Here’s the topic of the day that I posed to the CelticsBlog staff:
If you were able to make one more move this offseason (big or small) what would it be? Feel free to be creative but try to be realistic and keep in mind the tax implications (if you are adding enough salary to go into the tax, it should be for a significant on-court benefit).
I won’t be the first or the last person to suggest this, but I think the Celtics should pursue Terence Davis. He’s a proven and versatile defender, a respectable shooter and someone who plays hard every night. He’s not Marcus Smart, but he’s capable of helping to fill that hustle and glue guy role that seems to currently be missing from the roster. Plug him in as your eighth or ninth man and the whole team improves as a result.
Brogdon is the only move I could potentially see that would have a dramatic impact on the Celtics roster outlook. The reasons to consider moving him include health concerns, chemistry concerns after the aborted Clippers trade, and the fact that his salary slot and skill level means you could potentially get useful pieces back. It’s a hard needle to thread though. He needs to return some combination of a capable ball handler, shooting, and a top 7 rotation player that can be trusted in the playoffs. Proposed deal: Brogdon (2/45), Kornet (2.4) and a lottery protected ‘24 1st to Detroit for Bojan Bogdanovic (2/39) and Monte Morris (9.8). Detroit takes two vets (a shooter/scorer and a ball handler) and combines them into one player (Brogdon) and picks up a late 1st for taking on Brogdon’s injury history. The Celtics replace Brogdon’s shooting, scoring, and top 7 rotation status in the bigger, more durable Bogdanovic. However, they maintain a rock solid backup PG in Morris for next year who would slot in as the Celtics 8th man and push Hauser and Pritchard down to the 9-10 spots in the rotation.
I don’t think much else needs to happen, or feasibly can for the rest of the summer. The Celtics don’t seem interested in crossing the second apron line and sit close enough to it to make something significant unlikely. I’m not completely opposed to a Malcolm Brogdon trade, especially now that money and player or two would need to come back. Norman Powell intrigues me in the case of returning to the Clippers for a deal. Doesn’t that leave the Celtics a little thin at point guard though? At this point, another four entering the mix for training camp competition intrigues me, whether Derrick Jones, who’d fit the potential new zone scheme well, or late-summer flier like Kelly Oubre, despite the fit concerns. I don’t need another splash after Porzingis, and my first choice would’ve been retaining Grant Williams as a more expensive option.
The summer free agency frenzy has long died down, but dozens of intriguing young castoffs still remain unsigned. My answer is broad, but I’d simply like the Celtics to swing on one or two more unsigned younger talents before training camp. Jaylen Nowell, 24, could add a scoring punch off the bench at guard. Trendon Watford is only 22 and had positive flashes as a versatile forward with the Trail Blazers. Svi Mykhailiuk, Dylan Windler, PJ Dozier, and Hamidou Diallo are all under 28 and each have some level of NBA rotation potential. I’d even want to see a Romeo Langford reunion with lower stakes. But generally, I’d prefer looking for young depth before adding aging veterans.
Call me sentimental. I want Blake Griffin back in Boston. I’m guessing he’s contemplating retirement, but if he’s willing to drive Bus 1 again, be the veteran presence in the locker room, and bang around for 20-30 games a year, I’m all for it. Who knows what the Celtics attendance at John Wall’s Vegas workout meant. He could be a another candidate on a vet minimum, too.
