BOSTON – There are few guarantees when it comes to the NBA and the Boston Celtics, but one thing’s for certain: change is going to come next season.
This is especially true for the Celtics whose season ended with a 104-92 Game 6 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sending the C’s home for the season with a second straight first-round exit.
“That’s just the business of the NBA,” said Isaiah Thomas who had a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists which were both game highs on Thursday. “One thing I do know, I ride with these guys until the wheels fall off; I mean this was a special group.”
But whether they stay together remains to be seen.
Among those who could be on the move is Evan Turner, an unrestricted free agent this summer.
He will be among the more heavily pursued Celtics this summer, in large part because of his versatility as both a playmaker and scoring guard off the bench.
Several teams will come hard after Turner, among them being the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic who are desperate to add talented, proven veterans to their young rosters.
The second year of Jonas Jerebko’s contract becomes fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster after July 3. Considering the way he played in the postseason as well as his steady presence during the regular season, the Celtics are more than likely to keep him around for next season.
Boston has a pair of restricted free agents in Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger. It is unclear what the Celtics will do with them because it remains to be seen what type of offers (if any) they receive from another team.
“This season didn’t go exactly how I would have wanted it to,” Zeller told CSNNE.com. “But I like it here, I like the coaching staff and the players. So we’ll see what happens this summer. But yeah, I’m definitely open to the idea of coming back next season.”
There’s a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding Amir Johnson who could potentially become a free agent this summer if the Celtics decline to pick up the second year on his contract which is worth $12 million.
When I asked Johnson if he felt he had done enough to have to his second year picked up by the Celtics he told CSNNE.com, “I hope so.”
Johnson added, “We never quit even when we were down big at the end of the game. I feel there’s stuff we can clean up and be better, from the coaching staff to the players to the front office. But there’s something about this team, we don’t have no quit in us. I feel like we can definitely go far if we just put the right pieces together.”
And as far as his future in Boston, “I definitely want to be here.”
Only time will tell just how many of Boston’s potential free agents will be riding with the Green Team next season, or be swept away and wind up on another roster in what will surely be an offseason of change.