The Boston Celtics have seemingly turned their season around, winning nine of their last ten games before the All-Star break. After starting the 2021-22 campaign with a mediocre 18-21 record, Boston has since gone 16-5, slotting into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
Despite this, the C’s and new President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens, have questions to answer in the offseason as they attempt to continue building a championship contender around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
With the latter under contract only through the 2023-24 season, the window isn’t certain to stay open for the entire decade.
With the acquisition of Derrick White at the trade deadline, Stevens added a capable core piece alongside Tatum, Brown, and Robert Williams. He’s under contract for three more seasons after this one at a reasonable number, making him an ideal addition to the Boston Celtics’ roster.
What Boston Celtics players could be off the team come the offseason?
It’s clear Boston wants to maintain its core of Brown, Tatum, Williams, Marcus Smart, and White, as the first four have one of the best net ratings in the entire league. It makes no sense to break them up now, despite a rocky start.
Beyond that, where does the rest of the roster stand?
Boston doesn’t have the most roster flexibility but still has the potential to shift players around, reshaping the bench unit with more reliable veterans.
With that being said, let’s look at 3 Boston Celtics players that have uncertain futures in Beantown:
Boston Celtics player No. 1) Al Horford
Reacquired as a return for the salary dump of Kemba Walker, Al Horford has had a productive season at 35 years of age.
He’s far past his prime, and isn’t the same player as his first stint in green, but is still a valuable cog in Boston’s switching scheme.
He’s started the majority of the year, which was a decision that has gotten coach, Ime Udoka, under fire at certain points. However, the double big idea has worked wonderfully on the defensive end, allowing Robert Williams to act as a free safety on defense, utilizing his otherworldly athleticism and instincts.
He’s averaging his least points per game averages since his rookie season at 10.1 and is shooting only 30.7 percent from beyond the arc. His lack of spacing has proved problematic for Boston at times, not surrounding Tatum and Brown with adequate shooting on the perimeter.
Contractually, Horford is guaranteed only $14.5 million of his $26.5 million total salary come next season. Obviously, Horford isn’t worth over $20 million at his current state, so it’s quite possible he finds himself elsewhere come 2022-23.
Alternatively, Boston could keep him on the books through the offseason, looking to use him as a matching salary in a bigger move at next year’s trade deadline.
It’s possible they either hold onto him or look to waive and re-sign him for a lower number, but Stevens will certainly be looking to make an upgrade over the aging big man.
Horford will likely be the biggest domino to fall during this upcoming offseason for the C’s.