The Boston Celtics have been the most talked about team this off-season, and for good reason. They were the #1 seed, they got to the Eastern Conference Finals, they have a slew of assets, and they have the cap room to sign a max free agent this summer.
But I’m here to tell you that their future isn’t as bright as everyone seems to think it is.
I’ll be the first to tell you that the Celtics shocked me last year. I thought they were the 4th best team in the conference based on their talent, but they still managed to get to the #1 seed and the ECF.
The problem is that the future, as well as their championship aspirations for the near future, all comes down to the decisions of two free agents.
Utah forward Gordon Hayward and Clippers forward Blake Griffin are both free agents, and both are expected to have the Celtics high on their list. Hayward has the obvious connection to Boston because of the head coach Brad Stevens. Utah sees Boston as the top threat to steal him away and I would have that same mindset if I were them. As for Griffin, I question the fit of him next to Al Horford because he can’t spread the court very well and is a one-dimensional player on offense, but he would bring star power and attract more free agents to Boston.
But let’s say that Hayward likes being the #1 option in Utah, or he goes to be the man in Miami instead. What if Blake Griffin takes the money and stays in LA, or what if he teams up with Hayward in Miami? All those are very possible and intriguing options.
That would leave Boston with nothing. If that happens, I highly doubt they trade for Paul George (B/c why trade for a guy that wants to move to the Lakers anyway). That would leave them having to pay Isaiah Thomas max money and Avery Bradley possibly $20 million per season in the summer of 2018. Then they’re locked in with that core and would have no money to put good players around them.
Then they become the Atlanta Hawks. Great regular season team, but nowhere close to beating LeBron in the East, nevermind even sniffing the level of the Golden State Warriors.
GM Danny Ainge has been given a pass because of the assets he’s acquired the last few seasons, but if they strike out this summer, fans will be wondering what it was all for. Because deep down they’ll know that they can’t realistically challenge for a title with this current roster.
Post by Thomas Mooney
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