As expected, the Boston Celtics’ off-season lacked the “fireworks” we’ve seen out of the team over the past few years. The team headed into the off-season without a top pick, and limited cap room which forced the team to avoid making big moves. They were still involved in blockbuster trade talks for the second year in a row, this time involving Kawhi Leonard, but nothing materialized. Despite the lack of moves, there is still plenty of room for evaluation of the Celtics’ off-season moves.
2018 Draft: Selection of Robert Williams
While the Celtics were forced to wait until the end of the first-round to make their selection, the team still found significant talent. In drafting Robert Williams, the team added a young, promising big man who is capable of providing strong rim-protection and rebounding. Williams is a bit undersized at his position (6’1o”), but still has the skill-set to thrive with the Celtics if he improves his work ethic. The character concerns have already surfaced during his short time with the team, but he still has plenty of time to mature. Drafting the former Texas A&M star was just another low-risk, high reward option for the Celtics, which could pay huge dividends in the end if it works out.
Re-signing Aron Baynes:
After signing a one year, $4.3 million contract with the Celtics last off-season, Aron Baynes found his role with the team. While he was limited offensively, Baynes added size, rebounding, and some defensive ability last season, which was valuable to the Celtics, especially during the playoffs. Being so valued, Baynes found himself back in Boston, signing a two year, $11 million contract to kick off free-agency. The price wasn’t too hefty, but with the talent out on the free-agent market, there were plenty of other directions the team could have gone. Players like Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins were attainable, who both would provide much more on both ends of the floor. Not to take credit away from Bayne’s impact last season, but in order for the Celtics to play for a championship next season, having a quality big man in the starting lineup along with Al Horford will be essential to match up with the strong teams in the Western Conference.
Re-signing Marcus Smart:
After months of uncertainty, Marcus Smart will once again be a Boston Celtic. On Thursday, the Celtics agreed with Smart on a four year, $52 million contract, which was surprising considering the team’s lack of communication with the former No.6 overall pick throughout the off-season. Despite that, the Celtics will once again get their gritty, defensive-minded point guard to provide a spark off the bench. However, this signing could hurt the future of the team’s salary cap situation. With the upcoming free-agency of Terry Rozier and Kyrie Irving, this signing limits what they could offer both next season. As of now, the Celtics are already over the tax, and signing an offensively limited player and historically bad shooter to that kind of contract isn’t the best decision for the Celtics. There is always the chance for a potential trade in the future, but as of now, this limits the flexibility they have with cap room. While the Celtics’ strong defense will remain intact with the Smart signing, it remains to be seen how well this signing goes for the team in the long run.
Overall, the Celtics made some minimal moves this season that will add more depth to the team. While some of their moves were questionable, it remains to be seen how they all turn out. The Celtics are still in position to contend for a title this season following these moves, even though some better moves could have been made. Despite that, the team made a smart decision to stand pat this off-season and avoid losing some of their valuable assets which leaves plenty of potential for the future.