2015/16 Record: 48-34 (1st Round Exit)
|Al Horford||FA – 4 Years / $113.3mil|
|Jaylen Brown||DR – Pick #3|
|Demetrius Jackson||DR – Pick #45|
|Gerald Green||FA – 1 Year / $980k|
|John Holland||FA – 3 Years / $2.09mil (Partial Guarantee)|
|Guershon Yabusele||DR – Pick #16 (Signed to Shanghai Sharks – CBA)|
|Ante Zizic||DR – Pick #23 (Unsigned)|
|Ben Bentil||DR – Pick #51 (Partial Guarantee)|
|Jared Sullinger||FA – Raptors|
|David Lee||FA – Spurs|
|Evan Turner||FA – Trailblazers|
Off Season Analysis:
The 2016 summer almost blew up in Danny Ainge’s face. After years of stockpiling picks, preaching patience and angling towards offseason 2016 – it was an underwhelming start to Boston’s next big move up the Eastern Conference ladder.
The first blow was Brooklyn’s pick (owed to Boston through the Pierce/Garnett swindle/rape-and-pillage) landing at #3, rather than the potential franchise altering Simmons or Ingram pairing at #1-#2. The second blow was Ainge not understanding the most basic of economic principles – supply and demand. Entering the NBA Draft with 6 picks that every team in the NBA knew Boston didn’t want to use – given their intended pursuit of Durant (more on that later) and wish to retain maximum cap space, teams low balled them and suddenly all these “assets” Boston had been hoarding had faces to them, and the faces weren’t pretty. Jaylen Brown at 3 seemed a reach, I have no idea what a Guershon Yabusele is…and Ante Zizic is unlikely to come over from Croatia for a few years. They reportedly tried to send these picks to Chicago for Jimmy Butler, however couldn’t seal the deal. Suddenly, even Tommy Heinsohn would (maybe) be wondering if it was all false promises.
However, the initial storm passed and summer ended far brighter for the Celtics. While they didn’t land Kevin Durant in a starring role on the Brady Bunch (nice hat, Tom), they did manage to snare a huge upgrade at Center in Al Horford. Al will improve the Celtics as a true defensive anchor, offensive floor stretcher, and a big that teams have to game plan for. While the prospect of paying a 34r old Horford $30 million in 2019/2020 is a gamble, it is the going rate for All Star caliber bigs and well worth the risk. After letting Jared Sullinger walk to Toronto (last seen travelling through New York to Toronto on foot), Boston also tidied up a bit of their depth – bringing back Tyler Zeller (1yr/$8mill + non-guaranteed 2nd year) and guaranteeing the deals for Amir Johnson (1yr/$12mil) and Jonas Jerebko (1yr/$5mil) on cap friendly 2017 salaries that overall put Boston amongst the deepest teams in the league.
Boston is well established to move towards the top 2 of the Eastern Conference, and should be the main challenger to the Cavaliers dominance this year, Horford health willing. However, Danny Ainge MUST turn these accumulated assets into a franchise altering talent soon. Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley are out of contract at the end of 17/18 – and will be looking for huge pay raises. The 2017 offseason is really the big chance for Boston to acquire high level talent, while retaining their core to overtake an aging Cavaliers team. Maybe Ainge can read ‘Economics for Dummies’ by then.
2016/17 Prediction: 54-28
League Pass Meter: 6.5/10
Watching Horford in green and white will provide some early intrigue, but there’s just not enough star power to get excited about on a regular basis. Marcus Smart flop watch and Jae Crowder salt meter may score them a few extra points.
|*Salary Guarantees 10th Jan 2017|
Salary Cap Situation:
2016/17 Salaries: $94,103,267 (Over The Cap Team)
2017/18 Salaries: $81,294,255
Max Room: $52mil
Min Room: $21mil
Right to swap 2017 1st rounders (BKN)
2017 2nd (CLE)
2017 2nd (LAC)
2017 2nd (MIN)
2018 1st (BKN)
2019 1st (LAC)
2019 1st (MEM)
2019 2nd (DET)
2020 2nd (MIA)
Right to swap 2017 2nd rounder (BKN)
2018 2nd (OKC)
2019 2nd (MEM)
Will Horford make a substantial difference to the overall team performance?
Can the Celtics acquire a true franchise player i.e. Boogie Cousins or Jimmy Butler?
Can they cement themselves as the clear “number 2” team in the Eastern Conference?
Is Jaylen Brown a future cornerstone…or trade bait?
Can Marcus Smart make the 3rd year leap – or continue to be one of the worst shooting players in league history?