By the time Doc Rivers announces whether he'll return as Boston's head coach, a member of his starting five might be gone.
A league front-office source told FanHouse that the Celtics have been dangling center Kendrick Perkins and their No. 19 pick to teams with high lottery picks in attempt to add a dynamic young talent to their aging core. It's a tough sell, considering Perkins is facing surgery as early as Friday after tearing his medial collateral ligament and partially tearing his posterior cruciate ligament in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
If Boston general manager Danny Ainge did manage to find a suitor, it would mean Perkins' seven-year career with the Celtics would come to an end in dramatic form. He was the talk of Tinsel Town leading into Game 7 against the Lakers, when news of his absence broke and the decimated Perkins stood on his crutches and shared his raw emotions with the media.
The Celtics nearly pulled off the upset without him, in large part because of a solid game from veteran Rasheed Wallace. But as the Lakers celebrated on and around the Staples Center floor, Rivers revealed that Wallace may retire.
Share Boston has just six players on contract for next season but its payroll stands at approximately $63 million, and that number would be down to five if Wallace retires as expected. Shooting guard Ray Allen will be a free agent and has said he wants to return, while Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis and Wallace round out the group still on the books. Pierce has a player option worth $21.5 million for the 2010-11 campaign, and he could certainly opt out if he's looking for more long-term security. While the cap number for 2010-11 won't be known until early July, it was $57.7 million last season.
Perkins has an expiring contract that will pay him $4.4 million next season, and the best case scenario for the Celtics would be to move their big man and the pick to a team with the salary cap space to absorb both and free up money for Ainge's strapped payroll. Rivers, meanwhile, has said he is leaning a particular direction in regards to his future but would not disclose which one.