This off-season will go one of two ways for the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics’ off-seasons have been filled with excitement and promise of improvement ever since Danny Ainge sent this franchise into a full rebuild.
Whether it be through the draft, trade, or free-agency, the Celtics have been able to haul Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford as a result of Ainge’s brilliance.
Similarly, the 2019 off-season should be packed full of its own excitement but for the first time in years Celtics fans need to be nervous; some of the team’s best players have a real chance of dawning different jerseys next season.
Here are the best and worst case scenarios for the Boston Celtics this off-season.
Worst Case Scenario
The Celtics’ summer will go one of two ways and let’s get the worst possible scenario out of the way first:
Kyrie Irving signs with the Los Angeles Lakers
Kyrie Irving signing anywhere besides Boston would be terrible news for the Celtics, but signing with the Los Angeles Lakers would add insult to injury, especially because the only thing getting fans through the Celtics’ underwhelming season is how dysfunctional the Lakers are. The Lakers have been riddled with mismanagement for years; they have a pathological liar for a General Manager in Rob Pelinka, their owner only hires her friends, and they can’t even figure out how to make the playoffs with the best player on the planet. LA’s only claim to being a relevant franchise is awarded to them by their location, not because of their operational competency.
AD gets traded to the Lakers
Obviously Boston is in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes but like Kyrie going out west, the Celtics don’t want to see any top talent go to the Lakers. In the case where Davis doesn’t wear a Celtics jersey next year it would be excruciating to see him play in purple and gold.
Al Horford Leaves
The worst case scenario is not always the most likely. Al Horford leaving the Celtics would be a shocking turn of events but it certainly belongs on this list. Horford currently has a player option and if he decides to opt in, he would be a $30.1 million cap hit. Al Horford is as consistent as anyone on offense as well as a defensive anchor for the Boston Celtics. Al is arguably the team’s best leader and his departure might just cripple an already vulnerable locker room.
The Celtics resign Terry Rozier to a big contract
Terry Rozier had maybe the worst season of anyone on the team, then proceeded to make an appearance on ESPN to trash the Celtics’ season and boast about how he had a tougher time than anyone else. Despite having a down year, teams know his potential and will most likely be willing to pay for it. If Kyrie decides to leave, there is suddenly a huge hole at point guard and the Celtics might end up paying Terry far above what he is worth.
The Celtics go anywhere near Mike Conley
Mike Conley is not only one of the best point guards in the league, but is also one of the best people. However, he is thirty-one years old and his contract looks like this:
One of the most popular trade packages for Conley is Gordon Hayward and returning the Grizzlies first-round pick (top six protected in 2020, unprotected 2021). Giving up Hayward in an unnecessary trade might tarnish Boston’s reputation for future free agents. This coupled with giving up the Celtics’ most valuable draft asset in the process would be the worst trade in the Danny Ainge era.
Best Case Scenario
There is a way the summer could go that puts the Boston Celtics right back in title contention, and maybe even the favorite to come out of the East.
Kyrie resigns with the Boston Celtics
Come July first, NBA fans everywhere will be keeping an eye on what team Kyrie Irving will be playing for next year. The Celtics currently own Irving’s Bird rights and can offer him a super-max contract, something no other team can. Hopefully the Celtics can use this to lock down one of the NBA’s best players.
The Celtics Acquire Anthony Davis
Obviously acquiring a top five player in the NBA is always a good thing but the Celtics getting AD also means they are most likely signing or have already signed Kyrie back. An added bonus would be to see Lakers fans so unhappy.
Al Horford Signs a Team-Friendly Deal
Al Horford is slotted to make just over $30 million this year but if he decides to renegotiate, the Celtics could have their leader for years to come. And if the off-season goes the way Celtics fans want it to, Al could give the team some much needed cap relief.
Jayson Tatum is Wearing Green in 2020
With Anthony Davis trade rumors swirling, the Celtics can offer the package with the most star potential between Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown but there is still a chance Boston could acquire Davis without having to give up Jayson Tatum. Danny Ainge should have his eye on a Kyrie, Tatum, Smart, Horford, and Davis starting lineup.
Isaiah Thomas returns
For a Celtics squad missing heart, there is no one better to call than IT. Isaiah has one of the best stories in the league and had easily his best season under Brad Stevens. If Rozier finds another home Boston will need a backup point guard who can contribute off the bench. The only potential problem would be a power struggle between him and Kyrie, but if the two of them can coexist, the Celtics could have a roster that never lets up.
Marcus Morris Sr. Comes Back
Marcus Morris Sr. started off this year scorching hot, he was a knockdown three-point shooter as well as a versatile defender. Unfortunately, he soon followed his hot start with a couple months of being ice cold. Despite his cold streak, Marcus’ impact on this team goes far beyond just these few skills.
For the first time in years the Celtics didn’t play with the passion Boston fans have come to expect and say all you want about the man but heart is something Morris is not lacking. Marcus Morris Sr. has a personality this team can’t afford to lose.
With the No 14 Pick The Boston Celtics Select Brandon Clarke
For a more in depth analysis of Brandon Clarke’s fit with the Celtics check out our Mock Draft article. Brandon fits the bill for an athletic rim protector who can finish around the basket.
Team Chemistry starts to look like 2018 again
Team chemistry is the biggest wild card going into next year.
The Boston Celtics learned the hard way that it doesn’t matter how much talent there is on paper if players don’t like each other. Hopefully the Celtics can recapture the attitude of years past and find their place back at the top of the league.