The Boston Celtics’ offseason is a little different in 2018 than it has been over the last few years.
There aren’t any more Brooklyn Nets lottery picks for them to use, they don’t have enough salary cap space to pursue a max contract-worthy star like Gordon Hayward or Al Horford, and their roster is pretty much set from a depth and talent perspective.
Wholesale changes aren’t required to make the roster championship-caliber, unlike last summer when all but four players didn’t return after losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 Eastern Conference finals.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently talked to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach about how the differences have affected the C’s entering the draft and free agency.
“The biggest difference is just the last couple of years with those picks, we’ve had a million trade discussions,” Ainge told Himmelsbach. “That’s the biggest difference, is all of those trade discussions complicate everything, right? There are so many more calls.
“That alone made it challenging the last couple of years, because not only did we have high draft picks that people wanted to trade for, but we also had max cap space, which changed all the options we had with trades. All of that combined made the last couple of years kind of crazy. This year feels more calm.”
Despite not having multiple lottery picks to trade, the Celtics still are stocked with coveted assets — whether it be future first-round selections or talented young players — to deal if they find a trade to their liking.
“It’s certainly the case that there’s been less chatter for us up to this point than there’s been in other years,” assistant general manager Mike Zarren said, per Himmelsbach. “But we’ll still be very aggressive in trade conversations, as we always are. We’re one of the teams that have the most calls incoming and outgoing.”
If we know anything about Ainge, it’s that he’s not afraid to make bold moves in pursuit of a championship. Just look at the trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in 2007, as well as the Kyrie Irving blockbuster last August.
The Celtics have been linked in trade rumors to some of the league’s biggest stars over the last year despite already having a very good team. If Ainge finds an acceptable deal for a superstar such as Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis, we shouldn’t be surprised if he pulls the trigger.
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