Added: Jason Terry (FA), Jeff Green (FA), Courtney Lee (Trade), Jason Collins (FA)
Lost: Ray Allen, Greg Stiemsma, JuJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, Ryan Hollins
Draft: Jarred Sullinger (Round 1 Pick 21), Fab Melo (Round 1 Pick 22), Kris Joseph (Round 2 Pick 49)
Free Agency Analysis: The biggest move that the team made was resigning star center and future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, who looked five years younger during the Celtics playoff, run and whether he can keep up that pace or not, he is still a valuable two way player and the emotional leader of the team. The biggest headline involved Ray Allen leaving the team to play for the rival Heat. Allen seemed to be hurt by trade rumors over the last two years and famously took millions less to play for the Miami Heat. As much as his loss will hurt, the team did more than enough to make up for his loss. Since Avery Bradley had already taken Allen’s starting spot, the team was able to grab sixth man extraordinaire Jason Terry, who should excel as the leading scorer off the Celtics bench and is also a phenomenal shooter and clutch player. Add in the sign and trade for shooting guard Courtney Lee who is an exceptional defender and an over .400 three point shooter and the team has actually upgraded over Ray Allen, which was a phenomenal job by Ainge. The Terry contract was fair, but they did overpay for Lee and once Bradley is healthy, there may be a logjam at shooting guard. Resigning Bass was a great move as he had a career year and proved to be an excellent frontcourt pairing to Garnett. It was also great to see Jeff Green finally receive his contract after sitting out last season with a heart ailment. He will be excellent as a combo forward off the bench and is such a versatile player, that he can play in any lineup. He is a good shooter so he can play on the perimeter and can score down low and play as a power forward, but he is also capable of defending both positions. They did overpay for him though, as they offered him basically the same contract as last year until heart problems basically voided the contract. It is risky to give a player coming off a missed year 32 million dollars and it almost looks like they did it out of good will for having to reject him last year. The rest of the moves involved adding, keeping and subtracting end of the bench players, none that will make much of a difference. Overall in free agency they gained a lot more than they lost, which is a hgue victory in the NBA.
Draft Analysis: The team landed the steal of the draft at 21 in Sullinger, who was a consensus top ten pick when the season started, but a red flagged back caused him to fall. Even with back issues he was well worth the pick as he was the best offensive big man in the draft. He looked very good in Summer League and he did not seem hindered by back issues, so expect him to make a difference as a rookie. The very next pick they drafted Syracuse defensive big man Melo, who although does little to nothing on offense, has great potential on defense. He may not make much of an impact as a rookie, but he is a great piece further down the line and could be their starting center once Garnett moves on. The fact that he will get to learn from one of the best defensive big men of all time in Garnett on a daily basis should do wonders for Melo. The second round pick, Joseph is a talented combo forward, but he never reached his full potential after four years at Syracuse. However, he is a great athlete, which the team is low on and could make a difference in smaller lineups.
Best Move: Re-Signing Garnett
Worst Move: Jeff Green’s Contract
2012-13 Forecast: With an improved roster, the team should without a doubt be better the fifth best record in the East as they were last season and should once again be the biggest challenge to the Heat’s Eastern Conference reign. They are younger, more athletic, have a much better bench and have one of the league’s best point guards, who is just entering his prime. Along with the seemingly ageless Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, they have the leadership and talent to keep on going. They were already a great defensive team and they added a fantastic perimeter defender in Lee and they were already a very good offensive team and they added one of the best second unit scorers in Jason Terry, a great all around offensive player in Green and the best rookie offensive big man in the draft in Sullinger. With basically the same core, yet with added youth and extra veteran talent, the Celtics should finish with the second best record in the East.
Overall: Sure they lost Ray Allen but added a better player in Terry and a young replacement in Lee. They also added a fantastic two-way player in Green and had a great draft. It does not get better than that.