Generally, Danny Ainge and other NBA execs have about three months from the time of the draft to the start of training camp to take care of personnel moves.
Now, the entire offseason effectively is being crammed into about two weeks.
With the NBA Draft set for Nov. 18, free agency two days later and the start of training camps on Dec. 1, Ainge has plenty to do in the next few weeks.
So, here’s our Boston Celtics offseason checklist.
Figure out what the deal is with Gordon Hayward
First, let’s not rule out the possibility that Hayward just might not want to be in Boston. That could be problematic for him, though, because we’d be willing to bet he won’t be able to fetch, oh, about $32 million on the open market right now.
But Ainge needs to figure out where Hayward’s head is at. Hayward opting out actually does not mean the Celtics would have a bunch of money to suddenly work with. So the better move if Hayward is to play elsewhere is for the Celtics to find a way to keep him on his current deal and trade him. Making the money work is complicated, but not impossible if a team — like how about the Indiana Pacers — decides they really want him.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Celtics are a better team when Hayward is around and healthy. And he’s now three years removed from his devastating injury, so there’s a real possibility this is the year he gets back to All-Star form and hammers out the consistency. That would be huge for the Celtics.
Regardless, the Celtics need some direction on this from the Hayward camp, because it’ll probably dictate a number of other situations.
Take care of the backup point guard situation
Brad Wanamaker had himself a nice postseason, but he’s now a free agent. Maybe he decides he can do better if returns to playing overseas, or some team pays him way too much to be their backup.
Either way, the Celtics need to figure out what the plan is if things don’t work out with Wanamaker.
Sure, they could draft someone. But since they have Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart already running the point, the ideal fit here is probably a more proven NBA player that has a few years under their belt. Maybe they bring in a guy like Chris Chiozza or, dare we say it, Isaiah Thomas.
Determine what to do with all their first-round picks
We’ll tell you what they should do: trade them.
Ainge is a bad drafter, no matter what anyone else tells you (congrats on hitting on a pair of top-three picks). Anything in the middle of the first round or beyond by and large has been a disaster.
The Celtics reportedly have tried packaging their three first-round picks so they can move up in the draft, and that’s exactly the approach they should be taking.
If nobody really bites, then Ainge will have to cross his fingers and make the picks. What could go wrong?
Sign Jayson Tatum to an extension
The Celtics star now is eligible to sign a max deal, and doing anything other than signing him to that extension right away would just be prolonging the inevitable on Ainge’s part.
Tatum continues to develop into a bona fide star. It’ll come at a big cost, but that’s the going rate for players like him at this juncture.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tatum’s extension wouldn’t kick in until the 2021-22 campaign, when Hayward’s money would be off the books.
Shore up the frontcourt
It’s looking increasingly like Enes Kanter is gone. That means the Celtics will enter the season with Daniel Theis, Robert Williams, Grant Williams, Vincent Poirier and Tacko Fall as their big men.
In a word: Yikes.
If a return for Kanter is out of the question, then the Celtics would be wise to hit the bargain aisle for a replacement (assuming they don’t, you know, trade Hayward in a package that brings Myles Turner and/or Domantas Sabonis or Nikola Vucevic to Boston).
In such a case, they could eye an Aron Baynes reunion, or maybe even go after Dwight Howard. They could also if they really wanted to try for guys like Hassan Whiteside, Tristan Thompson or Derrick Favors.
They’re not still enamored with DeMarcus Cousins though, right? Because he’s available.