The Boston Celtics are in the midst of battling it out for a higher seed in the NBA playoffs. But quietly, they’ve signed three of the unlikeliest players to multi-year contracts that extend through next season. Shavlik Randolph is the most recent signing, while DJ White’s contract was extended earlier in the week, and Terrence Williams’ contract was extended after his initial 10-day contact was about to expire. What are the Celtics up to? These three players’ contracts do have team options on them, but now Boston has 14 players signed for next season. This is when it’s time to ask questions.
This offseason brings some valuable free agents who will be on the market. Players like Josh Smith and Al Jefferson are available, so it’s seems strange that Boston would do this, especially with this upcoming free agency which is filled with talent. It’s possible that the Celtics either feel like they can make do without adding a big name player, or because they’re restricted on money, signing players to fill out the bench now looks like a better option. However, Boston isn’t known to just hand out multi-year contracts to players who haven’t established themselves in the NBA. Williams, White and Randolph were all signed after playing in China, and it makes me scratch my head as to why they have this much confidence in them for the future.
This all leads to another question. Is Boston positioning themselves for trades in the future? All three players are low risk, high reward. Terrence Williams and DJ White have shown promise, and the Celtics could either retain or trade them by next February. They may also fit into Boston’s future plans when Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce retire. Either way, Danny Ainge has something up his sleeve. Another thing worth pointing out is that all these players are relatively young, which means they still have time to develop. This year’s draft is very weak, in fact many scouts believe it’s the worst draft class in NBA History. With that said, Boston could trade out of the draft without having any repercussions for passing up on a young player, and instead receive a veteran in return, while also retaining Williams, White and Randolph as young pieces for the future.
Lastly, Jordan Crawford is another player who is signed through next year and Boston has a team option on. Crawford has a lot of developing to do, and if he continues to have the right attitude, he could learn a lot from the veterans. He has talent, but needs to gain control throughout games and become a consistent player on a nightly basis. Again, Crawford may be part of future plans for Boston, and we’ll have to wait and see if he pans out. With those four players, there could be a lot of questions that arise asking what they can bring to the team in years to come.
Personally I like all the players the Celtics have acquired and have chosen to keep through next season. I almost get the feeling that Boston is rebuilding and retooling on the fly. All these players are young, and if they develop could be the next generation of players, along with the nucleus Boston already possesses. Danny Ainge is crafty, so these signings actually shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it’s definitely worth asking questions.