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.