After their poor performance in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Celtics are now heading for the off season. A strange season from start to finish, this team never found their groove. They went into the season with the expectations of winning an NBA title, and they disappointed.
Kyrie has the choice to either opt into another year with Boston, or he can opt out and sign a bigger contract. I don’t see any scenario where he opts in, but he could opt out and then re-sign. The Celtics can offer him the most money if that is what he wants. There are a lot of Celtics fans who want Kyrie to leave Boston this summer. That is ridiculous, Kyrie played a bad stretch of games at the worst time of the season, and now they forget everything else he has done in his career. Kyrie might not be able to win a championship being the best player on the team, but the Celtics might have a plan for that.
Danny Ainge has been in talks with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. Davis is one of, if not the best big man in the game, and would play well beside Kyrie. AD is a versatile, athletic center who will draw more attention than anyone on the Celtics right now, giving Kyrie less defensive attention. But if the Pelicans do not choose the Celtics trade offer, what then? Danny Ainge will definitely be looking to make a big move this summer, this is a pivotal off season for Boston. The Brooklyn Nets picks have all been drafted and the Celtics need to make a championship run or they might be stuck as a middle of the pact team.
Young guys on the team like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart all gained more experience, and have added more to their games this season. Marcus Smart has been known as a gritty defender and hard nosed player, but thats it. This season he improved his 3 point shot to around the league average. His defense also rubbed off a bit on Kyrie, he started to show that he has studied Smarts defense. Jaylen Brown is a very good basketball player, he has phenomenal athleticism and he is very smart. He has struggled with his free throws, up until the playoffs where he shot them very well. For Tatum I can really only say got another year of experience. Tatum had a very good rookie campaign, so it would have been tough to see him improve a lot, especially with Kyrie and Hayward here for the whole season. He then struggles in the playoffs, he didn’t take many shots, he went 0-11 from 3 point range for a stretch.
Al Horford is 33 years old, and has a player option this off season. Horford has been the defensive leader on the team for the past few years, his IQ helps everyone on the court around him. For the Celtics, it would be ideal for Horford to opt out and then resign for a slightly smaller contract. Horford is a great player, but he would be set to make max contract money. If he signs for less, the Celtics still have their defensive leader, but then they also have more money to spend in free agency.
This season was disappointing, Boston wanted banner number 18. The expectations for the Celtics next year is still going to be to win a championship. It doesn’t matter who leaves and who we sign, the Celtics want nothing but the Larry O’Brien Trophy.