The big domino in the Celtics offseason fell on Saturday when it was revealed by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that Kevin Garnett would be returning instead of retiring or exploring other options in free agency.
The Celtics now are trying to re-sign Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, and Jeff Green while also trying to add free agent guard Jason Terry to the roster. I'm not sure the Celtics would have enough money to make all of that happen but if they can figure everything out financially, their roster would look like this:
5: Kevin Garnett, Fab Melo
4: Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, JaJuan Johnson
3: Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Kris Joseph
2: Ray Allen, Jason Terry, E'Twaun Moore
1: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley
We know that starting five is capable of competing for a championship, even with Garnett, Pierce, and Allen continuing to get older. The keys would be the bench. Green would provide Pierce with a legitimate backup at small forward and he could also provide depth at power forward if needed. Terry would give the second unit much needed scoring while Bradley would bring his highly regarded defense and developing offensive game to the bench. The one question mark would be the lack of a veteran presence off the bench in the front court - and maybe Greg Stiemsma will come back to the team to fill some of that void - but the Celtics have invested three first round picks in Johnson, Sullinger, and Melo so the team needs to get positive contributions out of them to seriously contend for a title.
It is fascinating that what was once supposed to be a three-year window for Garnett, Pierce, and Allen is now likely heading into a sixth season. If the Celtics retain Allen, Bass, and Green and also add a piece like Terry to their bench, they will be right back into the mix in the Eastern Conference and would be on the short list of teams that could win the Larry O'Brien trophy in June.