Monday, July 16, 2012

Celtics Almost Done Building Roster

On Saturday, the Celtics officially announced the re-signings of Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, and Chris Wilcox.  The team held off on announcing that Jeff Green re-signed and that they had signed Jason Terry as they try to manipulate the salary cap to try and add another big man and a shooting guard but both players will be in a Celtics uniform next season.

Danny Ainge is looking to make the signing of Terry into a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks in order to to create enough space under the salary cap to sign another shooting guard.  The team is supposedly targeting Courtney Lee and O.J. Mayo to fill that spot.  It will be tough to pull off a sign-and-trade because the Celtics have very few assets to offer to Dallas in exchange for Terry.  If Ainge can get it done, it will allow the team to add a player like Lee or Mayo that will help them in both the short and long term.

As for another big man it seems like it will come down to either signing Darko Milicic, who was let go by Minnesota under the amnesty clause, or re-signing Greg Stiemsma.  Adding depth up front will be key for the Celtics.  They were stuck relying on career journeyman Ryan Hollins for minutes last year so they know that they can never have enough size.

Now let's say Ainge can pull off the sign-and-trade for Terry using 2011 first round pick JaJuan Johnson, swingman Mickael Pietrus (in a sign-and-trade), and a future first round draft pick.  That would open up enugh money to add the second shooting guard and in this scenario it will be Courtney Lee.  That would leave just enough room to add the additional big man and in this scenario it will be Milicic because Stiemsma may be in line to get more money from the Timberwolves, Darko's former team.  To fill out the roster we'll go with Dionte Christmas, who has played very good so far in summer league and has probably earned at least an invite to training camp.

If all those scenarios play out, this is what the Celtics could be starting the season with:

5: Kevin Garnett, Darko Milicic, Chris Wilcox, Fab Melo
4: Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger
3: Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Kris Joseph
2: Courtney Lee, E'Twaun Moore, Dionte Christmas
1: Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Avery Bradley

Bradley will start the year on the injured list due to a shoulder injury which makes it even more important for Ainge to find room to add both Terry and a second shooting guard (Lee).

The depth throughout the roster would be a positive as Doc Rivers tries to limit the minutes of Garnett, Pierce, and Terry (his older veterans) as well as Rondo (the team's floor general) in the regular season.

The rotation in important games and in the playoffs, which is hard to project because of injuries and other roster moves, would be Garnett, Bass, Pierce, Lee, Rondo, Terry, Bradley, Green and either Sullinger, Milicic, or Wilcox.

Building depth and having versatile players like Terry and Bradley (who can play either guard position), Green (who can play either forward position), and Garnett and Wilcox (who can play either power forward or center) gives Rivers a lot of flexibility in managing his stars during the season and also building a rotation in the postseason that can defeat the likes of the Heat, Bulls, Nets, and Knicks.

It won't be easy for Ainge to add all these pieces but if he does pull it off, the 2012-2013 Celtics will be right back in the hunt for a championship.

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