Saturday, January 25, 2014

What will the Celtics Future Look Like?

"I like to stick to the script. I don't like change much. I wouldn't mind staying here for the rest of my career. Things don’t always seem to go that way, but like I said before, it’s just a business. I wouldn't mind extending another 10 years in Boston." 
Those are the words that star point guard Rajon Rondo told reporters when asked about his future with the organization. Rondo and Ainge have expressed mutual interest to sign a contract extension for either two or three additional years. The point guard deserves and will get superstar money.

We all know that Danny Ainge (shown above), is open to any trade or free agent options, for he has traded young, talented players, transcendent, veteran players, and everyone in between. This year, he has traded away Courtney Lee, Marshon Brooks, and most importantly, leading scorer Jordan Crawford. In return, the Celtics received inferior players like Jerryd Bayless and Joel Anthony and potentially gold-value draft picks.

It seems like the Celtics have a few more trades in them before the February 20 NBA trade deadline. Ainge is probably looking to deal Gerald Wallace and Avery Bradley for various reasons. I truly believe that ultimately anyone on the roster besides Rondo and maybe Sullinger is on the trading block and Ainge would be willing to pull the trigger if the deal is favorable for the future.

Who will be the next Celtics player to go? It seems like nobody is safe besides Rondo and Sully, so I predict that either Gerald Wallace, Avery Bradley, Kris Humphries, Brandon Bass, or Jeff Green will be the next to go. They are all actually playing particularly well, which drives their trade value up tremendously.

Kris Humphries' contract expires after this season, so the Celtics are desperate to trade his 12M contract for practically anything. He's playing well, so maybe, just maybe, it's possible to get rid of him for more picks. Ainge really, really believes in rebuilding through the draft.

Avery Bradley declined the Celtics offseason contract extension and will become a free agent after this season. Rather than just watch him go for free, Ainge will likely try to trade him and get a pick out of him, just like Hump.

The Celtics, who will have loads of cap space for the 2014 free agent class if they make one or two more favorable trades, could shoot for a big name in the market. Names like Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Paul Pierce, and maybe even my favorite player in the NBA, Lance Stephenson, who is restricted and will likely sign back with the Pacers. For more free agent options for the Celtics, click here, and for trade options, click here and here

The Celtics have two first round picks and a second round pick in the 2014 draft, due to the Nets and Joel Anthony trades. They will have one in the lottery and one outside of the top 14, but nonetheless are two very valuable assets. The Celtics will probably have around the fifth pick, so players like Dante Exum, Julius Randle, or Aaron Gordon could still be around for the taking.

In the next five years, the Celtics could possibly have over 9 picks because of various trades, the biggest one being with the Nets. The Celtics received four first round picks from the Nets in the KG and Pierce deal, a trade that proved Danny Ainge knows what he's doing to say the least.

Here is an estimate of what the Celtics 15 man roster will look like next year:

  • Rajon Rondo
  • Jared Sullinger
  • Kelly Olynyk
  • Joel Anthony
  • Jerryd Bayless (Resigned)
  • Vitor Faverani
  • Phil Pressey
  • Gerald Wallace (Sadly)
  • Chris Johnson
  • Draft Picks A, B, and C
  • Free Agent A, B, and C

It may be hard to imagine because of my stupid letter system, but if you replace the A's and B's with some players that were mentioned earlier or in the links, that is definitely a playoff team.

Brad Stevens, the coach of the Boston Celtics, has proved that it doesn't truly matter how much talent is on the floor; he can win with anyone. He has been winning games with guys named Vander Blue and Chris Johnson contributing legitimate minutes. He turned Jordan Crawford, a notorious ball-hog into a near 20 point scorer and eventually a bunch of draft picks. All coach Stevens does is win, even when the Celtics aren't trying to win. And that can be scary if he's suddenly surrounded by a ton of talent through the draft and free agency. The Celtics rebuilding process may not be so much of a process after all; maybe just a quick turnaround rebuilding season.