The news that Paul Pierce was going to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Boston Celtics probably hit some devout Celtics' fans hard. However, Pierce opting out actually makes the Celtics a big time player in the Lebron James sweepstakes.
The Celtics have everything in place for Lebron to make a run at multiple championships. Here are the top ten reasons Lebron should pack up the moving van and head to Beantown:
1. Doc Rivers announced that he is coming back to coach the Celtics. Phil Jackson is the only other coach in the NBA today that gives you a better chance to win a title in 2011. Rivers has a championship system in place and he is a player's coach. Lebron can count on Doc to always have his back.
2. Rajon Rondo is a perfect complimentary player for Lebron. And, Rondo is locked up to a manageable long term contract. Yes, Rondo has to handle the ball most of the time to be effective, but the Celtics have a bunch of set plays initiated by other players.
Rondo would take pressure off Lebron defensively and on the glass. Plus, how many assists would Rondo rack up with Lebron filling the wing on the fast break? Mind-boggling.
3. Kevin Garnett is the emotional leader, but he does not have to be the team's best player anymore. Garnett would make more money than Lebron next season, but then the team would be Lebron's. Garnett is still a force on both ends of the floor. He can still score in the post in the playoffs. Anything is possible, and Garnett has one more championship run in him.
4. Danny Ainge provides stability in the front office. Everyone knows that Ainge can put together a championship team. He will make the right moves to give Lebron a chance to win multiple titles. Winning titles is how you are measured in Boston because of the Celtics tradition.
5. If Lebron signs, the Celtics surely can resign Ray Allen. Lebron needs a knock down three-point shooter by his side. The money should be there to sign Allen if Rasheed Wallace retires as expected.
6. Bill Russell can give his blessing for Lebron to wear No. 6 next season. Don't you think Russell would get a kick out of seeing Lebron adopt his old number and lead the Celtics to another NBA title.
7. The Celtics have some roster flexibility and can use Lebron to bring in some quality players. If Wallace retires: Lebron signs, and Allen signs, and they would only have six players under contract. They could bring in another shooter like a Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick. Celtics fans would love Redick.
8. The tradition and the mystique of playing in the Boston Garden. The Garden is a basketball destination. Legends are made in this city. The playoffs are a rite of passage for these fans. Lebron would take the Garden to a higher level of excitement.
9. This sets up an even bigger stage for a rivalry NBA Finals series with Kobe Bryant. Imagine the hype for the 2010 NBA Finals, but magnified with Lebron's presence in place of Paul Pierce.
10. The Celtics ownership proved they will spend the money necessary to win and win big. Pierce, Allen, and Garnett were almost the equivalent of three max contract players.
The pieces to the championship puzzle are already in place in Boston. They need a small forward to replace Paul Pierce. Lebron James is the perfect player to put those pieces together again like the Celtics did in 2008.