Welcome to the offseason. The longest shortened season ever is finally over. The bad news is that we don’t have Celtics basketball to watch for several months. The good news is that we get to start over next season with a much more normal season. But before we get there there’s a lot of offseason work to do. Here are five burning questions the Celtics have to answer this summer.
Does the front office need some new voices?
Gary Washburn and others have suggested this and it is worth considering. I don’t think Danny Ainge is going anywhere anytime soon (though I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually handed over the reigns to Assistant GM Mike Zarren). But it might be a good idea to add some more voices to the staff or expand the scouting staff some.
UPDATE: Woj bomb
Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is seriously considering his future with the franchise and could make a decision to step down, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2021
How committed is the team to Brad Stevens?
Again, I tend to think that Brad’s overall resume outweighs the recent struggles the team has had. Then again, 2 bad seasons in the last 3 years is concerning and it will be interesting to see just how committed this team is to Stevens. He was given a contract extension recently, but that doesn’t always guarantee anything. I wonder just how hard the team’s star players would advocate for him if ownership brought the topic up in exit interviews.
How much is ownership willing to spend on luxury tax?
I won’t go into the spreadsheet details (I’ll leave that to Keith and other people smarter than me), but the Celtics have a rapidly increasing payroll with Jayson Tatum’s extension kicking in. If the team intends to sign Evan Fournier (not a given), they’ll have a huge luxury tax bill. Will the team turn around and start offloading salaries elsewhere? Are Kemba Walker’s days in Boston numbered? What about Marcus Smart or Tristan Thompson? Will the team need to give up assets in order to balance the books?
The owners have been willing to pay into the tax before for contenders, but can they convince themselves that this team is a few moves away from being ready to compete for the title? If not, how drastic will the changes be?
Will the team use the rest of the Gordon Hayward traded player exception?
This one is related closely to the previous question because the answer might just be “it depends on what the return is and how much the owners are willing to spend.” Or perhaps it would be used to add money only if there’s another deal shedding money.
Regardless, it is a tool that the team can use to make changes to the roster and you have to imagine that they’ll explore lots of different options for how to use at least some portion of it.
How else can this team add depth?
Staying healthy was a major challenge this year, which only exasperated the thin bench issue. Next year Jaylen Brown will be coming off season ending surgery. Robert Williams could use a long vacation. Kemba’s load management worked to a point this season but didn’t prevent him from missing a key playoff game. The bottom line is that “full health” is a myth and can’t be counted on ever.
Which brings us back to the bench. Will Evan Fournier be back? How much will the young players grow and how much can you count on them to fill those roles? Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, and Grant Williams each had moments but haven’t been consistent yet.
The draft could produce another young player. Or the team could look to add veterans through trades or free agency (within the constraints of the cap). Just about every position needs more depth.
It should be an interesting offseason as usual, so keep this site bookmarked and share with us your own thoughts and opinions.