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Sunday, July 1, 2012
Roster reset: KG makes 5

By Chris Forsberg

Jim Davis/Boston Globe/Getty ImagesCeltics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is building his 2012-13 roster.
As the Celtics' offseason unfolds, we'll maintain a look at how their roster is shaping up and the salary cap situation. In re-signing Kevin Garnett to a three-year contract extension Saturday, here's how Boston's roster looks (as always, with help from the fine folks at salary site ShamSports.com):

SIGNED FOR 2012-13 WITH SALARY (5)
Guards: Rajon Rondo ($11 million), Avery Bradey ($1.6 million)
Forwards: Paul Pierce ($16.8 million), JaJuan Johnson ($1.1 million)
Center: Kevin Garnett ($11 million*)

FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICKS WITH SALARY HOLD (2)
Jared Sullinger ($1.1 million), Fab Melo ($1.1 million)

NON-GUARANTEED 2012-13 CONTRACTS (3)
E'Twaun Moore ($760,000); Sean Williams ($915,000); Kris Joseph ($473,604)

FREE AGENTS FROM 2011-12 SEASON (11)
Restricted: Greg Stiemsma ($1.1 million)
Unrestricted: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Keyon Dooling, Mickael Pietrus, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic, Ryan Hollins, Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox

Total salary committed to guaranteed contracts (including rookies): $43.7 million

The big news for Sunday is that the Celtics are willing to offer Allen a two-year, $12 million contract in hopes of retaining the soon-to-be 37-year-old shooting guard. Considering the way Allen struggled at the end of the season while battling bone spurs in his injured ankle, some have suggested the price tag might be a bit steep. The Celtics would be banking on a healthy Allen reverting to form, this after still shooting a career-best beyond the 3-point arc last season. They're also trying to prevent him from being lured away from someone like the Miami Heat, their chief Eastern Conference rival.

While Boston has to be responsible in its quest to remain under the luxury tax threshold (roughly $74 million), thereby having the full mid-level ($5 million) and bi-annual ($2 million) exceptions at its disposal to further lure talent, adding Allen at around $6 million next season won't detour that. Garnett's salary from last season has already been halved and Allen earned $10 million last season. Combine those discounts on a team that spent $79.5 million total and they're shimmying their way back down.

There's still a lot of big-money decisions to be made even beyond Allen, including whether to utilize their rights to work a long-term deal with Brandon Bass (who opted out at $4.3 million looking for a raise) and then there's Jeff Green (who the team would love to bring back and had a $9 million price tag before his heart ailment).

But Boston does have potential to fill out the end of its roster rather economically, including the rookie contracts and non-guaranteed options for Moore and Williams. The Celtics can still splurge a bit on the likes of Allen and Green, and still leave themselves enough wiggle room to utilize the full mid-level as well.

That means Boston can still pursue any of the big-name bench options that are on the market, including O.J. Mayo and Jamal Crawford (with Jason Terry and Nick Young among others for the team to be interested in).

Keep in mind, the Celtics would seemingly desire to bring back the likes of Pietrus or Dooling (and must fend off any bidders for Stiemsma). But being over the salary cap limits their ability to re-sign those players without using exceptions, unless those players agree to play for the minor raises Boston can offer given their limited rights after spending just one season in green.

Don't pay much mind to cap holds. Boston is going to be over the salary cap and the holds only ensure they can't splurge before signing their own free agents. Allen is on the books for $15 million until his situation is resolved, while Green and Bass account for another $19 million. One way or another, those numbers will dip. Heck, Boston is still has an $8.3 million cap hold on Nenad Krstic (though it's interesting to see Sportando's report Sunday that he is leaving CSKA Moscow). The Celtics could still use some big-man help next season and Boston owns his rights from the Kendrick Perkins trade with Oklahoma City. Krstic earned $5.5 million during the 2010-11 season before bolting overseas during the lockout.