The Celtics may have not looked like a championship-caliber team for a good chunk of the 2011/12 season, but the end-of-season results were hard to argue. Unlike the Thunder, the Celtics managed to stretch their series against the Heat to seven games before falling to the eventual champs. Given how close Boston got to the Finals, a total rebuild this summer appears very unlikely. GM Danny Ainge continues to discuss his team's future in interviews, so here's the latest from Ainge on the Celtics' offseason:
- Ainge has kept in touch with Kevin Garnett, but hasn't pushed for a decision on next season yet, as he tells Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe: "I’m giving Kevin a little bit of space these last four or five days and we’ll continue to communicate. He has not made any decisions yet, but we’ll communicate soon."
- If Garnett decides to return to Boston, Ainge hopes to re-sign Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus, and Brandon Bass as well. While that would eliminate most of the team's cap space, the Celtics should still have room to add one more free agent.
- Asked if he'd like to bring back those four free agents, Ainge replied, "In my perfect world, absolutely. It was a good mix of guys, and had we been healthy this year we had a real chance. Had we had the team that we sort of thought we’re hopeful to have before the year started, I think we had a real chance this year. And we did in spite of it. We were close anyway. But there’s nobody on the team I wouldn’t want back. And now it’s just a matter of trying to piece this thing together with the framework of the collective bargaining agreement and budgets."
- More Ainge on free agency and the team's supposed cap space: "I don’t think free agency is what people think it is. I don’t have a lot of flexibility if we sign a couple of our free agents back. We only have flexibility if we allow all our free agents to go by the wayside. And our four guys are in the top 10 free agents available."
- My own note: Washburn's piece suggests the four guys Ainge is referring to are Garnett, Allen, Bass, and Pietrus. If you're going to argue the Celtics have four top-ten free agents, I would think Jeff Green fits the bill more than Pietrus. Even then, it's a real stretch.
- CSNNE.com's Rich Levine doesn't think the Celtics will use both of their first-round picks. Levine expect the team to package the picks to move up or to trade one of them for a veteran.