They are only 48 hours apart, but July 1, not June 28, is the real D-Day for the Celtics. We face the possibility that two of the linchpins of the past five years, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, will not be back. Hard as it might be to envision a Celtics team without either one, Ainge said recently that he can’t afford to be remotely sentimental in dealing with either player, both of whom will be free agents.
“I feel like I’m over the sentimental for two reasons,” he said. “First, as an organization, we have given these guys everything we’ve had to try and give them opportunities for success. I feel the players have given us everything they had. They don’t owe us anything. And we don’t owe them anything. It’s just business.”
He then acknowledged that it nonetheless would be hard to part ways because the two have been so important to the team’s culture and its leadership, and “still have great value to a franchise with what they provide on the court.”
Garnett has promised the Celtics a decision by Saturday. Then Ainge can start the process of reconfiguring the team and allotting the vast millions that could be at his disposal. Will Allen stay? What about Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus? And then there’s Jeff Green, who pretty much has to be signed lest the Perkins trade go down as Ainge’s worst decision ever (some would say it already is regardless of what happens to Green).
Peter May pours a giant bucket of water on the sizzling hot draft talk.
He’s right. Unless Danny Ainge pulls off a deal that lands him in the top 5, we’re likely not getting immediate impact players at 21 and 22 (see JJJ and E’Twaun Moore).
The impact moves will occur within free agency. Garnett is the first domino to fall and he’s reportedly promised a decision by Saturday.
You may resume your wild draft speculation. It sure is fun.