Although it’s the Fourth of July, there won’t be any fireworks going off for the Boston Celtics this offseason. Team owner Wyc Grousbeck and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge hinted at the possibility of the team making some major moves this offseason. Yet it seems as though they have settled for firecrackers and sparklers instead of a full display of fireworks.
Heading into this past season, nobody believed the Celtics would even sniff the playoffs. But head coach Brad Stevens and Boston’s ever changing roster had a different plan. Stevens showed exactly why the Celtics hired him to be their head coach and turned a roster full of misfits, youngsters and castaways into a playoff team that despite being swept, gave a fully healthy Cleveland Cavaliers team a run for their money.
The successful season threw a wrench in Ainge’s likely plans to land a top pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Due to their surprising success and various trades, the Celtics had to settle with the 16th, 28th, 33rd and 45th overall picks in the draft. Although Ainge tried his hardest to move up in the draft to likely select Duke star swingman Justise Winslow, it just didn’t happen.
That led Ainge to make some questionable picks during the draft by selecting multiple guards, a position where many thought the team was already set. But despite popular beliefs, Ainge drafted three guards in Terry Rozier, RJ Hunter and Marcus Thornton while spending the team’s 33rd overall pick on undersized shot blocker Jordan Mickey. Quite an underwhelming draft class considering the expectations many set for the event.
But it was okay that the Celtics disappointed on draft night, free agency was right around the corner. Surely, they were going to land a big name there…or so we thought. As the high profile players were signed one after the other, all was silent in Beantown. The Celtics chose to go in a different direction, once again and chose to re-sign two of their own players, forwards Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko. As well as adding versatile big man Amir Johnson, a rather underrated signing.
Yet still, this wasn’t nearly what the Celtics or their fans anticipated this offseason. It was supposed to be a fireworks display that would rival the annual Macy’s display in New York City. But now they’re stuck at their grandmother’s house on the Fourth of July, eating burnt hot dogs and trying to light used firecrackers.
All hope isn’t lost for the Celtics though, not by any means. Ainge realized that Boston wouldn’t be able to lure any of the “big fish” in this offseason. So instead of signing a high profile player just for their name, he elected to bring back two important pieces from last season’s overachieving roster. While also adding a versatile forward that has even had success playing center at times as well in Johnson.
These moves allow Ainge and the Celtics to still be major players in next year’s free agent pool. They’ll also be able to pull off a couple of trades as well considering the two sizeable trade exceptions they possess and the excess of point guards and power forwards.
Lastly, the team could also choose to use the stretch provision on Gerald Wallace‘s contract to free up around $7 million or so in cap space. Unless they could find a team that would be willing to take on his contract with a first-round pick thrown in as a sweetener (HELLO SIXERS!).
While the Celtics and Ainge have failed to set off any of the fireworks they promised they would try to, all hope is not lost. The Celtics still have many different directions they can go with the current roster. Don’t forget they have a giant chest of future draft picks and one hell of a coach in Brad Stevens.
So just keep chewing your way through that burnt hot dog for now, it should get better from here. Who knows? Maybe next year you might be enjoying a juicy filet mignon on the Fourth of July, courtesy of Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics.
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