Is this the final run for the C's Big Four?

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Is this the final run for the C's Big Four?

BOSTON For the most die-hard Boston Celtics fan, the thought seems real but inconceivable at the same time.

When the Celtics take to the floor tonight in Game 7 of their second round playoff series against Philadelphia, it could very well be the last time the Big Four - Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo - play together.

Garnett and Allen will become unrestricted free agents this summer, and are sure to draw considerable attention from teams besides the Celtics. There's no telling if Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will look to potential trades involving Pierce or Rondo in his efforts to bolster the C's roster.

It adds another dimension of uncertainty heading into a game that would not be happening if the C's played with the kind of consistency one expects from a veteran team whose core players have won a championship, facing a team as young and inexperienced as the Sixers who are getting their postseason baptism by fire.

Allen, who has been on the trading block more than any other member of the Big Four, is well aware that tonight's game may very well be his last in a Celtics uniform.

It is something that Allen says he has given no serious thought to simply because it is part of the been-there, answered-that line of questioning he and the rest of the Big Four usually get this time of year.

"It seems like we've been ruled out so many times before, so many years before," Allen said. "It's just another opportunity to go out and be who we are. So we're not worried about what's beyond today, what's beyond tomorrow. We'll worry about what we have in the present day."

Said Rondo: "I don't think about it at all. I just try to focus on the task at hand with the guys we have, which is Paul, Kevin, myself and the rest of the guys. Right now, we're excited about playing Game Seven."

Of the Big Four, Garnett's future is the one that's most intriguing. After there was some talk early in the season that he'd give some thought to retiring, Garnett turned back the hands of time and turned up his level of production after the all-star break.

And all talk about his future, he has quickly dismissed it and immediately shifted talks back towards this team, this season.

The focus right now is the playoffs," Garnett said. "I havent given it that much thought, to be honest. Were definitely aware of it."

Especially Pierce, who has probably talked more candidly about this being the potential final run for the Big Four before some - if not all - go their separate ways.

Pretty much the last couple of years weve been feeling like that," said Pierce, who added that the goal is to, "win another championship, regardless of whether this is going to be our last time together. We dont know what the future is going to hold for all of us, with KG in the last year of his contract, Ray in the last year of his contract; trade speculations have been going on, theres talk about rebuilding. There is a sense of urgency with us.

NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

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NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

BOSTON – The NBA has become more of an international game as teams scour the globe in search of the next big basketball talent.

While some franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs have been poaching talented international players for years, other franchises have been more locked into adding American-born ballers.

The Boston Celtics have paid close attention to the best international players for several years.

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But more often than not, additions to their roster through the draft have come from the college ranks with an occasional international player added via free agency.

This season's team will definitely have a certain international flavor to it with overseas additions coming by way of players they drafted and signed as free agents to bolster what should be one of the deeper teams in the East.

Boston has six rookies with guaranteed contracts for this upcoming season, four of which were born outside of the United States.

And of those four rookies, three of them – Guerschon Yabusele (16th overall pick); Ante Zizic (23rd overall pick) and Abdel Nader; 58th overall pick) – were selected in the 2016 draft but didn't join the team immediately. 

Yabusele who is originally from France, spent most of last season in China and came to the States and played briefly with the Celtic’s Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He will be among the bevy of young players competing for minutes off the Celtics bench. 

Zizic, born in Croatia, spent last season playing in his native country as well as in Turkey. The 7-foot center will come into training camp competing for playing time, possibly as Boston’s starting center.

And then there’s Nader, a G-League all-star as well as the G-League’s rookie of the year last season. The Egyptian-American wing player showed promise in each of the last two summer leagues which is in part why the Celtics signed him to a four-year, $6 million deal with only the first year fully guaranteed. 

They each have different strengths that only add value to a Boston squad that’s being built to play just about every style of play imaginable.

But the Celtics didn’t limit their pursuit of international talent to just the draft.

Boston has also signed German Forward Daniel Theis. 

Unlike the international players drafted by Boston, Theis is a bit of a mystery to most Celtics fans.

Last season he averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds for Brose Bamberg of Germany, while shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 59.8 percent from the field.

And that season ended with a German championship, just like the previous two seasons for the 6-9, 243-pound forward who is expected to come in and compete for playing time off the bench for a Celtics team that’s looking for