By all accounts, the Boston Celtics are in a solid place as a franchise.
After finishing as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, they fought their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, thus completely surpassing their preseason expectations.
Additionally, they also landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft after the ping pong balls fell their way in the lottery.
While the thoughts of drafting whoever they deem as the best prospect in the draft and adding him to the second-best roster in the East would likely be enough to contend next season and beyond, getting past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will be the team’s main focus moving forward.
Therefore, with enough cap space to land a high-profile free agent as well, they have an opportunity to acquire someone who will directly help in their quest to overtake the Cavs.
Via CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely, Boston will make every effort to land an All-Star talent to their frontcourt.
“Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt,” he reported.
Blakely continued, “That makes sense when you consider how guard-dominant the Celtics were this season and how that had a negative impact on the team's rebounding and, to a lesser degree, their defense as a whole.”
Especially in the playoffs, Boston’s glaring deficiency in the frontcourt with exception to Al Horford was obvious. From a rebounding standpoint, they struggled all season, as their general lack of productive size especially at power forward was their Achilles heel. However, current Celtics players voiced their support of Danny Ainge, who has done a phenomenal job of creating a deep and talented roster over his years in charge:
“One thing I do know. He’ll make the best decisions for the team and if players don’t end up being back here, I wish the best for them,” said Avery Bradley. “Those are my brothers. We all had a special year. I appreciate everything, all the time I had with them. I’d love for all those guys to be back. We’ll see.”
“It’s always a good thing when you have the opportunity to add value to your team and don’t have to change your team too much,” added Gerald Green, who is set to be a free agent this summer. “I’m going to be very interested to see what they do as far as building a team. We’re in a good place right now as far as being where we want to be organization-wise. I feel like we’re one or two steps away from actually being at the Finals.”
He added, “I think Danny has some things to think about, but I’m sure he’s going to do the job. I’ve seen Danny go to work in these situations. He always makes the team better. I’m pretty sure he’s got something planned that, at the end of the day, is going to make this organization better.”
Boston may need to make a trade in order to land the All-Star piece they’re searching for because their options may be limited in the free agent pool. Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward will be the most highly-coveted free agents, but there’s a strong chance that one or both returns to their current teams under new max deals.
Jimmy Butler and Paul George were among the names that were mentioned alongside the Celtics before the trade deadline. While both players are more traditional small forwards, they would fit the All-Star caliber mold that Boston desires. Of course Boston would have to give up a lot for either of them in a trade, however, whereas signing Hayward or Griffin in free agency wouldn't cost them any assets.