Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Wing Addition X, Big Addition Y, Al Horford
Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Veteran Big Z
I know that is a cop out, but I think the Celtics are going to add at least one major player over the summer. It may end up costing them Jae Crowder and all of their FAs to do it, but it feels like that is the plan. And considering all of the FAs of consequence currently fill roles in the big rotation, they'll add at least a couple of players there. Outside shot they bring back Amir Johnson or Jonas Jerebko on the cheap. Ante Zizic will also be in the fold, but I think he's ideally more of the fourth big man in the rotation, as he adjusts to the NBA.
Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Ante Zizic
Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Josh Jackson, Jae Crowder, (Veteran Big)
My prediction is the Celtics don’t make any major trades, but draft Josh Jackson in June, sign Gordon Hayward, and decide to go all-in on the versatility movement. Getting Jae Crowder to accept a bench role for the guy he condemned Celtics fans for cheering will be a tough blow to his ego, but Stevens will sell him on his super-important role as being a leader to our young bench core, and he’ll have another great year as a second-unit killer. I’ll even give you guys a projected minutes-per-game breakdown because I’m an overachiever:
PG: Isaiah Thomas 28, Smart 20
SG: Avery Bradley 25, Jackson 15, Smart 8
SF: Gordon Hayward 28, Crowder 13, Brown 7
PF: Al Horford 18, Crowder 15, Brown 15
C: Zizic 23, Horford 13, Vet big 12
Jeff Clark: Let's get nuts, shall we?
Starters: Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Kevin Love, Al Horford
Reserves: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, Yabusele, Zizic
I don't even know if this is possible, but at least there would be more roster balance. I kind of feel like we can get Paul George for a reasonable price, and the Cavs will be itching to make some kind of changes, and Danny might see an opportunity there as well. Not sure if Jaylen is really a shooting guard, but in today's "positionless NBA" it could be worth a shot.
Bill Sy: Please nobody check my cap math.
Thomas - Bradley - Butler - Hayward - Horford
Smart - Brown - Tatum - Olynyk - Zizic
Unlike Jeff, I think it’s the Butler deal that gets made and not Paul George. We lose Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier, Tyler Zeller, Jordan Mickey, and that second first-rounder from Philly. Ainge drafts Jayson Tatum at #3. Gordon Hayward can’t resist joining this pseudo superteam, and Kelly Olynyk takes the qualifying offer because he’s already signaled to run it back(?). Tell me THAT team doesn’t compete against Cleveland AND Golden State.
Lachlan Marr: Well if we're getting crazy and dealing in total hypotheticals, I'm going to go with:
Starters: Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jimmy Butler, Blake Griffin and Al Horford
Bench: Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Ante Zizic and I guess Theis?
Like Jeff I'm not sure this is possible, in fact I'm pretty sure it isn't. I also have issues from an attitudinal perspective regarding Griffin, and I'd be extremely sad to drop Jae. But I think that team could do some serious damage, possibly more so than a similar lineup featuring Gordon Hayward. Plus with the youth movement filling up the bench and such a strong starting lineup, you could get the best of both worlds with a good side that has plenty of developing talent. Hey a guy can dream, right?
Thomas, Bradley, Crowder, Horford, O'Quinn
Rozier, Smart, Jackson, Brown, Zizic, Yabusele, Nader
Pretty bleak, but I don't think the Cs will get a cheap price tag on Jimmy Butler this summer, and I can't see Danny Ainge overpaying for him. With demand ramping up for him, Chicago will find a suitor. That opens the door for Crowder staying, and the Cs can probably get Kyle O'Quinn for a cheap price (Mickey/Jackson/2nd) to fill Amir Johnson's spot.
Without a big offseason addition, it's tough to see Gordon Hayward leaving Utah to come here. He probably stays, and Blake Griffin will come close (wouldn't be stunned if he came) but will ultimately choose elsewhere. The Celtics will keep their chips for a possible deadline deal, be competitive again, and push everything back a year. I'm team Jayson Tatum, but if Josh Jackson is available he's definitely in the Ainge mold. Tatum looks like the backup plan if Jackson goes to the Lakers. Hopefully Butler joins this mix, but I'm not hopeful now that demand seems to be rising.