Boston is in Position for a Major Offseason
BOSTON – No one wanted Boston’s season to end Thursday night, but if we’re being honest, everyone wants next season to begin.
There is no doubt that the Celtics are in a great place as they wake up today despite their exit from the Playoffs. There is so much to look forward to.
Think about how far these rebuilding Celtics have come in such a very short time, and where they could be a short time from now.
Fourteen months ago, they were an afterthought when it came to the race for the NBA Playoffs. They were 20-31 heading into last season’s All-Star break.
One year ago, they were an up-and-coming, surprisingly dangerous squad that snuck into the Playoffs with a magical end-of-season run. Then they gave the eventual Eastern Conference champs a run for their money in the first round.
Two weeks ago, this team – with only one All-Star on the roster – tied for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Boston’s consistent and rapid improvement has taken place despite the fact that Danny Ainge has yet to cash in on his treasure chest of assets.
The Celtics own the third-best lottery odds heading into the May 17 lottery drawing, during which Isaiah Thomas will represent the franchise. It also owns the 16th, 23rd, 31st and 35th picks, among other late second-rounders.
Boston will have an incredible amount of cap flexibility this summer as well. Should they choose to do so, they should be able to free up enough space to acquire two max free agents. It should be noted that Boston made it a point to have such flexibility this upcoming offseason, one that is expected to feature high-level talent on the market.
All of the above assets are intriguing, and we haven’t even mentioned the players who are already wearing green and white and who helped the team win 48 games this season. The C’s have at least a handful of players who are admired by many around the league. Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart sit atop that list.
Free agency and the Draft are great ways to upgrade the team, but trading is an important avenue as well. When adding all of the above chips together, the Celtics are in prime position to capitalize on any opportunity that presents itself in the trade market.
Let your mind wander. Let it dream. Think about where this team could be a year from today.
Now let it wander even more by understanding that Ainge could cash on all of the assets listed above this summer and still have some very meaningful ones left over.
Should Boston look to make upgrades this offseason via trades, it has all of the chips listed above to dangle, and then some. The C’s still have the option to swap Draft picks with Brooklyn next year, which could very well lead to yet another lottery pick, and they own both their first-round pick and Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2018 as well as a handful of other second-rounders in those two Drafts.
In other words, the Celtics can upgrade via trade and via free agency and still add young, high-level talent on rookie contracts to their program.
Truly, it doesn’t get better than that.
Rarely does a team have the doors wide open to acquire talent via every possible avenue. Even less often does a team stand in such a situation after logging the third-best record in its conference.
Boston’s 2015-16 season may have come to an end, but there is so much excitement around this organization.
Remember where the Celtics were 14 months ago.
Think about where they are today.
Now imagine where they could be 14 months from now.