Unsurprisingly, the Celtics playoff run ended last night when they lost to the Atlanta Hawks in Boston. The Hawks will lose to the Cleveland Cavs, who they face in the next round. LOL. In a way, they were spared this. As noted on the team’s official website, the Celtics losing Avery Bradley early was probably what cost them the series. If he didn’t get hurt, the Celtics probably would have won the series in 5 games and would have pushed the Cavs to a 7-game series. Atlanta? I’ll be surprised if they’re not swept out of the playoffs.
At the end of the day, making it to the second round was the most anyone could have expected. Now the focus shifts to the NBA Draft.
The Celtics’ All-Star will represent the team at the NBA Draft, which will be April 17. Danny Ainge is expected to pull the trigger on the draft picks he’s been saving from the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics also have the third pick in the first round (From Brooklyn) plus the cap space to sign up to two of the high-profile free agents the rest of the NBA wishes they had. It’s like I said in my previous post: The Celtics could easily sign Kevin Durant if he doesn’t resign with Oklahoma City. They could also sign LaMar DeRozan, who won’t be returning to the Raptors next year.
The Clippers falling apart in Game 5 vs. Portland has suddenly opened the door to the possability of Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green or DeAndre Jordan requesting to be traded. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were both injured in their Game 5 loss to the Blazers and are not expected to return for the rest of the playoffs, which for the Clippers will likely be tonight. LOL.
CP3 and The Truth are the two most likely to leave the Clippers: The team’s decision to wait for Griffin after he was injured and missed most of the season is the likely reason for CP3 looking to leave. He badly sprained his wrist in the team’s game 5 loss but should be fine by next season. Paul Pierce made it known he wants to close out his NBA career wih the Celtics. The Clippers only got him for the playoffs (hence his limited minutes during the season) so…yeah. He’s definitely got a few more years left in him, two or three max. If the Clippers decide to trade either of them, the Celtics are the obvious choice given Ainge and Doc Rivers are former team mates.
The Celtics also have alot of pieces they can move. I.T., Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart will all definitely be back next year. The way Smart exploded in Game 4 to close out the game…they definitely want him back next year.Same with Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner. Everyone else is expendable in the offseason as far as I’m concerned.
…Take a look at this page. Note now many 2nd round picks the Celtics have. They also have 3 1st Round Picks. Here are the top 30 prosects who’ve already declared. The Draft itself with be on June 23 just so folks know. In total, the Celtics get 8 picks–3 in the first round, 5 in the 2nd–and all of the 2nd round picks are from other teams because of trades. For example, the pick from Phoenix is from the deal that brought Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics. Boston is guaranteed to get one of the top picks and is just ahead of the Lakers and 76ers (Boston is in the 3rd slot due to its pick from the Brooklyn Nets, which would have been 3rd otherwise).
So, the Celtics will hopefully get their biggest draft pick signed since Paul Pierce. Once the draft is done, then the REAL fun begins.
Unless you’re not an NBA fan, it’s unlikely you haven’t heard the Boton Celtics is the team everyone will be watching once the playoffs are done.
Why? Because they have the resources to get ANY Free Agent they want is why. The Celtics almost made a deal before the trade deadline that would have brought Dwight Howard to Boston from the Houston Rocket but decided not to. Danny Ainge decided against the deal because what they would have given up in exchange–2 Draft Picks for 1 All Star Center with baggage–wouldn’t have been a good trade long-term.
…Speaking of, the Celtics President has been collecting ALOT of “Sorry for doubting you!” from alot of sports analysts all season and mainly because of the unrestricted draft picks from the Nets he refused to give up. With the NCAA superstars who’ve already declared their NBA career goals, the Celtics could get not one but TWO of the top 3 first round draft picks. In short, Ainge is looking to avoid a repeat of the 1999 NBA draft: That was the year Tim Duncan signed with the San Antonio Spurs, who the Celtics passed over. We know what happened 10 months later: The Spurs won their first NBA Title, much to the chagrin of Celtics fans.
