Danny Ainge recently acknowledged the Boston Celtics’ roster, as constituted, isn’t good enough to win a championship.
This suggests the Celtics president of basketball operations will be active ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline, perhaps with an eye toward acquiring someone who adds both shooting and size.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps recently spoke to rival executives who believe the Celtics basically are searching for what they lost this past offseason when Gordon Hayward left for the Charlotte Hornets as part of a sign-and-trade.
“Rival executives believe they are hunting for a player who can play either forward spot and provide some scoring punch — exactly the kind of player they lost when Hayward left,” Bontemps wrote in a piece published Tuesday on ESPN.com.
The traded player exception (TPE) that Boston acquired from Charlotte in the Hayward deal is huge, as it’ll allow the Celtics to trade for players without having to match salaries.
Still, the C’s will need to relinquish assets — draft picks, young players, etc. — to swing those deals. And Boston’s treasure trove isn’t quite as alluring as it once was, complicating matters for Ainge if he’d like to make a significant splash this season.
All told, the Celtics, who entered Tuesday with a 17-17 record, might require more than a simple tweak or two to become legitimate contenders to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. It’s a startling reality for a team with two incredibly promising young All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
“There comes a time where you have to do something to keep your stars placated and show that you’re trying, especially when they’re young and early in their primes,” an Eastern Conference executive told Bontemps. “You have to make that commitment to them.”
Question is: Are the Celtics good enough to make that commitment right now? Or will Boston wait and use its TPE this offseason in the hopes of taking the next step in 2021-22?