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July 1, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg

Chris Forsberg
  (1:00 PM)

Greetings everyone. Welcome to our first offseason chat. Hope everyone has recovered from the playoff run. Let's dive in with your sure-to-be free-agency heavy question.

Tyler (South Bend, IN)

Sign Ray to 2/20 and PP 3/42. No more than that. They each want to stay put, especially since Doc is back in the mix. This gives the C's great flexability to sign some veteran presences (Josh Howard, Mike Miller, trade for Beasley).

Chris Forsberg
  (1:02 PM)

If only it were that easy. I like where your head is at, but I think the market is likely to drive up both price tags (unless both Pierce and Allen are willing to take hometown discounts). I think Ray gets a third year based on the market, while Pierce plays hardball for four. Might spoil Boston's plans to head to youth movement after 2011-12, but if they are serious about keeping the core together, they might have to overpay (in terms of length) of those deals.

Matt (Vermont)

I know there is a big push for keeping the band together for one last run but everyone knows it has almost no chance of happening. So what would be better for the C's, resign Pierce and Allen, or move on and say pursue a Rudy Gay and David Lee? Next year would be close, but you know that in 2 years option 2 is probably 10-15 wins better. Danny knows this and is smart, so what does he do??

Chris Forsberg
  (1:05 PM)

Barring a ridiculous offer from someone like the Clippers, I do believe Pierce is back. Just can't imagine it any other way. As for Allen, I'm not so convinced. While he had a strong second half of the season, he did falter in the Finals. I think Boston will explore all possible avenues there while balancing that with what the market dictates for a shooting guard. It's certainly worth pursuing restricted shooters like JJ Redick and Anthony Morrow, who might cost fractions of what Allen costs, and sets you up better for the future. Ainge isn't one for sentimentality, but Doc will be leaning hard for the core to be back.

Patty (Upstate New York)

I'm not clear on the salary cap stuff.Why can't the Celtics try and sign Lebron and let Pierce go.It seems we have money now that Pierce has opted out.Thanks

Chris Forsberg
  (1:07 PM)

I could use all the time in this chat trying to explain it, but let's bottom line it: There's items called "cap holds" that prevent teams from going out and signing free agents, then turning around and using Bird Rights to re-sign their own free agents. It just wouldn't be fair. Boston's cap holds for Pierce and Allen amount to 105% of last year's salary, or $40 million.Now, that doesn't mean they get $40 million if they ultimately renounce their rights. In fact, Boston sinks only about $15 million under the cap. They would be players in the free-agent market at that point, likely with enough cash for one max contract.But it's far better business to try to keep their own free agents and build around them the way the cap is structured.

Peter (Maine)

Think the C's will bring back Ryan Gomes?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:08 PM)

Not unless he's willing to take a paycut. But it wouldn't be the offseason/trade deadline if we didn't get some quality "Bring Gomes back!" chatter.

Jeff (Cincinnati, Oh)

What is the Celtics interest in JJ Redick? Is he an option to fill out the roster? An option to replace Ray? What role will Redick fulfill?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:09 PM)

I think both Redick and Morrow are restricted free agents that could add some pop to the bench and -- in the event that Boston can't bring back Allen -- potentially be eyed as starters. Clearly neither player is as proven as Allen, but both are intriguing options. Being able to pry them from their respective teams -- particularly in a competitive market -- won't be easy.

Roberto Juanez (NYC)

Who should the Celtics sign as a replacement for Rasheed Wallace and can the C's get the money that they will spend on Sheed back?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:11 PM)

This is quietly a big issue for Boston. See, if Wallace files his retirement papers to the league, thereby sacrificing the $13 million remaining on his deal, the C's get his $6.3 million owed this season back. A huge boost this offseason... But if he doesn't go that route and seeks a buyout, whatever the C's have to pay him to walk away will go against the cap this year. A particularly tough pill to swallow when every dollar is important.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:12 PM)

The one downside for Boston is that it's likely they'll have to use this year's mid-level exception to potentially find a big body to ease the loss of Wallace (and the ACL injury to Kendrick Perkins). That means last year's MLE was only good for one season, a bit squandered, since the team won't get a second MLE if Wallace walks away.

celticshurrah (germany)

what do you think the celtics roster will look like next season with doc coming back (which is a huge boost for pierce and allen to sign again aswell) with all the rumors about miller and redick?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:14 PM)

It's pretty safe to say Doc wouldn't be coming back, especially as torn as he was making this decision, if he didn't believe that Ainge's No. 1 priority is bringing back the core. Remember, Rivers loves that whole, "This starting 5 is undefeated in the playoffs when healthy..." line. I think Doc is fine bringing back that core, sprinkle in a Tony Allen if the market doesn't price him out, and filling in the bench with leftover bodies. But re-signing both Pierce and Allen is no slam dunk and Danny must weigh whether it's in the best interest of the team in the long run to do just that.

BD (Boston)

How about trading Sheed's contract for Shawn Marion, if Ray Allen goes elsewhere?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:16 PM)

Two things about any trade involving 'Sheed's contract: 1) Boston will have to be 1,000 percent sure Wallace plans to file through the league, because no team wants to trade for what they believe is a soon-to-be null contract, then Wallace decides to come back or seeks a buyout and 2) If that is the case, what a bargaining chip in a season teams are desperately seeking to get under the cap. That's $6.3 million in cap gold and could help net a decent player.

mike (cubville)

clearly we have a need at center. shopping sheeds contract is an option and both dampier and millers name are circulating; could we get bill russell, doc, kg, pp, and ra to persuade shaq here?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:18 PM)

When I read your question quickly, I thought you were suggesting Bill Russell as the starting center on this team. Ironically, he might be the best available option on the free-agent market and would skew the Celtics' average age even more.... I'm not sold on Shaq, but I guess the C's are in no position to rule anyone out. They desperately need a big body to hold the fort while Perkins rehabs from ACL surgery.

Roberto Juanez (NYC)

Is Pierce opting out merely a formality for signing a longer contract and better job security or is he actively pursuing another team for a ring?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:19 PM)

Mostly a formality. With an uncertain labor forecast and potential lockout looming after this season, it's in Pierce's best interest to secure a long-term deal. He'll sacrifice $21.5 million this year and likely re-sign at a lower number for this season, but in the long term he'll make more money, particularly if the owners try to drive down salaries with the next CBA... I still think he ends up in Boston unless a ridiculous offer surfaces or he doesn't like the direction the team goes in (which seems to have been negated by Rivers' return).

Evan (Boston)

If you could pick who would you sign with the MLE? Would you use it on one player or try to split it?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:20 PM)

If the right player is available at the price of the MLE, you use it on one. But say you were hoping that was Mike Miller, whose price tag is escalating by the minute. Then maybe you start thinking about splitting it up, particularly since the C's are already short on bodies.

Sean (Hudson)

Chris, any way the C's could pry Al Jefferson back from Minnesota?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:22 PM)

Only if McHale somehow sneaked back in as GM. *zing!*... No, they can't afford his salary and I don't see any trades that would make sense. I know a lot of people would love to see him back in Boston and it was tough to watch him go in the KG deal, but I don't see any way he's back.

Derek (Phoenix)

Hey Chris, Beasley is most likely getting moved. Do you think the Celtics would trade Sheed (to help clear Miami cap) for Beasley? We need another big and he is only 21. He does have some off the court issues but coming to a strong veteran team with his skills and potential he could be very good next to (a healthy) Perkins

Chris Forsberg
  (1:24 PM)

I'd love to see this one floated past KG. No, I don't think he's the right fit here. People see potential, but just remember how badly he was abused by an aging Garnett this past postseason.

John (Rutland Ma)

Do you think the celtics would re sign Nate Robinson at a good price? and do you think they are going to

Chris Forsberg
  (1:25 PM)

His postseason reemergence would seemingly make the team somewhat interested, but I don't think they're *that* interested and he's going to get a quality payday outside of Boston based on potential anyhow. Put it this way, even if he was seeking the same $4 million per season, I think the team would rather use that towards re-signing Tony Allen.

Spaulding Smails (Bushwood)

In the event that neither Pierce nor Allen (though could they still sign Allen) come back for the 2010 season, who would the C's target to fill out the roster around KG, Rondo & Perk?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:27 PM)

I can't picture it happening, but as mentioned earlier, the C's could open as much as $15 million if they renounce Allen/Pierce and Wallace walks away from his $13 million. They'd be players for a potential max contract, but by the time they actually renounced, most max guys will likely be signed by other teams, anyhow.

Jeff (Cincinnati, Oh)

Will the Celtics try and do deals with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen that coincide with the ending of Garnett's deal in the 2011-12 season? That would give them another two year window before blowing up the nucleus and starting over.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:28 PM)

I think with Allen they'd love to do a two-year deal. My gut says he'll get three. I don't think the Celtics are as worried if Pierce is signed longer than two years. He'll still be a nice piece of the puzzle, even after KG & Allen move on.

Mike (Charlestown)

Are multi year contacts for both pierce and allen really a good idea? I realize the celtics don't have enough cap flexibility to do too much else, but should that block them into signing both of these guys to 3 or more years? Next year should be fine, but it's hard to believe that these guys can play defense this well through their mid 30s.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:30 PM)

This is the tough question for Ainge, who has previously stated he thought the team hung on to guys like Bird and McHale too long, when they had quality trade offers in the late 80s. Now, there's no trade offers flooring Ainge, but he does have to be careful about keeping this core together too long. He can't appease Rivers by going all out to bring back the core if it handcuffs the team past the 2010-11 season.

Jet (Cleveland(but from Boston))

Mr. Forsberg, It seems like everyone is pursuing Mike Miller, JJ Redrick, why dont the Celtics try Kyle Korver. He's 6'7 and can hit 3's

Chris Forsberg
  (1:32 PM)

Korver made $5+ million last season. That's a lot of change for a guy who averaged 7.2 points per game. Even if he has great hair.

Mike (Boston)

Hi Chris, I keep hearing the max offer the C's can make Pierce is 4 yrs $96 mil. Not that I want them to invest more yrs, but how come Atl can sign JJ to 6 yrs & we can only sign PP to 4 yrs? Thanks!

Chris Forsberg
  (1:33 PM)

If I'm not mistaken, teams can offer Pierce more than four years. But I believe there's a clause about players over the age of 37 that makes the longer deal much more prohibitive for teams. Plus Pierce just needs four years for the no-trade clause he wouldn't mind getting out of this.

GG Allin (Manchester, NH)

Are the Celtics really that interested in JJ Redick? He's pretty much an exceptional shooter and that's it.

Chris Forsberg
  (1:35 PM)

No doubt. But if there's one thing Boston will lack should Allen not come back, it's 3-point shooting and there's definitely a premium to be put on that. Can't have enough shooters in this league.

Jon (Purdue University)

Will this off-season decide Ainge's legacy?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:37 PM)

No, he cemented his place by bringing the Big Three together and winning a title. But it certainly could hurt it a tiny bit if, say, he does keep the core together and the team can't match its level of play from last season, particularly into 2011-12 season and beyond. Ainge must tread carefully and not get caught up in keeping the band together just to keep it together.

Zain (CA)

If the band isn't back (say Ray leaves), is there a chance Doc can change his mind and leave?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:38 PM)

Doubtful. He didn't have to make his decision so quickly. My guess is he's all-in, but knowing that there's a very good chance the core is intact. Why else make the decision so soon?

Steve (Newton)

Assuming Ray and PP stay, who can we get (1) as a big man to sub for Perk then come off the bench and (2) wing scorer/defender off the bench?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:41 PM)

You're likely looking at using the MLE to lure a big man to start at center while Perkins recovers. But the market being what it is and teams likely to overpay after striking out at the top tier of guys, I wonder how difficult it will be for the C's to find a player willing to settle for the MLE. Might not be the impact player they covet. Essentially they're looking for another Wallace, but one that maybe doesn't mail it in for the regular season.... As for a wing, Yahoo! had a note today noting the C's might be interested in Golden State's Anthony Morrow. He's very intriguing to me, especially at such a low qualifying offer ($1 million and change). GS has the right to match, but interest could be heavy and drive his price tag up quickly. Not bad for an undrafted guy two seasons ago.

Zain (CA)

Celtics would need to overpay to get Reddick and/or Morrow, correct?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:44 PM)

To a certain degree. Reddick's qualifying offer is in the neighborhood of $3.9 million. Orlando is going to match something in that vicinity, but some team could overpay for him. Morrow's qualifying offer is like $1.05 million. Is it outrageous to think a team might triple that to lure a legitimate bench scorer, one that maintained quality sophomore stats (particularly his 3-point shooting -- he doesn't shoot a lot, but he shoots a very high percentage).

tom (toledo, ohio)

The Celts were badly out rebounded in the finals.. Where is the help coming from to change this?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:45 PM)

Can I interest you in Semih Erden? No, that's quite literally the "big" question this offseason. I just don't see a lot of free agent names that do a lot for me. C's might have to get creative finding a big man. Who's the 2010 version of Dennis Rodman? Find me a guy who just chomps on glass for 48 minutes and if he's a 7-footer, all the better.

Joel (Nebraska)

Thank you Memphis for letting Ronnie Brewer walk away, is there a better situation for him to go to now than Boston, we need a 2 who can play D. He would be good to bring in as insurance for ray

Chris Forsberg
  (1:47 PM)

Probably not an ideal guy if Ray doesn't come back, but certainly someone to keep an eye on. Boston passed on the opportunity to draft a pure SG during the draft, so that's why guys like Brewer, Morrow, and Reddick seem so intriguing.

Jon (From Boston but at Purdue U)

If Paul Pierce leaves, are we allowed to call him a traitor?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:49 PM)

I just can't fathom it. But I suppose there will be some backlash if somehow, someway, he doesn't come back. I just can't see Pierce looking at a picture of Red Auerbach and then signing a contract elsewhere.

Mike Miller (Memphis)

Wouldn't I be a good fit on this Celtics team?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:50 PM)

Memphis? How'd you end up back in Memphis? I think you'd be a great fit here, Mike, but reports say your price tag is going up and the C's probably won't have that kind of money to pursue.

Brad Miller (Chicago)

Would I fit in as a Celtic? Do I want to come to Boston?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:52 PM)

Everyone thinks you and Rondo can't be in the same locker room, but funny how those things usually smooth out when guys are put on the same team. You're a little old, but when has that ever stopped the Celtics? You might be one of the few best available options.

Walter (LA)

NO SHAQ!

Chris Forsberg
  (1:52 PM)

You've got plenty of C's fans who support your thought process.

Dallas (Boston)

Do you see Avery Bradley being a potential Monta Ellis like player?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:54 PM)

Maybe, but I think Bradley is more defensive-minded than offensive. I do think the C's envision him as someone who will emerge in a key role -- more than just a backup point guard -- but Monta Ellis might be setting the bar a bit too high.

JD (Boston)

How many players in the league have "max contracts" and how many deserve max money...

Chris Forsberg
  (1:55 PM)

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it sure seems like we often say, "How is this guy getting paid max money?" There's a ton of bad contracts out there and, who knows, maybe in 2015 we'll look back and laugh at what this offseason offered.

Tony (Azores)

Do you see Travis Outlaw as a better option than Mike Miller and J.J Redick? He's 6'9 and very athletic. He also covers sg's and sf's. Why aren't we being aggresive and trying to get this guy?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:57 PM)

Seems like another potential low-cost option. I like the player and think there's potential there. A lot like Perkins, he's been in the league seven years, but is only 25. Very intriguing.

Hamza (D.C)

Have you heard any news about michael finley?

Chris Forsberg
  (1:59 PM)

I hope you're asking because you're worried he'll be back. Finley scored 3 points in the playoffs. Hey, it was worth the gamble. Maybe he finds another competitor to hop on with.

