The National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals have backed all other Celtics business up against the wall, starting with Thursday’s draft and what the team should do with the 19th overall pick.
Then kicks in the really important business of expiring contracts and Paul Pierce’s player option, which must be exercised by June 30.
According to a source, the team will not passively sit on the Celtics captain’s situation.
The team has scheduled a meeting with Pierce’s representatives following the draft. Though it’s unclear whether it will involve a restructuring of Pierce’s deal, which has two years remaining, or even an extension, his camp hasn’t sent a proposal or a plan to management.
The looming free agency of Ray Allen will take longer.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and Allen’s agent, Lon Babby, have yet to meet regarding the veteran guard’s status.
Though both sides want to keep Allen in green, management is said to be concerned about the length of his next contract demand.
One league official recently placed Allen’s value on the wildly competitive free-agent market at approximately midlevel exception range, or about $5.6 million. This takes into account the number of premium players who will be contending for max contract money, the number of second-tier free agents and even some thought to be max-level honing in on Rajon Rondo-level money, or roughly $11 million per season.
Allen’s value, however, could be on the rise, especially for a contender like Cleveland that is expected to embark on a serious search for outside shooting help.
But there’s little doubting the 34-year-old Allen’s intent.
“I’ll deal with that when the time comes, but it’s obvious that I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Allen said following the Game Seven loss to the Lakers last Thursday in Los Angeles.
Indeed, everyone from Allen’s mother, Flo, to his wife, Shannon, have expressed a desire to remain in the Boston area.
There’s also the feeling shared by Allen and his teammates that there is unfinished business and they have enough left to contend for another title.
But first the initial sting from disappointment must subside.
“It’s disappointing,” Allen said after Game Seven. “This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime. We’re scratching and clawing, trying to do everything we could to pull this out. That’s what probably hurt the most—just having the opportunity to win down the stretch [and it] didn’t go our way.”
When asked about next season, Allen shook his head.
“It’s hard to think about playing,” he said. “You’ve got guys that are veteran players that come in and do their job every night. You know, we’re here for a reason. It’s tough to see it end this way.”
Allen already rebounded once. When the trade deadline passed and he wasn’t shipped elsewhere, his play took a noticeable jump.
As the healthiest member of the Big Three, there could be another Celtics boost in his future, if management allows it.
Meanwhile,Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said center Rasheed Wallace is probably going to retire.
Rivers said on WEEI-AM on Monday that Wallace told him before Game Seven that he believed it was the last game of his career.
Wallace has two years left on the contract he signed with the Celtics last summer.
The 35-year-old would finish with 15,860 points and 7,321 rebounds in a 15-year career. The volatile big man was also the most ejected player of his era, with 30 ejections since such records started being kept in 1992.
He won the NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
The Celtics lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the NBA finals, 93-89, on Thursday.
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald