Kevin Durant made his decision, and he’ll be taking his talents to the Bay Area. The Celtics have a max contract slot still available. So will they look to sign someone else? Will they pursue trades more aggressively? Or will they quit while they are ahead with the Horford deal and see what they have heading into next year?
At this point, there aren’t a ton of top-line free agents left to pursue. I don’t think Dirk or Wade are going anywhere. I’m not ready to sign up for Dion Waiters or J.R. Smith. The best remaining free agent might be Festus Ezeli, and I don’t think he’s a priority now that we signed the top free agent center on the market in Horford.
More likely Ainge will turn his attention back to the trade market. I would very much like to hear Danny make a phone call or two to the Bulls to see if they’d be willing to discuss Jimmy Butler deals again. I would even be in favor of adding some more chips in the trade now that we have Horford. Butler fits the timeline with Horford better than whomever we could get with the Nets picks. It is at least something to consider.
I suppose we could make a call to Sacramento to talk about DeMarcus Cousins. You could play Horford at the 4 and have Cousins play in the paint. Having Horford around would help Brad Stevens reel him in a bit as well. But I might prefer what’s behind door number three.
How about Russell Westbrook? Think about it. The Oklahoma City Thunder now will risk losing both their stars for nothing if they don’t so something soon. Reports indicate that they’ll try to get Russell to extend his contract, but if he doesn’t, then they’ll consider moving him.
But what would be the cost? I would imagine it would be sky high for one of the top players in the world. On the other hand, he’s going into free agency, and the team trading for him would risk him leaving for nothing (and Westbrook has deep ties to the Los Angeles area). So trading future assets for him is a huge gamble.
However, it might be a gamble worth taking. Durant’s long look at Boston proves that the Celtics are a tantalizing location for players. The Celtics could probably work out a contract extension with Westbrook before they agreed on the final price of a trade.
There are other options to consider, but they are all the same names we’ve been over (and over) before: Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, etc. Getting Horford changes the dynamics a bit, but I don’t think they are the answer either.
If not, then the Celtics could very well just decide to run with what they’ve got. This team was one of the better defensive teams in the league last year and just added the rim protector they’ve always dreamed of (not to mention a fantastic pick-and-roll player that should fit beautifully into our offense).
Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko could be brought back—which would also maintain cap flexibility for next year and two good salary-matching trade chips for February’s trade deadline. And again, if all else fails, there’s always next summer, when a lot more free agents will be available.
Wyc Grousbeck finally got his fireworks this summer. We missed out on one heck of a finale, but there’s still time for an encore sometime in the next year.