At this point, based on where the team is financially, I don’t really see any more big moves happening unless the team moves on from Malcolm Brogdon. At an annual cap hit of $22.5 Million through 2025, it’s a considerable chunk of change to have tied up for the next two seasons as the new CBA rules and second tax apron loom large. The harsh truth about Brogdon is last year might be his peak in a Celtics uniform, having one of his best career seasons and taking home 6MOTY honors while playing 67 games, the most he’s played since the 2018-19 season. With his track record of injuries and his age coupled with his cap hit, it may be best for the team to move on from Brogdon. The fact that the Celtics first pursued a Malcolm Brogdon-Kristaps Porzingis swap before dealing longtime Celtic Marcus Smart is telling, and has forced Boston scrambling to do damage control and mend fences. It wasn’t a simple rumor that Brogdon was floated out in trade talks, it was a legitimate deal that fell apart. But after trading Smart, can the Celtics afford to move on from Brogdon as well? And if so, for who? Could Boston pursue moving Brogdon for a player like OG Anunoby, who was reportedly seeking a bigger role on offense in Toronto and desires to be a primary ball-handler? Or do they revisit something with the Clippers and take on multiple players in return, with a player like Norman Powell being the centerpiece? It’s hard to say, and it feels like the market has come to a grinding halt while Dame Lillard and James Harden seek new teams. But outside of signing Jaylen Brown to a supermax extension, the biggest move I could see the Celtics pursuing would be moving Brogdon to another team, and if it means potentially adding a talent like Anunoby, I would do it.
It feels unlikely that Boston makes any other big-time moves, but adding another big man to the rotation feels like the next logical step. Kristaps Porzingis and Robert Williams have a shaky injury history, and Al Horford is 36 years old. Those three will obviously take up the bulk of the minutes, but adding a fourth-string big (next to Luke Kornet) could help take the pressure off them. My personal favorite idea is Trendon Watford. He played well for the Portland Trail Blazers this past season, averaging 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 56.0% from the field and 39.1% from distance (on low three-point volume). He’s a big-bodied 6-foot-9 and still only 22 years old. Feels like the perfect guy to play 10-15 minutes when the Celtics need him to this season, and he still has the potential to grow into a larger role down the line.
This isn’t a particularly exciting answer, but I still believe this roster could use another rotational wing on the vet minimum. The combination of Oshae Brissett and Jordan Walsh is a start, and that duo could possibly make up for the loss of Grant Williams. However, even if that’s the case, it still feels like the Celtics are missing a capable wing who can eat up some regular season minutes to give Tatum and Brown additional rest.
Looking at the available free agents, a couple names stand out. The biggest of the bunch is Kelly Oubre. A month ago, even suggesting the notion of Oubre signing for the minimum would have been dismissed by most fans and analysts. After all, the guy averaged 20.2 (!!) points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Hornets last year, and is only 27 years old. However, those numbers were certainly inflated by his expanded role on a bad team, as his efficiency was not anywhere close to where it needed to be (31.9% from three and 43.1% from the field). All of that said, it’s still worth taking a flyer on a player as talented as Oubre for the minimum, if he’s willing to accept it.
A few other names I’d be interested in who are more realistic vet minimum options are Danny Green, Terence Davis, Hamidou Diallo, and Derrick Jones. Jr. The Celtics have already registered interested in Davis earlier this offseason and Green last year on the buyout market. Green may be 36 years old, but he still shot 44.8% from behind-the-arc last season in limited minutes. Davis and Diallo aren’t particularly great shooters (especially the latter), but they’re capable offensive players. Jones Jr.’s length and athleticism really intrigues me from a fit perspective, although he also can’t shoot consistently from long range.
While each of the players I’ve mentioned have at least one glaring weakness to their game, there are certainly capable options out there for Boston to find another rotational wing.
I’m going to throw a bit of a curveball and effectively sidestep the question. I think I’d wait it out till some time in January or around the trade deadline. Obviously we’ll need to fill out the roster (pick a vet min guy or two) and probably add another 2-way player. If anything materializes where we can get something out of the potential Dame Lillard or James Harden trades (as a 3rd team), great. Otherwise, just roll with what we have and see what becomes available as the season progresses.
We’ve already seen a major shakeup in the roster. A lot is going to look different on opening day. Mazzulla will have a full offseason and training camp to get everyone on board with his game plan. Once we’ve had a few months to see how it all fits together, Brad will have a better idea of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, as much as we’d all love to see the team have perfect health, there’s always a chance that someone could get hurt, which could substantially change what needs the roster has with their limited budget (under the 2nd apron) and trade assets.
What about you? What one move would you make this offseason?