Ray Allen is 37 years old, Kevin Garnett is 36 and Paul Pierce will turn 35 before the 2012-13 regular season begins. Danny Ainge swore he would not be like Red Auerbach, that he would not keep the Big Three Celtics together past their expiration date. But still, the hope is to retain the same core next season and enter year six of a three-year plan. (Yahoo!)
“We want to get the band back together and add to it,” Rivers told Yahoo! Sports by phone. “We have a great locker room with no issues. Guys want to be back and want to be a part of this.”
Part of Ainge’s hesitancy to blow up the nucleus, as evidenced by Boston getting within 10 minutes of the NBA Finals, is that the geezers still have some game. Another aspect is the weak free agent class, which once promised to have Dwight Howard but now is down to one superstar, Deron Williams, who happens to play the same position as Rondo. There are several talented role players available, several of whom the Celtics are after, but few free agents on the market can outplay any of Boston’s old hands.
Allen has been rumored as ready to leave, but the Celtics can offer him more money than most of his suitors and — whether or not Allen wants to admit it — splitting time as the yin to Avery Bradley’s yang is actually a perfect role for both him and the Celtics at this stage of his career.
Despite Allen drawing interest from a slew of contenders, Rivers is “hopeful” he will re-sign with the Celtics.
Rivers thinks the Celtics will be the last team to get to talk to Allen before he makes his decision. Free agents can’t sign contracts until July 11, but are able to make verbal commitments during the NBA’s moratorium on transactions.
“We called him,” Rivers said. “He lives in Boston and loves it in Boston. Ray will look around, but we will be there at the end. I’m hopeful he will re-sign.”
The Celtics understand the old guys can still play and want to take another shot at earning a second championship with the Big Three. Not just because it makes sense, but because there aren’t many other attractive alternatives.