The Boston Celtics had a slew of problems this past season, namely injuries and an imbalanced rotation, but all heads are now pointed toward the offseason. Between the sixth pick in a loaded 2014 NBA Draft and some rumors involving a few big names possibly headed to Beantown, this summer should pan out to be a big one for the men in green.
First, a look at the Celtics’ current financial capabilities:
In total, the Cs have about $57 million worth of contracts to pay for next year. Right now, the official salary cap hasn’t been set, but its projected to be about $63.2 mil, with anything north of $77 mil in luxury tax territory. The Cs have been reluctant to eclipse the tax threshold in years past, even when thought to be contenders, so it’s tough to see them committing too much salary this season, especially with their playoff status so up in the air.
The Celtics have three players whose contracts come off the books after the 2013-14 season: Avery Bradley, Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless. Out of those three, Humphries’ $12 million deal is the largest. Bayless’ is next, worth about $3.2 million. Finally, there’s Bradley, the most likely candidate out of those three to be re-signed, who made just about $2.5 million last year.
Additionally, the team has an opportunity to waive Keith Bogans to rid themselves of his $5.5 million non-guaranteed contract.
The first order of business would be deciding whether or not Bradley is worth keeping around. His qualifying offer is $3.5 million, but he most likely will warrant a deal worth over $5 million per season, which is absurd for someone who cannot stay healthy and is as one-dimensional offensively as AB is. So, if the Cs let him walk, that opens up a starting spot at shooting guard.
Well, maybe that starting shooting guard can come in the form of Gordon Hayward. It’s been beaten into the ground ever since Brad Stevens took a position as the Celtics’ head coach, but the truth is Hayward would be a good fit in Boston. Relationship with Stevens aside, Hayward is a versatile scoring wing who can pass and rebound at a high level. He has good size for the two-guard and is a fantastic transition player, a trait that would compliment Rajon Rondo well.
The only knock on the potential Hayward signing is the fact that he will probably command a maximum contract, or something pretty darn close to it. Remember: the Celtics don’t have the kind of dough to be handing out max deals to everyone who steps foot in Boston, so Hayward might not be the best choice, especially with Jeff Green — a capable player in his own right — making just $9.4 million a season while posting 16.9 points per game.
If the Cs don’t decide to get Hayward, no big deal. There are plenty of veteran wings available who would gladly take a minimum with Boston for a season or two. The real issue that needs to be addressed this offseason is in the frontcourt.
And no, I’m not talking about Kevin Love. As much as I love the idea of the sweet-shooting big man sporting a green jersey, I’m not eager for the team to part ways with their entire future — Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and a handful of first-rounders — for his services.
No, I’m here to talk about Greg Monroe.
The soon-to-be-former Detroit Piston is now entering restricted free agency after a failed triple-big man experiment didn’t work out in the Motor City last season. Moose should be the top target for Boston. Sure, he isn’t much of a rim protector, and sometimes struggles with his defensive rotations, but he still has loads of offensive potential, despite the fact that he is already a 16.0 PPG scorer.
At just 23 years old, he is as strong as a bull, a good athlete, a solid mid-range shooter and a crafty scorer on the left block. Along with Andre Drummond, he has helped give the Celtics nightmares over the past couple of seasons.
Monroe is restricted and is sure to have plenty of suitors this summer, but the Cs should make it their utmost priority to acquire him. Detroit probably won’t match anything above $12-13 million a season, which is right about what he is worth to Boston, a team in desperate need of an established and versatile big man.
You know the drill, Danny Ainge.