The offseason sometimes feels like it is dragging on, but that’s only because we keep getting deadlines moved and watch Twitter like a hawk waiting for the next Hayward decision. In reality, this offseason is already flying by. We’ve had the NBA Draft, player and team options have been decided, and free agency starts tomorrow.
So it seems like as good a time as any to pause and take a quick peek at where we’re at so far. Consider these my first random thoughts of the offseason (oh, there will be more).
Starting with the draft: Danny Ainge doesn’t care about your mock drafts and draft grades. He’s going to take the best guy that he thinks is left on the board. Apparently that meant Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard. We knew that he didn’t want to add 4 rookies to the roster so it shouldn’t be any surprise that he traded away the 30th pick and used the 2nd rounder on a draft and stash guy named Yam.
None of the draft prep you did matters to him. He doesn’t care who your binky player was headed into the draft. If you really liked Desmond Bane (or any of the several players that he passed on), then you were pretty disappointed in how things went. Of course none of that matters if the guys Ainge picked perform well. Time will tell if they are a pleasant surprise (Terry Rozier) or not so much (James Young).
Personally I’m talking myself into Nesmith. We’ve been saying for a while that we need shooting and bench scoring and it feels like he can provide that right away. He’s a specialist but not a total zero on defense and can probably find a role in the rotation next season (which starts in a month!!!).
I’m less excited about Pritchard’s upside, but as a four-year college player there’s a chance he could be ready to challenge Tremont Waters for a backup role. Kemba and Smart are the normal point guard rotation but there will be minutes in the regular season at least. It sounds like Payton can shoot and isn’t afraid of a challenge, so we’ll see.
We haven’t had a lot of time to let that draft sink in because we immediately have pivoted to Haywatch version whatever. Will Gordon Hayward stay or will he go? We now know that he’ll be opting out of his player option. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s gone because he has the option of signing for a longer term deal with the Celtics. With that said, it kinda feels like he’s going to be leaving one way or another.
If he takes a big offer from the Hawks or Knicks then the Celtics will get nothing (and no, they can’t use all his money to sign someone else). Of course if he does that he’ll have to ...play for the Hawks or Knicks. If he wants to be traded to the Pacers or some other team with at least a chance of contending, then he’ll have to work out some kind of sign-and-trade that at least has a chance of benefiting the Celtics. It might only benefit us with a trade exception, but that’s another let’s-wait-and-see item.
Vinnie Poirier has now been salary dumped. The Celtics basically paid the Thunder to take him and (likely) waive him. It feels like the Celtics will have to do something similar with Enes Kanter and Carsen Edwards if they can’t find a way to include them as part of a bigger trade. Semi Ojeleye got his option picked up for now. If the Celtics don’t trade him in the next few days they’ll likely waive him and his unguaranteed contract.
to recap:— CelticsBlog (@celticsblog) November 19, 2020
Semi is staying, but probably going
Kanter is staying, but probably going
Wanamaker is going, but might be staying
Hayward is going, unless he's staying
all clear now?
So what’s next? Free agency should be interesting. We probably need a big man or two for the rotation (in particular if Kanter moves on). Looking at the current roster, there’s a lot of youth and not a lot of veterans outside of Kemba. It would be nice to have some veteran scoring options off the bench.
Oh yeah, and I guess we still need to figure out this whole Gordon Hayward situation.
So yeah, Danny Ainge has a lot of work left to do. Stay tuned and see what happens next.