By: Malcolm Major (@MM_AC301):
As of Feb.7, 2019 at 3 p.m. ET, a busy trade deadline for the NBA finally began to settle. There were 20 or so trades that took place before the deadline. These trades increased the probability of multiple teams such as the Sixers and Bucks to capture a championship this season. As the NBA gets ready for an enormous free agency period this off-season, various owners and general managers across the league made executive moves they thought would benefit their organization. With the current talent level at an all-time high in the NBA, these talented players become key assets for the future of many organizations within the league.
One of the more intriguing and interesting situations around the NBA is the Boston Celtics. Danny Ainge is the General Manager and President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics and is known for his tactical strategies. Ainge has put the Celtics in a unique position for the upcoming free agency period which begins July 1st.
When healthy and motivated, the Boston Celtics are a championship contending team. The Celtics have a very talented roster that consists of arguably the best point guard in the game, Kyrie Irving. The Celtics have another potential super star in Jayson Tatum who has as high of a ceiling as any other young player throughout the league. Former all-stars Al Horford and Gordon Hayward bring veteran presence to the team. Jaylon Brown, Terry Rozier and Robert Williams bring youth and athleticism to the table. While Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris and Aaron Baynes bring a toughness and attitude that every playoff basketball team needs.
Having multiple draft picks, cap space to sign a big time free agent, high-caliber players and promising youthful stars, the Celtics have the opportunity to get real creative this summer in regards to free agency. The list of free agents in 2019 has the potential to change the entire landscape of the NBA. Players such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler etc. make this possible.
Perhaps the Celtics are waiting until the end of the season to see what actions they’re going to take. The only move the Celtics made was trading Jabari Bird to Atlanta to reduce their luxury tax bill. There were trade rumors regarding all-star Center, Anthony Davis. Davis recently admitted to the public that he will not be re-signing with the New Orleans Pelicans this summer. This controversy immediately brought the Celtics into the trade rumors discussion since they have some of the best trade deals any team can ask for. Due to certain contract agreements, the Celtics could not have Irving and Davis on the same roster. Many NBA insiders thought the Celtics would propose a deal that would primarily focus on sending Irving to New Orleans for Davis to match the super star with their young talent.
Irving’s recent expression of uncertainty to re-sign with the Celtics stirs up a lot of possibilities. He is a focal point of the team’s future success but you never know with Irving. Earlier in the season Irving said he would like his jersey hanging with the rest of the Celtics greats in the rafters when he retires. A few weeks ago Irving told the media that he doesn’t know what the future has in store for him, the world will find out what he’s doing next season on July 1st. Ultimately Davis said he won’t sign with Boston because of how their management handled the Isaiah Thomas trade.
During a recent two game losing streak, Celtics forward Marcus Morris publicly criticized his team for having a lack of attitude, toughness and fun while playing the game they love. This season has been a roller coaster ride all season long because the team has the task of integrating both Irving and Hayward into the lineup. They both missed substantial time during last year’s playoff run due to injury as the Celtics was one game away from reaching the 2018 NBA Finals. Their reassurance into the lineup this season has taken a toll on the development of Tatum, Brown and Rozier.
Lifelong Celtics fan and Assumption College senior, Kevin Falaki is happy his team didn’t pursue Anthony Davis in the past two weeks. Falaki says, “The Pelicans could’ve put their team success this season in jeopardy pursuing Davis. The Lakers offered everyone on their roster except LeBron for Davis and that nearly back fired because you don’t know if these young players can handle being on the trade block.”
Falaki has faith in this current Celtics roster. Falaki goes on to say, “the Celtics have a championship caliber roster in place right now. With their depth, length and versatility, they can match up with any team in the league. We should decide what we’re doing this off-season based on how this season ends.”
The Celtics are currently in 4th place in the Eastern Conference standings (ESPN). Relying on the ability of their players and the schematics of their head coach Brad Stevens, the Celtics still have time to build great championship like habits before heading into the playoffs.