OFFSEASON

Will Ray be home for Christmas?

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Will Ray be home for Christmas?

So we already know that the Celtics will be in Miami on Opening Night. Or at least we think we know. That's what "sources" say. And considering these sources didn't come from Chris Broussard, I'm comfortable accepting them as truth.

Either way, tonight on ESPN, we'll find out for sure, when the NBA announces its full 2012-2013 schedule. I don't know about you but I can't wait to hear what Magic Johnson and Jon Barry have to say about who's playing who . . . the drama! (Not to mention, I'm sure they won't spend any less than 80 percent of the air time discussing Dwight Howard. What more can you ask for?)

Anyway, all kidding aside, the schedule release should be a lot fun. Between that and the start of Pats training camp, who needs the Sox? It will be great to have something else to look forward to. It will be another sign that while we've still got a ways to go before the season starts, it's not THAT far away. The C's play their first pre-season game in Turkey on October 5. That's only 10 weeks from tomorrow.

Back to the schedule: Aside from Opening night, the day I think we're all most interested in is Christmas. The biggest night of the NBA season.

The Celtics missed out on the Christmas Day festivities in Year One of the Big 3 era, due in large part to the KG trade going down after the schedule was already made. But they've had the honor of playing on Christmas in each of the last four years.

In 2008, they lost to the Lakers in LA (which busted Boston's ridiculous 19-game winning streak). In 2009, they beat the Magic in Orlando without Paul Pierce (thank God for Tony Allen!). In 2010, they lost to the Magic in Orlando without Rondo (21 points for Brandon Bass). Then last year, they kicked off the season with a loss to the Knicks at MSG without Pierce again (but hey, at least KG strangled Billy Walker).

This year, I think it's safe to say we'll see the Celtics on the holiday docket for a fifth straight season. And there's only one opponent one specific player who we all want to see.

Ray Allen and the Miami Heat. In Boston. For the ultimate homecoming.

If David Stern likes ratings and money (and there's not a font size big enough to emphasize that YES) then Ray coming to back to Boston on Christmas is a match made in heaven.

It's a no-brainer. And while there are many instances where you can justifiably accuse the NBA of not having a brain, they're veritable geniuses when it comes to drumming up Christmas Day drama. Let's hope they follow through on this one.

(UPDATE: Rumor has it that we're actually going to see HeatThunder on Christmas. OK, not bad. How about a Christmas double-header for Miami? OKC at Miami at noon; Miami at Boston at 8 pm. Think about it, Stern.)

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

OFFSEASON

Who will make the Celtics roster?

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Who will make the Celtics roster?

BOSTON – Regardless of what the Celtics do in the offseason, there will always be position battles in training camp.

But when the players arrive in a few weeks, a handful will have more at stake than just a roster spot.

Boston currently has 18 players with full or partially guaranteed contracts, a number that has to be pared down to 15 or less by the time the regular season begins.

The math is pretty cut and dry. Barring a trade, at least three players have to be let go.

But who will they be?

That’s for Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass to figure out.

In the meantime, here’s a look at five Celtics who, barring a trade, are likely to be among the pool of players Boston will be picking from for what should be the last couple of roster spots.

OFFSEASON

Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

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Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.

Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME
Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET