The Boston Celtics have managed to piece together a successful free agency, even with the departure of Kyrie Irving who is heading to the Brooklyn Nets. Then, Al Horford declining his player option found his signature on the dotted line with the Philadelphia 76ers. Both of these moves were gut a punch to the Celtics, who had been given faith back in October about Irving staying and were almost certain to resign Horford.
Nobody knows what happened, even though the Celtics are pretty sure that tampering played a role in both of these cases, but the Celtics got their groove back. Within moments after Irving packed his bags and went to the Nets; Kemba Walker, found himself in that historic Boston Green. This instantly replaced one of the league’s most dynamic point guards with another phenomenal floor general. Then, the signing of Enes Kanter and French big man Vincent Poirier helped give some depth to the position but as of now neither are ideal start options, even with Tacko Fall waiting for a chance to shine, That is not all either, the Celtics could make a few more moves to make themselves more of threat in the East.
Trade Jaylen Brown?
Ok, let’s get to the Elephant in the room. Jaylen Brown has yet to be offered a contract extension by the Celtics and seeing how he is due a nice chunk of change this new contract, this is something to take note of. The J Team, as Jaylen and Jason are referred to, have taken a step back compared to their 2018 season. This step back in production and efficiency could have been the result of the issues between the team and Irving, so the Celtics may be waiting to see if he takes some leaps this year before securing him long term.
His potential is still very much present, and we get flashes of it but if the Celtics want to make some noise now and not gamble on their young wing they could look to move Brown and for a budding young center like Mo Bamba or for more experienced and high talent centers in Clint Capela and Steven Adams. Either would bring in really good talent with still reachable potential while keeping them relevant.
Trade Gordon Hayward/Change Contract?
Jaylen Brown was the pachyderm in the room, but Gordon Hayward is the whole herd in TD arena. The injury he experienced in 2017 has made him target of trade talk and locker room dissension, even as he has been a pretty upstanding professional through it all and has supported the team whether home recovering or sitting with the team during games. It’s hard to even have him as a possible moving piece considering how much he wants to stay with the team and show what we were hoping to see, but the remaining $60 plus million remaining on his contract is an albatross in any attempt to sign a big name if one became available. There has been some thought that a team like Orlando could be a trade partner for the Celtics to work with on off-loading his contract, seeing how the Magic have a couple of high performing and high potential players they could part with.
Moving Hayward though is not the only option, and this is where those of us rooting for him can take a sigh of relief. Hayward has a player option in the last year of his contract, meaning next year, which means he could decline and resign for less money, allowing the Celtics to chase some options. He will be just 30 years old then, which means he will still be impactful. He could even have a break out year and get back to form, something that many former players and experts believe he will do.
Trade Some Rookies?
Yes, the Celtics have signed a number of rookies this year and look to have a roster reaching over 15. That number will be reduced before the start of the season and they could look to move some of those rookies along with a couple of picks for a young player with some potential now. New signee Carsen Edwards is about the only non-negotiable as he has been nothing short of remarkable in summer league and is poised to make an impact in the NBA. Others like Grant Williams and even Romeo Langford could be nice pieces in trade bait for some solid talent to help bolster this Celtics team that wants to maintain some strength in a crumbling East.
Maybe Do Nothing?
If I was the GM there are only two moves I would make but I would be just as content as making none. As much as it would have been great to have some known superstars on the roster, I can’t help but feel highly enthusiastic with the team that the Celtics are walking into for the 2019-2020 season with. We shouldn’t kid ourselves though; if there is one thing we know about Danny Ainge, he is always thinking ahead and has a clandestine move going. I wouldn’t be surprised if the roster we see now doesn’t experience some more shake-ups.