The Boston Celtics will be facing the challenge of rebuilding their roster into a championship contender this summer.
There are mixed reports of Paul Pierce being either bought out for $5 million or traded because he has an expiring contract with a buy-out clause. The more likely scenario is the Celtics will trade the 15-year veteran. This will force them to remake their roster, but the challenge will not be as daunting because they still have point guard Rajon Rondo and head coach Doc Rivers.
Two of the remaining three teams in the NBA playoffs are examples for the Celtics to look toward in restocking their talent.
The San Antonio Spurs much like the Celtics had an aging 7-footer in David Robinson in 1997. The Spurs were fortunate to land the top pick in that draft as they won the Tim Duncan Sweepstakes. In the next six seasons, the Spurs had one of the best frontcourts in the game with Robinson and Duncan. They won a championship in the lockout-shortened 1998-’99 season over the New York Knicks. When Robinson retired, the Spurs were forced to find a new avenue to build their team. Tony Parker fell to the Spurs in the 2001 NBA Draft as the 28th overall selection. Parker came from playing in France and was an unknown prospect compared to other point guards like Joseph Forte (University of North Carolina) and Jamaal Tinsley (Iowa State) who played in the United States. Forte was selected with the 21st overall pick by the Celtics and he played a total of 25 games in the NBA with just eight for the Celtics in 2001-’02. Tinsley was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, but he was traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft night. Parker has become one of the best point guards in the league as he has helped the Spurs win two championships (2004-’05 and 2006-’07). Manu Ginobili was taken by the Spurs in the second round in 1999 in the second round with the 57th pick, but the crafty Argentinan played overseas until the 2002-’03 season when he began his career with the Spurs. Ginobili has become one of the best scorers off the bench. Another foreign player that the Spurs plucked in the NBA Draft is contributing to the Spurs’ run to the NBA Finals in Tiago Splitter. Like Ginobili, the 6-11 center from Brazil was drafted in 2007, but he played in international competition until he joined the Spurs in 2010-’11. The two constants have been Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich.