While free agency is still a few weeks away, Ainge told CSNNE.com that all of the current Celtics who will become free agents next month are in the talent pool that the C's will be looking to pluck from in order in constructing the 2012-13 season.
When asked whether he was leaning one way or another in terms of which players he wanted to bring back, Ainge responded, "That's a tough 'yes' or 'no' question. We want guys back that we have on our roster now. We'll have good dialogue . . . and figure out who is coming back."
via Ainge not ruling out contract offers to Garnett, Allen.
Both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are unrestricted free agents, and Paul Pierce is on lockdown for the foreseeable future.
Allen is unlikely to return. On top of his deteriorating abilities and health, he has expressed interest in joining the Miami Heat. The Celtics, meanwhile, have Avery Bradley, who started over Allen until his season was ended with shoulder surgery.
Allen is going to get a slew of offers on the open market. He can chase another ring or take a bigger offer than the Celtics will afford.
Kevin Garnett? That's a tougher question. Garnett played worthy of a sizable contract, showing no signs of age until really Game 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He was a better shooter than he's been in years and as good a defender as ever. With the lack of power forwards options better than him, bringing him back might be an option if he would choose to avoid a massive contract to return so he can retire as a Celtic.
The Celtics need to think about this carefully, though. They need to start looking to the future and build a team that can run with Rajon Rondo. They don't have to challenge for a title immediately, but they need to have a base set where if they get that transcendent star to put next to Rondo they can compete. This year was a great send-off for the Big 3. Ruining it by forcing another year would be like that television show that doesn't know when to pack it in and ruins the memories of the show.
Good memories aren't everything, especially when you come up short even after a masterful effort like the Celtics made this season.