The good news for fans of the Boston Celtics is that the contract to keep Doc Rivers on the bench as head coach for a few more years is "basically done." It's good news for Boston as a transitional period with rebuilding is most definitely something that will be happening in the next few seasons. While KG, Ray, and Paul Pierce will remain Celtics, they are aging, too.
Rivers, who had a one-year option to return next season, is expected to sign a multiyear contract as team president Danny Ainge envisions his coach leading the Celtics through an expected transition period.Meanwhile, speaking on WEEI, Celtics President Danny Ainge reflected on the past season. Ainge had this to say about the future of the team:
"We have to figure out a couple of things,” he said. “But we’ll get it done relatively quickly. I wanted to get this out of the way so we can concentrate on the summer and free agency. Everything should be done soon. We want to get this done as soon as possible so we can move forward."[...]
“Well the good thing is KG gets an extra month to get some rest and get healthy because last year since we went to Game 7 (of the Finals), he had a short summer,” Rivers said. “We have to do what we have to do to preserve him.”
Rivers said he is convinced the Celtics are capable of another run, even if they won’t enter next season as the prohibitive favorites. And the coach said he would not be against making lineup changes that would actually bring one of the Big Three off the bench.
“I really believe that (we can compete for a title),” he said. “But we have to make the right moves. We have to get guys to surround the Big Three. And depending on what we can get, (making lineup chances) is something you would have to consider."
"We need to make changes for sure. I don’t think [the roster is good enough to compete for a title next year]. But having said that that’s my job is to evaluate the reasons why we didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing ... We do have a team that next year come playoff time will be a year older and a team like Miami will be in their prime years."Jef Green is a free agent so assuming a decent contract offer is given, he could be playing a larger role with the Celtics next season. Green does want to stay in Boston. I liked his play when he was playing for Georgetown in college and in an expanded role, this guy is really good. He's only in his mid-20s so he's still in his prime. Or just getting to his prime.
Glen Davis is a free agent as well. He, too, wants to remain with the Boston Celtics and eventually become a starter. This was a guy that was dominant in SEC play while in college. With more playing time, he, too, can evolve as an NBA player. No doubt about it.
As Bob Ryan notes in his column, the core is getting older and they need to build around them with younger talent. Ryan seems to think that Davis' career with the Cs is finished. Ryan also endorsed the return of Green and Delonte West, who played great with an injured Rondo on the sideline.
Jermaine O'Neal's future, too, is an unknown. There's talk that he's considering retirement. If that's the case, one would think that Boston would have to trade up to draft a guy like Enes Kanter or make some trades for a big man or sign a free agent center that is in his prime and can start in the fall. That's all assuming that there won't be a lockout.
O’Neal wasn’t prepared to make a decision about his future immediately after the Celtics were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat on Wednesday. But O’Neal indicated the desire to spend more time with his family — he also has an 11-year-old daughter, Asjia — makes retirement a possibility.Who knows, maybe Boston does with they did in 1980, where they traded for Robert Parish and got Kevin McHale via the draft? Time will tell.
"I have a little boy that’s a sponge right now and he’s looking for more and more time from me,” O’Neal said. “Fifteen years (in the NBA), I’m 32 years old. That’s half my life.
“The most important thing for me right now is my family and my kids. Basketball has dominated so much of my life for so long that I have to really take an honest look. Now, every time I leave the house my son is asking when I’m coming back. When I call home, it’s, ‘When am I coming back?’ My daughter has been forgiving of it, but it may be time. I don’t know. I don’t want to suffer when I’m 45.”[...]
“There’s a lot of things that have to play out,” he said. “Obviously, we may not even play next year. And if we play half a year, for sure I know everybody’s coming back here. It benefits us in a major, major way. But you can only take some time away. I don’t know what guys are planning on doing, but I need to get my head away from this. It’s time to get back with the family. We’ll see what happens.”
O’Neal has one year and $6.2 million remaining on his contract. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table, but he’s made almost $160 million in his career. The pull of his family may be stronger than that of one more contract and one more run at a championship.
“He wants to shoot 100 shots on the big goal to make one,” O’Neal said of the son who will keep him busy if he retires. “I was in the yard before we left just throwing the football with him. You don’t get those days back. As much as I want to win a championship and compete for a championship, it’s a difficult decision to make."