After a quiet draft night, Brad Stevens got to work on Friday. He shipped out Tristan Thompson for Kris Dunn, Bruno Fernando, and a 2nd round pick while creating a new TPE off of Tristan’s outgoing salary. Then he added Josh Richardson using the rest of the Gordon Hayward traded player exception. The final details on those deals are not yet clear and rumors indicated that Stevens might not be done. In particular, it sounds like Kris Dunn might be re-routed elsewhere before too long.
So what does all of this mean? It is impossible to tell without knowing the next dominos but that’s not going to stop me from speculating and reacting. Gotta get in my takes!
My guess is that the Celtics are increasingly pessimistic that Evan Fournier is going to be in the “reasonable” range to re-sign. People who are smarter than me think the Celtics would be happy with a number in the $16M to $18M range. If he’s getting offers north of $20M that might be too rich for Boston’s blood. The Knicks are one team with lots of cap room that are said to be interested. Let’s all take a moment and decide to never again count on a player taking less money in free agency because it would be convenient for the Celtics (see examples: Hayward, Horford).
If that’s the case, then it makes sense to use our money to round out the roster in other ways. I’ll let people who are smarter than me with the cap explain that, but I’ll also note that none of the players they’ve added has a contract that extends beyond next season.
All this has happened and we still haven’t gotten to free agency! Still plenty of shoes left to drop. Will the Celtics go after Patty Mills? Lonzo Ball? Or will they try to trade for Kyle Anderson?
Again, lots of pieces still moving but let’s look at the roster thus far.
Ball handlers: Marcus Smart, Kris Dunn, Josh Richardson, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards
Wings: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Jabari Parker, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford
Bigs: Al Horford, Robert Williams III, Grant Williams, Moses Brown
Seems like that roster is an improvement on defense but needs more offense and perhaps a stretch 4 or a more traditional point guard. Smart, Dunn, and even Richardson can handle the ball and distribute (and play a lot of defense) but you are relying a lot on Tatum and Brown to generate points.
The writing was on the wall that Tristan Thompson wasn’t in the long term plans as soon as we added Al Horford. Now he’s gone and the Celtics added depth at guard. Losing Fournier would be tough, but over-paying for him might be more detrimental down the line.
Seems like Brad is prioritizing defense and veterans, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Let’s see how the rest of this shakes out, but so far it seems pretty solid.
Add your own immediate thoughts in the comments below.