The Celtics as they are now will likely make it to the second round of the playoffs. They’re tied for 3rd with Atlanta, who they actually play tonight. If the Celtics win tonight (locking in the 3rd place spot) and the playoffs started tomorrow, they’d play Charlotte in the first round. Otherwise they’d play Miami (locking in 4th place).
In the second round, they’ll likely play Miami (if the Celtics are in 3rd, meaning Atlanta is eliminated in the 1st round as usual) or Atlanta (if the Celtics are in 4th, meaning Miami makes an early exit). If the Celtics play Atlanta in Round 2, they’ll make it to the East Finals but lose to Cleveland–let’s be honest, it’s doubtful Cleveland won’t make it at least that far–which only has LeBron James who realized early in the season he needs help to bring a Championship to Akron.
If the Celtics do the impossible and get past Cleveland–they’ve already proven they can beat the Cavs on their home floor this season–they will definitely lose to Golden State in the NBA Finals. It would make a hell of a story though given the Celtics ended the Warriors’ perfect home record a few days ago. I’m being brutally honest with my lowered expectations for my team in the postseason: They’ll make it to the 2nd round but the odds are against them from that point on especially if it’s Miami. Not impossible but unlikely they’ll be able to beat Miami in the 2nd Round. They’ll beat whoever they play in the first round though. If it’s Atlanta like I’m hoping, they’ll make it to the East Finals though.
Once the offseason begins, you can be sure no punches will be pulled in a bid to get a player or two to support Isaiah Thomas. Here are a few players I have been looking at in particular:
- Kevin Durant: I doubt he will forget the March 16 game he played at the TD Garden. Every time he had the ball, the home crowd chanted “COME TO BOSTON!” All things considered, if he’s looking for a playoff-ready team that has already proven it can contend with both Cleveland AND Golden State (split wins and losses this season) then the Celtics are the logical choice. The Celtics play both ends of the floor well and are looking for an all-star to complement Isaiah Thomas. KD is looking for a playoff-ready team that wouldn’t have alot of competition in the postseason. Need I say more?
- Al Horford: The Celtics are guaranteed to play Atlanta in the first or second round if my overview above remains true. He’s not expected to have his contract renewed with the Hawks and there are a number of teams eyeing him already. The Celtics would have an easier time getting him to commit if they win their series with the Hawks.
- DeMar DeRozan: For those who don’t know, he’s the Raptors Superstar that’s kept Canada’s NBA Team relevant since Vince Carter left (reminder: The Grizzles moved to Memphis from Vancouver about 10 years back). He’s the 2nd-best All Star in the east behind Lebron James and according to many sources, he is not expected to resign with Toronto next year. He’ll open up the floor on both ends, tearing teams that don’t have someone to match his pace to shreds.
Of all the big names, these are the only 3 I can see the Celtics making a serious offer for and getting at least one if they’re smart. Horford’s the most likely to sign with what the Celtics can offer. Ainge could probably get DeRozan or Durant but that would mean giving up 2 or 3 players to make it happen. Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynik and Avery Bradley are the most likely names to come up to get 2 out of 3 of the named all star Free Agents. Any of them can help a team in the postseason so…yeah.
…Of course D-Wade and LBJ are also Free Agents during the off season but both are expected to resign with their respective teams. D-Wade will likely follow KG’s example and become an owner when he retires. LBJ is deadset on bringing a title to Cleveland…unless someone makes him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I don’t see Celtics Green in his future on that note😄
The Celtics haven’t been to the NBA Finals since 2009 when they lost to the Lakers, who they beat for their 17th banner the year before. I go back to the title of this blog post: Could 2016-17 be the repeat of 2008? it’s a very real possability, more so if Boston can get both Horford and Durant or DeRozan in the off season. No one’s beating around the bush about the fact the Celtics can get whoever they want unchallenged. Everyone’s probably just waiting for the Celtics to take their pick since it’s doubtful any team could possibly match anything the Celtics offer for anyone.
Last summer, it was theoretical. Now, the Celtics can realistically sign whoever they want😄