The case could be made that one of the Boston Celtics’ primary issues this past season was having too much star power.
Now, the C’s might not have enough to legitimately compete for an NBA title in the 2019-20 campaign.
Kyrie Irving finding a new home would be far from a shocker, as the Celtics reportedly have been bracing for the star point guard to depart over the past few weeks. But now Boston finds itself in serious danger of losing Al Horford as well, as the veteran big man reportedly has opted out of his contract and plans to sign elsewhere in free agency.
The C’s still have a nice young core in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and there’s always a chance Gordon Hayward returns to his All-Star form. But even in this best-case scenario, ESPN NBA reporter Nick Friedell believes Boston should be awfully concerned as it prepares for the next campaign.
“I’d be really worried. Really worried,” Friedell said Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “Here’s why: When you don’t have stars in this league and you’re trying to win titles, you’re going to have problems. And the Celtics, you lose Kyrie, potentially, and you lose out on Anthony Davis. I know Danny Ainge is always working through something, but as great a team as they could be as a try-hard team — getting to the second round, maybe — they don’t have the pieces right now when you look at the roster to say, ‘Who’s the star who’s going to lead you to all the way through the Eastern Conference into the Finals and win in that series.’ I don’t see it.”
Friedell is correct: the NBA is a star-driven league, and it more often than not takes more than just one top-tier player to win a title. But luckily for the C’s, their competition in the Eastern Conference soon could suffer similar losses as well.
The Philadelphia 76ers will be hard-pressed to retain both Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler, and even after winning a championship in his first season with Toronto, it’s far from a guarantee Kawhi Leonard will re-sign with the Raptors. And with a massive opportunity to cash in, Khris Middleton very well could elect to flee Milwaukee.
And as Friedell touched upon, Ainge almost always has something up his sleeve. It’s safe to assume the Celtics president of basketball operations isn’t all that satisfied with his roster at the moment, and changes soon could be coming.
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