Not terribly long ago, the Boston Celtics weren’t expected to be very active in free agency this summer.
Re-signing Kyrie Irving effectively was the only piece of business on the docket, with a potential Anthony Davis trade pegged as a distant possibility. One of those options now is off the table, and the other becomes increasingly unlikely as each day goes by. Davis reportedly was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, while Irving and the Celtics reportedly have had minimal conversation of late. And to make matters worse for Boston, Al Horford appears on his way out of town as well.
But as the Irving and Horford doors close, another will open. And as ESPN’s Kevin Pelton highlighted in a column published Tuesday, the C’s will have some options if the two stars elect to leave the franchise.
The Celtics, as Pelton notes, would garner $28 million in salary cap space if they renounce the rights to their other free agents in addition to the expected Irving and Horford departures. Pelton targets D’Angelo Russell as a potential fit for this new-found money, which could be stretched to an even higher number with a few other moves. This could allow Boston to pursue a top-tier free agent like Kemba Walker. As for Horford’s potential replacement, there will be a number of above-average stretch fours available. Pelton identifies Nikola Mirotic as one of the ideal fits for the C’s, with Al-Farouq Aminu and Thaddeus Young serving as viable options as well.
Boston, obviously, won’t feature nearly as much star power in the 2019-20 campaign as it did this past season. But as 2018-19 proved, an abundance of high-end talent doesn’t always equate to success. Finding the right blend of players is equally important, and the Celtics now should targets players who will best complement their young core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.