BOSTON — Moments after the Celtics' season came to an end, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers gathered for a brief moment. All agreed that at that moment, fresh off a Game 6 loss at home to New York that ended their season, there was not a worst time in the world to talk about their respective futures.
While it is unclear if the trio have yet to chat, here's banking on that conversation being a few weeks off from happening. In the meantime, the rest of the world is left to speculate about the future of each man, and how that uncertain future will impact the Celtics going forward.
Here we take a look at each of these three faces of the Celtics franchise and come up with reasons why they could be back in Boston, as well as factors that might come into play that would see the C's go into the 2013-2014 season without them.
Cost: Will the potential backlash -- and in all likelihood, a weaker roster -- be worth the $10-plus million saved in buying him out for $5 million?
Making deals: As motivated as the Celtics may be to trade Pierce, finding a willing trade partner won't be easy because of his contract ($15.3 million) and the struggles he had in the playoffs. And even after finding a team that wants to make a deal, the C's will be even more challenged in getting the kind of talent and/or draft picks that they will want in return.
Jeff Green's development: Green and Pierce showed the potential that they could in fact co-exist in the starting lineup. But would the C's be better served if Pierce came off the bench, allowing for Green to potentially thrive even more? Or does Pierce need to be gone altogether for Green to truly reach his potential?
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Pierce's future: If the Celtics decide to cut Pierce loose, it won't be a shocker if Garnett demands the Celtics trade him -- either now or at the trading deadline in 2014.
Health: Garnett battled an assortment of injuries all season, some of which may require surgery during the offseason. Will he be willing to put in the kind of time needed in the offseason to adequately prepare himself for the grind of what would be his 19th NBA season?
Celtics roster: Lost in Garnett's post-game comments following the C's Game 6 loss was that he expressed the need for the Celtics to upgrade their roster. How much better the C's are -- especially at the center position -- may go a long way in determining whether he sticks with the club, retires, or demands a trade.
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Loyalty: Considering how the Celtics stuck by his side during some pretty lean years early in his career in Boston, and how he rewarded the franchise with its 17th NBA title in 2008, both sides understand how valuable each is to the other. That bond is nothing to be taken lightly.
Health concerns: A couple years ago, Rivers had throat surgery to remove a benign polyp. While Rivers has shown no signs of it being an issue since then, it's not all that unusual for coaches who unexpectedly step down to do so because of a health-related matter. It is unclear if that is one of the factors that Rivers is weighing when it comes to making a decision on whether he will return to the sidelines.
Sabbatical: Rivers has said many times that he anticipates he'll take a sabbatical from coaching, if for no other reason than to recharge himself after many years of pacing up and down the sidelines. The timing of him taking a break now would seem a bit odd considering there's so much uncertainty as to the direction of the Celtiocs franchise, a cloud of doubt that to some degree could be lifted once he decides whether he will return next season.