We’ve reached the month of June in one of the lengthier offseasons we’ve seen in the past six seasons for the C’s. As we inch closer to decisions being made at the end of the month, the same dominoes remain in place. Everything centers around KG, Pierce and Doc and Danny Ainge has spoken to his two veterans yet, nearly a month after the season ended, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald:
“We’re giving them as much time as they need,” he said. “I talk to Doc every day. The other two guys, I have not talked with yet.We’re still just preparing for the draft and for free agency.”
Bulpett is hearing rumors though about what Pierce’s market might be on the trade block and it might not be what you expect:
In terms of free agency, it will be hard for the Celts to make much of a splash unless they can get their salary structure in order and work out a sign-and-trade deal or two. You will be hearing some interesting names floated in their direction over the next weeks, but just know it will be impossible for them to straight-up sign a free agent who will command double-digit millions.
On the other hand, there is reportedly healthy interest in Pierce out on the market. But the Celtics won’t be giving him away. Ainge has noted that his captain had a strong overall year, and while he wasn’t quite up to his own par in the playoffs, there are valid reasons for that. (Without Rajon Rondo, Pierce’s job description grew dramatically.)
They will not, however, fully know the answers to the larger question of what the club can put around him in the lineup. But unless Pierce is included in a deal around draft time, the inclination will be to keep him in Green if there is evidence that decent additions can be made to the roster.
This falls in line with our hope about Ainge realizing just how much of a burden fell on Pierce last season. At this advanced age, he had to do far too much to get this team in the postseason and ran out of gas late. Getting rid of him isn’t necessarily the answer. Refreshing to hear Ainge realizes this.
Outside of hearing from Ainge, we also hear from Doc Rivers on the record for the first time yesterday as he spoke with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN NY 98.7 FM. (LISTEN TO IT HERE) via ESPNBoston.
Over the nearly 11-minute interview, Doc discussed the Eastern Conference finals, LeBron and the increase in talent across the conference.
He was not asked about his future in Boston, but in closing the segment, Stephen A. said this:
“In the very near future you will be hearing from me again to talk about your Boston Celtics.”
A couple key things to keep in mind here.
1) The fact that there were no questions about Doc’s future with the Celtics was probably a calculated move by Doc. He doesn’t come on the show if he gets hammered with those is my guess.
2) Appearing on Stephen A.’s show? The same guy who has reported multiple times in the past month that it’s not a sure thing Doc is back? That’s something worth keeping an eye on. It’s clear Doc doesn’t mind those reports enough to object to doing him a favor and coming on as a guest, so I feel like that gives them more credibility.
I’m still adamant about thinking Doc is back, but with the condition that Pierce and KG are back as well. All of this should become a lot more clear in the next month or two. For now though, we watch and wait.