COMMENTARY | For the first time in a while, the Boston Celtics will enter next season without Paul Pierce on their roster. Their long-time captain, along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, were dealt to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade. This, along with allowing Doc Rivers to join the Los Angeles Clippers, signifies that Danny Ainge has flown the white flag, and is attempting to start a new era.
Rebuilding isn't easy. Plenty of teams get stuck in the stage for too long, as it only takes a bad move or two to stunt the growth of a team.
With this in mind, here are five burning questions surrounding the Boston Celtics as they prepare for the 2013-2014 season.
Will Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, and Keith Bogans be on the team?
In the trade with the Brooklyn Nets, a major obstacle was making salaries fit. Boston was able to get young guard MarShon Brooks and some draft picks, but at the expense of also having to take on these three veterans.
At first glance, it doesn't seem like Ainge has much of a plan for Humphries, Wallace, and Bogans. They are useful role players who could help contenders, but they don't appear to be doing this roster a ton of good.
It will be interesting to see if Boston looks to flip any of these players to another team. If there is a trade market for their services, and the Celtics can acquire some assets in return, you have to believe that Ainge would immediately pull the trigger.
Just how valuable can MarShon Brooks be?
As previously mentioned, Brooks was really the only valuable asset in the form of a player that Boston received from Brooklyn. He is primarily a one-dimensional player who showed some promise in his rookie year, but was then buried on the bench last season with the Nets.
He can clearly score the ball, something Boston could surely use. Their young core group, including Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, and Kelly Olynyk, is filled with players who don't look for and create their own shot.
Considering that Rondo and Bradley are both below-average outside shooters at best, Brooks' shooting and ability to space the floor could prove valuable.
Of course, Brooklyn was willing to lose him for a reason. His game has plenty of deficiencies. That being said, scorers tend to stick around in this league, and that's what MarShon Brooks is.
Which Jeff Green will we see?
Jeff Green has frustrated countless Boston fans during his tenure with the team.
Green is a player with all of the physical tools needed to be a great player; height, length, versatility, and a great deal of athleticism. At times, he flashes the ability to put it all together.
A lot of the time, however, he doesn't.
Green showed a lot of progress at the end of the season, particularly with his 43-point explosion against the Miami Heat and impressive series against the New York Knicks. With Rondo injured, Green often looked like Boston's best player.
It's important to remember that he was returning from a very serious heart issue last season. This season will be very telling for Jeff Green and what kind of player he really is.
What's going on with Rajon Rondo?
Is Rondo really in Danny Ainge's long-term plans?
How will he return from a torn ACL? Is he going to be the same player?
Does he really want to be a part of a rebuilding process? How will he respond to new head coach Brad Stevens?
There are plenty of questions surrounding Boston's best player. What we'll see out of Rondo this season is a complete wild card.
What is Boston's long-term plan?
For a team that has just started rebuilding, the Celtics actually have some pretty nice pieces. You can do a lot worse than Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sullinger, Olynyk, and Brooks.
However, this group clearly has deficiencies. A Rondo/Bradley backcourt is a spacing disaster, and gives up a lot of size to plenty of opposing backcourts. There is no center or rim protector in this group, and it seems to be an awkward fit in a few other ways.
The Celtics now have plenty of first-round draft picks, and you have to wonder if Danny Ainge has something big up his sleeve.
Could he look at dealing Rondo, and maybe Green, and try to convince a few big free agents to come to town? If this is the case, the team would surely have a very high pick in next year's deep draft. Either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, paired with solid role players in Bradley and Sullinger and plenty of cap space, could be quite attractive to free agents looking for a new team.
Or could Ainge be looking for a blockbuster deal centering around all of the draft picks the team now has on hand?
There are plenty of uncertainties surrounding the Boston Celtics. We might not have all of the answers soon, but there is a lot to look out for.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
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- Boston Celtics
- Danny Ainge
- Rajon Rondo
- Brooklyn Nets