Although rumors of a potential Kevin Durant trade still hang over the Celtics, Brad Stevens probably could put his phone on silent for the next month-plus and still be satisfied with Boston’s offseason.
The Celtics notably added Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari to a team that just fell two wins short of an NBA title. As such, Boston has plenty of reason to feel good about the 2022-23 campaign, especially if Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, among others, take another step forward in their development.
So, have the Celtics had the NBA’s best offseason?
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton this week handed out offseason grades to each team in the NBA, taking into account “the opportunities teams had to improve their rosters via the draft and cap space to use in free agency.”
Most teams earned marks in the “B” range. And only three teams earned an “A” from Pelton: the Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Utah Jazz.
Here’s what Pelton wrote about the C’s:
Armed only with their taxpayer midlevel exception and a 2023 first-round pick we can safely expect to fall late in the first round, the Celtics managed to add a pair of veteran contributors to last year’s East champions. Malcolm Brogdon is the big addition, giving Boston a sure-handed playmaker without sacrificing the elements (shooting and size at every position) that made the Celtics so good in the playoffs.
Additionally, Danilo Gallinari (signed with the midlevel) gives Boston another shooter and scorer in the frontcourt. Gallinari’s presence will make it easier to lighten the load on Al Horford during the regular season, keeping Horford fresh for the playoffs. Durant trade rumors won’t make it any easier for second-year coach Ime Udoka to keep everybody happy, but he can’t complain about the roster he’s been given.
Of course, the recent reports regarding a pursuit of Durant complicate matters to an extent. Because if the Celtics were to swing a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, it obviously would significantly change Boston’s roster — although perhaps not the team’s offseason grade seeing as it’d be adding one of the best players on the planet.
It’s admittedly fair to wonder whether the Durant rumors have fractured the front office’s relationship with Brown, a franchise cornerstone who’s long been the subject of trade speculation. If so, one theoretically could argue the Celtics’ offseason has been a failure as it relates to their long-term outlook.
But just going off what we know — that Boston added Brogdon and Gallinari to an already deep and talented roster — ahead of the 2022-23 season, it’s easy to see why fans and pundits are high on the Celtics’ summer activity to date.