As we play out the final days of the 2011-'12 NBA season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics..
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As bad as Boston fans feel about this season, the Celtics are on the verge of clinching the Atlantic Division title. Will this be the last run for the big three? It certainly appears the post season will be the farewell tour for Boston as we know it. It appears Paul Pierce will surive into next season and will provide leadership in the rebuild along with Rajon Rondo. With in excess of $20 million in cap space and two picks in each round, the offseason is the time for a new day in Beantown.
The Celtics are $22 million under the cap and what better time to start the rebuild. Boston has a pair of small traded player exemptions, totalling only one million dollars.
Boston has an extra selection in both rounds and they couldn't come at a better time. Centers Fab Melo (Syracuse) and Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt) would be a good start in the opening round. Texas A&M swingman Kris Middleton might be the long term replacement for Pierce, with Tennessee Tech shooting guard Kevin Murphy the other second round potential target.
Paul Pierce is the only player worthy of amnesty consideration, but that will never happen.
The Good: Garnett, Allen and O'Neal's contracts expire, allow them to seek one more contract elsewhere. Paul Pierce continues to excel and will remain the face of the franchise. Rajon Rondo will carry a new backcourt. Considerable cap space along with two picks in both the first and second rounds of the NBA draft will fuel the new look team. Atlantic Division champs with one last run this Spring.
The Bad: Will Jeff Green regain his old form after missing an entire season? Should Boston shell out big bucks to keep him? Some fans may want the Celts to keep Allen and Garnett, which doesn't make sense. If Brandon Bass bolts, Boston will only have five players under contract. Are E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson capable reserves long term?
The Celtics only have six players under contract for next season. It is definitely decision time, should Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen be brought back? The Kendrick Perkins deal backfired, but Boston should retain Jeff Green. Rajon Rondo is the only major trade chip, but remains the core along with Paul Pierce. Brandon Bass has a player option and may test the market. E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Avery Bradley are building blocks for the future.
Who are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, JaJuan Johnson
Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, E'Twaun Moore
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Greg Stiemsma, Mickael Pietrus, Jermaine O'Neal, Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Jeff Green
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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