The NBA offseason is always an opportunity for teams to reshape their rosters. With the new collective bargaining agreement, there could be some seismic shifts in the landscape across the league. So there’s a chance that the team the Celtics tip off with in the Fall could look vastly different than the one that just lost in the Eastern Conference Finals. Then again, maybe not.
Sometimes the simplest solution is to stay the course. Brad Stevens put this team together to compete for championships and they finished 2 wins short last year and 5 wins short this year. The majority of teams in the league would be happy to switch rosters with Boston. So maybe just giving them another roll of the dice is the right choice.
Let’s pause to define what “run it back” means. It means retaining the top 8-10 players and filling out the back of the roster with draft picks or minimum salary guys. It means signing Grant Williams to a contract (or matching a contract he signs elsewhere). If you want to include trading Payton Pritchard for another unproven player or even a future pick, that’s fine too. It also likely means Danilo Gallinari returns from injury and makes his debut in a Celtics jersey. Oh yeah, and I suppose that means giving Jaylen Brown a supermax contract as well.
Joe Mazzulla will be one year wiser, he’ll have Sam Cassell and more new assistant coaches (to be named later) to assist him. He’ll also have a full offseason and training camp to prepare for the season. Maybe he’ll find the right mix and get everyone on the same page.
Tatum, Brown, and others will continue to work on their games over the summer. The team will have to make sure Al Horford and Robert Williams don’t put too many miles on their wheels next season. Perhaps by leaning more on Muscala, Kornet, and even Gallo in small lineups.
Of course, the danger is rolling out the same players and seeing the same mistakes made for another year. Potentially wasting another year of the core’s prime (and Horford’s coda). Also, I’ll fully disclose that I haven’t done the math on how much it would cost to “run it back.” The stricter tax penalties don’t kick in till 2024-25, but there are tax considerations this season as well.
So what do you think? Would you be in favor of running it back? Or would you be disappointed to see only minimal changes this summer?