Which begs the following: Will this also be the last time we see the new Big Three together?
Regardless of what happens in the series, the times they are indeed a-changin’ in Celtic Nation. Ray Allen will become a free agent. Doc Rivers may decide he’s had enough. Paul Pierce could become a free agent if he opts out of his current deal. Tony Allen, Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels also will be free agents along with Brian Scalabrine, Michael Finley and Shelden Williams. Daniels and Robinson were supposed to be key reserves, but Rivers clearly has lost faith in both of them and their futures in Boston look dim.
There’s no guarantee Celtics fans will be cheering next season for Paul Pierce, who has an opt-out clause in his current contract.
The only players with firm commitments for 2010-11 are Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis and, ahem, Rasheed Wallace.
It’s weird to think about. It’s hard to imagine. But the Celtics are likely to start a rebuilding, or reloading, process after this season. As old as the Celtics have looked at times this season, they’d be even older next year if the current roster returns largely intact. Danny Ainge is going to face some seriously tough decisions going into next season and beyond.
If I were Ainge, to be honest, I’d have no idea how to improve this team. You can’t continue to ride the Big Three — they’re too old. You can’t sign any big-time free agents — you’ve got no cap space. You can’t ride the young guys into the future — Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis aren’t enough of a nucleus to win anything but a few meaningless regular season games.
So what to do? Pray that John Wall falls to #19 in the draft, obviously.