Celtics can speak with free agents Wednesday

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Celtics can speak with free agents Wednesday

Today is the first day that NBA teams can talk potential contract terms with player agents.

As you can imagine, the Boston Celtics are eager to get the process started and sign as many talented players as they can. But patience, as well as preparation, will be needed.

Even with a compressed free agency period that doesn't officially begin until Dec. 9, the C's will, to some degree, be in wait-and-see mode.

Armed with a 3 million mid-level exception and the veteran's minimum, the C's aren't in position to be major players on the free agent market.

While the Celtics would love to add a player like Tyson Chandler, Nene or Jamal Crawford, a more realistic pool of players they'll choose from involves players such as Kwame Brown, Josh Howard and Michael Redd.

That's why Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has been so vigorous in exploring potential trades that, in all likelihood, would involve moving at least one of the Big 4.

Point guard Rajon Rondo's name has been the one most talked about, for obvious reasons. He's 25 years old, a two-time all-star, and of the Big 4, the only one with significant room for growth at this stage in his career.

The other three -- Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- are all in the final stages of their illustrious careers.

But moving Rondo is not guaranteed to happen, so Ainge must do what he can on the free agent market as well.

However, his work to some degree depends on what other teams that are under the salary cap, can do.

Take a team like Indiana, for example.

While Boston might be a more attractive free agent destination, the Pacers have more than 20 million of salary cap space to spend and only a handful of available roster spots which gives them the ability to pick and choose who they want, and not be overly concerned about the cost.

However, the one thing the C's do have going for them is opportunity. Boston has six players under contract, and the majority of those players are veterans whose minutes will be reduced this season.

The C's roster will increase to eight when they sign their picks from last June's draft, forward Jajuan Johnson and combo guard E'Twaun Moore who both played at Purdue. Throw in the expected re-signing of Jeff Green, and you're up to nine.

That still leaves 4-6 roster spots to be filled, most likely by at least two big men and one perimeter player.

While this free agency class is void of superstar talent, there are a number of solid role players on the market. The C's recognize this, and are ready to reach out to them in an official capacity as early as today.

No deals can be consummated today, but that has no bearing on the Celtics. Either way, free agency for the C's will involve playing the waiting game.

Tanguay: Rondo will play again, and Bulls will make this a series again

Tanguay: Rondo will play again, and Bulls will make this a series again

I walked into CSN today to an array of sympathy, which is something I'm not accustomed to. It seems my Bulls-in-six  prediction earned me some street cred. (Just for the record, the CSN street cred co-exists with a Wegmans and a Bedford Farms.)

"Too bad about Rondo," I was told. "If he hadn't injured his thumb, your prediction would come true."

Whoaaaaa! This series ain't over. Two straight wins by the Bulls and my predictions does come true.  

There are a couple of things to say here. Yes, all of New England -- minus Beetle Bertrand -- wanted me institutionalized for picking the Bulls. And when I said Rajon Rondo would be a major factor, the fitting for my straight jacket was underway.

Well, I don't look so crazy now, do I?

While I was the first to want Rajon Rondo out of a Celtics uniform, I have never ever questioned his ability to control the flow of a game . . . when he wants to. The problem was he was too often hurting the Celts with his petulant ways. 

We saw what can happen when Rondo chooses to show up, like he did in Game 2 when he nearly put up a triple double. In that game Isaiah struggled, shooting 6-for-15. In Sunday's Rondo-less Game 4 Isaiah was terrific, as his 33 allowed the Celtics to tie the series at 2-2. 

If Rondo doesn't play, Isaiah will no doubt go off again. This is why Chris Mannix is right and Rajon will suit up for Game 5. While Rondo needs his right thumb to play offense, he doesn't to play defense. Defense is played with the feet. Now, I know Rondo gambles as much as anyone but if he stays in front of Isaiah -- which he can do -- the Bulls can win Game 5. And the series.

Five takeaways from Celtics' Game 4 win over Bulls

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Five takeaways from Celtics' Game 4 win over Bulls

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