There are so many rumors bouncing around that it's hard to decide what is reality and what is fiction. There are also so many decisions that must be made for the Celtics going forward that we don't really know what the Celtics will look like going forward into the 2012-13 season. But, two events in the near future will do much to answer those questions. First up is tomorrow night's draft. Second is the July 1 free agent deadline.
There have been rumors of Danny trading up, down and out of the draft. Some say he wants to trade up for Harrison Barnes, likely a top 5 pick. There are rumors that he wants to trade into the teens to nab someone or other. There are also rumors that he wants to trade out of the draft to bring in veterans. One thing we know for sure is that Danny isn't afraid to pull the trigger on a big trade and he's also not afraid to stand pat if he thinks that gives the Celtics the best chance of winning.
Most of what the Celtics will do this season depends on one person - Kevin Garnett. If he chooses to retire, we are likely to see a complete rebuilding effort. If he chooses to come back, I expect Danny to try to build around him with veterans to give it one more run at Banner 18 with the same core.
Danny was on WEEI yesterday, discussing his plans going forward. He has discussions with KG and expects a decision from him by July 1 so that the team can move in one direction or another. Doc is fairly certain that KG will be back, as is Flip Saunders, who spent a lot of time with the team in the playoffs. The Celtics can negotiate with KG now since he is eligible for an extension but all other free agent talks need to wait until July 1.
That brings us to Ray Allen. We've seen a lot of talk lately about how Ray is taking his talents to South Beach. Those are the popular rumors and they sound good, but I don't think it's all that certain. Danny said that he feels that Ray is open to returning to Boston. Any talks about his return will hinge on KG's decision since it doesn't make much sense to bring him back if KG doesn't come back. But in my opinion, if the Celtics offer him a decent contract with a no trade clause so that he doesn't have to go through another trade deadline on pins and needles, I think he might choose to stay. His family is settled in Boston and he is very involved in the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston for his son Walker. It just makes sense.
Mickael Pietrus was at the Celtics practice facility doing his rehab and reiterated what he has said all season - He loves Boston and wants to come back to help the Celtics hang Banner 18. I like Pietrus and feel he can help the team. Also MP and KG have a soccer bet going. Pietrus has Spain winning while KG is pulling for Germany. Pietrus also said that his rehab is going great. Hopefully Danny brings him back. He's the type of player that helps a team in many ways.
Danny also has to make decisions on Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox. Both have expressed a desire to return to the team and both have been at games this season hanging out with the team in the locker room and on the bench. I like both players, especially Wilcox. Hopefully Danny doesn't need to break the bank to sign them. But, both would be good signings, especially if KG comes back. That gives the team some continuity and a player who could take the starting center position to spare KG that burden. The Celtics have already extended a qualifying offer to Greg Stiemsma, who has stated that his first choice is to return to Boston. Hopefully he comes back. I'd love to see what he can bring with 2 good feet.
There are rumors that the Celtics are actively pursuing a trade for Jamal Crawford. It seems to me as though this is a back up in case Ray decides to go elsewhere. Crawford has just one year left on his contract and so wouldn't be a long term commitment. He also has a clause in his contract that will allow him to opt out on June 29. The consensus is that if he hasn't been traded by then that he will opt out and become a free agent. In which case, Danny still might be interested, especially if Ray leaves.
Next up is the draft. In spite of all of the mock drafts and predictions, we won't have any idea what the Celtics will do until their name is called on Thursday night. Danny has said he is open to moving up. He's also open to standing pat in the draft. And he's also open to trading the picks for a veteran. That's a lot of openness. Thankfully we don't have to wait much longer until we get some idea of the direction the Celtics will take this offseason.