(Thanks to westthebest and Celtics Blog for the picture)
The Celtics made a big move on draft night to bring in another All Star talent in Ray Allen. But where do we go from here? Ray Allen will make Pierce happy and should improve the offense on the team, but we still have some big needs. We need a back up point guard and another defensive big.
As of now, without signing either of our rookies, the Celtics payroll stands at $63,407,925. The salary cap for the '06-'07 season was $53.125 million with the Luxury Tax threshold at $65.42 million. We can expect the salary cap and luxury tax to increase for this coming season. So, we will be looking at approximately $66-$68 million for the luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season.
We have 13 players on the team as of right now, not including Pruit and Davis. I didn't see it in the Boston papers, but NBA.com has that the Celtics picked up Powe's option on June 12. If they didn't pick it up by July 1, he would have been a free agent. I didn't see anything about Allan Ray's option being picked up. We should be able to sign both of our rookies without going into the luxury tax territory.
But how do we address our other needs. I don't believe that the draft filled the needs even though Danny took a PG in Pruitt and a defensive big man in Davis. Pruitt is more of a shooter than a playmaker and both will need experience before contributing on a regular basis. Danny has chosen the win now route by signing Ray Allen. We will need a player who can contribute now. There are a few different ways we can go.
The Garnett rumors still won't go away. Although Minnesota is now making noises like they are planning on keeping him. Sure, Garnett is a talent and one of the top players in the NBA, but he is on the tail end of his career. We would have to give up Al Jefferson to get him and Al will be a top player in the NBA for many years after Garnett is retired. In his interview on WEEI, Doc said that Al is going to be a Celtic for many years to come. To get Garnett, we would have to gut this team in the trade and then would have to go over the luxury tax threshold to replace those players. I just don't see a Garnett trade happening at this point.
We could go for a big and a point guard in a trade. There are rumblings about another trade with Seattle that would bring Ridnour and Swift for some type of package of players and future picks. Danny has wanted Swift ever since Seattle plucked him from the draft before Danny could get to him. He wanted Swift included in the draft day deal, but Seattle was asking for Rondo and Danny wouldn't give him up. This is a possibility and and given Danny's affinity for Swift, I can see him pursuing this one.
We could pursue a sign and trade with another free agent. Some of the better defensive bigs available would include Magloire, Eddie Jones, PJ Brown, Motumbo, and Gerald Wallace. Rumors have also swirled about Rashard Lewis in a sign and trade, but that wouldn't address our needs for defense and size.
There are other players who are available in trades such as Kirilenko, Dalembert, Camby, Posey, Pavlovic, and a few others. A lot of rumors have swirled around AK47 as Utah has been shopping him and he would probably be a good fit in Boston. We could even go for a three way trade by combining a few rumors. Kirilenko is on the block in Utah and struggled playing out of position this past season. Seattle is rebuilding a young team around Durant and trying to dump salary. Boston needs a low post player. We could send Theo and a young player to Seattle. Seattle would do a sign and trade and send Lewis to Utah while Utah would send AK47 to Boston. This could work to fill needs for all 3 teams.
We could also claim Brevin Knight off of waivers. He has one year left at 1.5 million dollars. He could be a veteran back up PG for Rondo and wouldn't put us over the salary cap. This would solve our PG need.
We may find a diamond in the rough in Summer League. Word is that Albert Miralles will be coming over for a look. There may be other free agents and undrafted players who come in and wow Danny and will fill the needs that we have.
Of course, we could just stand pat from here also. We upgraded our talent considerably by bringing in Ray Allen. Each of our young players will come back better this year after a summer of hard work. Today's Herald had an article that presented the fact that Theo Ratliff may not be just an expiring contract. He has been working out and rehabbing and is ready to play ball this season. This would give us another big and a defensive presence in the middle. We still have Telfair who could play back up point guard and who has a lot to prove at this point. There is also the possibility that Pruitt and Davis may be able to come in and contribute. We can start the season off with this roster and see how Theo plays. His contract will be worth even more at the trade deadline if he doesn't play well.
Danny has been saying that he isn't through yet, though and I imagine that he is trying for another deal to address some of our needs. I don't see another blockbuster going down, but rather one or two smaller trades or moves. With free agency starting tomorrow, we should see a lot of action over the next week. Friday we will see our draft picks in action as summer league begins and then things will be a little clearer as we see what strides our young players are making.