Nate (LA)

What will the Celtics do with there Other free agents besides Paul and Ray such as Nate, Tony, Scal, and Finley?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:01 PM)

People forget they've got six other guys to deal with beyond Pierce and Allen. I think they do everything possible to re-sign TA, but will depend on if a Western Conference team sees what he did against Kobe and overpays for him (or if Thibs can lure him to Chicago). But other than him and Scalabrine, who could come back at veteran minimum (remember Doc loves him), I'm not sure I see anyone the team brings back. Nate and Marquis will get deals based on potential; Shelden might have punched his ticket out of town with his atrocious play in the Finals.

Big John (Parts Unknown)

C'mon Forsberg. Give us some scoop!

Chris Forsberg
  (2:02 PM)

I'm not sure there will be a lot of scoops this offseason. I think the C's are going to be tied up worrying about Pierce and Allen at the start of free agency, that they are sort of handcuffed with the rest of the process. Will be interesting to see if their hands are forced if players start handshaking deals like mad, even before the official first day to sign on July 8.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:03 PM)

Couple more to wrap this up. Ton of questions today, you guys rock.

Joel (Boston)

Can we get some love for Semih Erden?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:04 PM)

I'm stunned he's even a possibility. Hopeful the rumors are true that he'll be part of the summer league next week in Orlando.

Mike (Worcester, MA)

Why are the celtics not letting pierce and allen go. And then going after one or two of the big named younger free agents this year. Then they are still viable and building a future for rondo.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:05 PM)

Part of it is they need to keep as much of this core together as possible in order to sell Rivers on coming back. But it's also their best option in remaining competitive immediately. The money you save by renouncing Pierce/Allen just doesn't give you enough to bring back the same level of talent.

Rob (PHX)

What are the realistic chances the Celtics can go back to the Finals next year?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:07 PM)

Again, starting 5 hasn't lost when healthy, so they believe it's a strong chance if they can reassemble. But it will also depend on how beefed up the East gets this offseason. Chicago, NJ, and Miami could become juggernauts in a hurry.

Barney Miller (NY)

Would I fit in as a Celtic? all my other relatives seem to be asking...

Chris Forsberg
  (2:08 PM)

See, I thought for sure someone would use Reggie and/or Cheryl Miller instead.

Brian (Boston)

So is Avery Bradley the backup PG in the Eddie House/Nate Robinson role for the season? Or is Danny gonna look for a backup PG?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:08 PM)

I think Bradley will get every shot to win that job. It's a position the C's got by with smoke and mirrors last year, but clearly need a serviceable backup to just spell Rondo.

Ryan (Toronto)

Boston still plays championship D. But their offense is a hugely underreported problem. They really need someone who can create his own shot and finish. Agree/Disagree?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:09 PM)

Agree wholeheartedly. When Pierce struggles and Rondo isn't aggressive, this team gets MIGHTY stagnant MIGHTY quickly.

Jalal ( ( Lakeville (MA ))

Why not reinvent around Rondo now against later?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:11 PM)

Just not enough cap flexibility at the start. You're looking at a guaranteed year of rebuilding this season to do that. I don't think the team is ready for that.

Zain (CA)

IF C's win in 2011, then _________

Chris Forsberg
  (2:12 PM)

... we're talking about keeping the band together in 2012 again! ... No, I actually think rebuilding would have been easier to sell if they had won this season. Instead, 2010-2011 becomes the redemption tour because the Celtics ran out of gas.

Big Z (Seattle)

No idea why all the hate for Shaq Diesel..i think he'd be a great backup for Perk while he heals up. Re-sign PP and Jesus to the shortest deals possible and get me a James Posey look-a-like type player and we're good to go for another champ run right? Now, name me who that James Posey-like player should be..

Chris Forsberg
  (2:12 PM)

Tony Allen?

Chris Forsberg
  (2:13 PM)

Alright, that's going to do it for this week. I'm sure we'll be back next week -- from Orlando and the summer league, no less -- chatting about how the offseason is unfolding.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:13 PM)

Enjoy the free-agent craziness. Remember to take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Should be a fun couple of weeks and will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:14 PM)

Thanks for all the questions. I think we set a new C's chat record for questions and that's awesome for something we whipped together this morning.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:14 PM)

We'll be starting up the mailbag again soon, so if you have more questions, send them that way.

Chris Forsberg
  (2:14 PM)

Thanks again, everyone!