The Boston Celtics just lost in five games to Brooklyn. This outcome wasn’t unexpected, as even if Jaylen Brown was playing the Celtics just wouldn’t have been able to match the offensive output of the Nets. It’s still disappointing though, of course.
After this loss, Danny Ainge stepped down from his GM/President of basketball operations position, which Brad Stevens is taking over. This change in front office should mean change for the Celtics roster.
So, just like I did in my what’s next for the Miami Heat article, I’m going to talk about some things I would do this offseason to put Boston in the right direction.
Explore Kemba Walker trades
I don’t think Kemba should be traded for nothing. It would be hard to do so because of his large contract, but trading him for something means not just some expiring contracts. I think Kemba’s still good enough to get at least one young player or a protected first round draft pick.
The problem with exploring Kemba trades is I have no idea what teams would be interested in him. Most teams have a point guard that shouldn’t be replaced, or just straight up have no use for Kemba.
One potential destination for Kemba is Dallas. The trade would be centered around a Kemba and Porzingis swap.
Boston gets the younger player, which fits better with the timeline of their two cornerstones. Also, Porzingis could start alongside Robert Williams, allowing him to slide into his natural stretch four role.
Dallas gets a guard who can take some scoring/ball handling pressure off of Luka, which would be a big help for him. They can replace Porzingis with a big who doesn’t need to shoot as much. Maybe Kelly Olynyk if they want a stretch, or Andre Drummond for traditional paint play (although he would have to be willing to be a role player for another season).
Both stars are injury-prone and somewhat inconsistent, but could benefit from a change of scenery. Both teams could also benefit from a change like this, because right now both are good, not great.
If there’s no market for Kemba this offseason, I would legitimately consider a buyout. Kemba’s contract only gets longer over time, and his play could deteriorate over that time if he continues to get injured. A buyout should be the last option though. I’d take a G-League player and a second round pick before I released Kemba, because at least I’m getting something in return.
Look to make the roster younger
I’m not saying tank. I’m saying that Boston should try to get as many young players who are already rotational pieces as possible. That means moving on from Tristan Thompson, so Robert Williams can become the full time starter (possible free agent replacements include Isaiah Hartenstein or Tony Bradley). That means giving more prominent roles to guys like Romeo Langford (who was pretty good in the playoffs), Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, and Grant Williams next year. That means try and sign some solid guys in free agency.
Bruce Brown would be a great pickup. He’s a restricted free agent, so it would be tough to pry him away from Brooklyn, but Boston should definitely give him an offer.
Don’t rush to resign Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier is a great player. Although he struggled for a little bit after he had COVID, he returned to his usual self closer to the end of the season. If Boston can resign him, that would be awesome. He and Marcus Smart complement each other nicely as a shooting guard tandem.
However, if Fournier wants more money than Boston can afford to pay him, then it’s not a big deal. All they gave up for him was two second round picks, which is hardly anything.
So, in conclusion, I think that Boston’s goal should be to try and stay competitive while becoming younger. Jayson and Jaylen are young, and are in Boston for the long haul. If Boston could develop (rather than buy) a core around them, then that would be awesome. A young team means more money to spare, and a star player would definitely show interest in going to the Celtics in the future.
Do you agree or disagree with my plan? Let me know! Look forward to more articles like this as teams get eliminated, and see you next time!
(P.S. I’ve been on the Jayson Tatum train. I said he’d be the eleventh best player in the league this year. That’s too high, but he’s top 15-17. He was a true superstar in the first round this year.)