? In order for him to be back in Boston, he’d no doubt need to take a hefty pay cut. He may be willing to do so, but there are also plenty of rumblings that he’s going to retire, so it may be a moot point.
Allen, on the other hand, may decide that he no longer wants to be in Boston. He’s made it clear early on in the offseason (following Game 7) that he still thinks he can play. If he’s going to do so in Boston, it may have to be in a reduced role after Avery Bradley filled in quite nicely at the starting shooting guard position while Allen was sidelined with injuries this past season. If he were interested in returning, particularly to take a lesser role, Allen could be a dynamic player off of the bench.
Deciding the future of the Big Three isn’t the only decision Danny Ainge and the front office are saddled with this offseason. The Celtics will have to make decisions on both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass, two players who offer interesting scenarios for the future of the team.
On one hand, you have Green, who missed all of last season with a heart condition. Assuming he’s healthy and can return to where he was before the setback, he could certainly be an interesting option. He underachieved upon coming over at the 2011 trade deadline, but if you give him an entire offseason in the system there’s reason to believe he could be an impact player. Most importantly, Green would present a level of athleticism the Celtics clearly lacked this season.
There weren’t many who knew what the C’s would be getting when they traded Bass for Glen Davis last offseason, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t call it a major success. Bass was a pleasant surprise for the C’s, especially compared to Davis who had worn out his welcome in Boston. The Celts are already lacking size, and while Bass isn’t huge at 6-foot-8, he’s able to give valuable minutes in the frontcourt.