Danny Ainge’s offseason got a bit more challenging today when Kevin Love agreed to terms on a 4-year contract extension with the Timberwolves. He can opt out after three years but that takes him out of play for the C’s, the same way the Clippers’ acquisition of Chris Paul eliminated him as a target. Dwight Howard, of course, remains completely uninterested in Boston.
There’s more than one way to use cap space, though. Ainge can still make a play for a star through a trade, because he’ll have the ability to absorb salary, which will put him at a premium position relative to most of his peers. Finding a star may not be a summer-2012 proposition but common belief is the Celtics are not interested in a long-term rebuild through the draft (likely because they don’t want to sabotage fan attendance or interest while fielding a lineup filled with the Sebastian Telfairs and Gerald Greens of the world).
The one thing I’d caution C’s fans against is expecting big money contracts for supporting players, like the one Denver handed to Danilo Gallinari. Ainge has been careful to avoid paying non-stars big money the last few years and that’s likely to continue.
Additional deals with the class of 2008 can be completed up to midnight ET tonight.
The Celtics may try and one-up their successful Monday night formula tomorrow in the second half of a home-and-home against the Magic. Which is to say they may have six guys on the bench in street clothes instead of five.
Chris Forsberg lets us know that Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling, Chris Wilcox, Rajon Rondo and the newly injured Jermaine O’Neal (knee, wrist) all participated in practice today, but will be game-time decisions tomorrow. Ray Allen did not make the trip to Orlando.
It’s good news everyone is getting close and on the back of the spirited efforts of Monday night’s mix-and-match lineups, it’s not even that discouraging if they don’t play. The bench may not be able to step up so boldly two games in a row, but if it’s Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic starting in the backcourt tomorrow, the C’s know they can still eke out a win. And this season, more than ever, is about the long game. The last thing Boston needs is Rondo falling hard on that wrist and spending an extended period of time on the injured list.