Free agency is finally here folks. Here’s a checklist of some sorts that the Celtics could utilize in order to retain their status as championship contenders.
– RE-SIGN MARCUS SMART: Marcus Smart is a vital part of the Boston Celtics. They need him in order to be a championship team. He may be an offensive liability but he is one of the few players that can take any team’s best offensive player and lock him down. Smart does all the things that don’t show up on a box score. There’s no column for diving for loose balls or holding an elite scorer under 20 points. It would behoove the Celtics to bring Smart (who is a restricted free agent) back, but not for the $14 million his heart desires. They have to let him test the market and allow him to see that no team has a brighter future and that no team is going to give him $14 million. Marcus Smart and the Celtics are a player and a team that were simply made for each other.
– ACQUIRE A BIG MAN: If Greg Monroe leaves via free agency (which is a legitimate possibility), the Celtics would be very thin at the Center position. The Celtics should search the trade and free agent market for a legitimate Center. Aside from Dwight Howard it will be hard to sign a big man via free agency without breaking the bank, so the trade market is the best option. Given that so many players on the team had breakout seasons in 2017-18, they have the assets to trade for practically any team’s big man. Possible trade targets include Anthony Davis (that’s right you’re hearing this rumor for the 1,000,000,000,000th time) from the New Orleans Pelicans or Karl-Anthony Towns from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns would of course cost less but the Celtics are the only team that can trade away pieces of their team from 2017 and still be a just as much, if not more of a championship favorite. As long as they don’t trade Kyrie Irving or Jayson Tatum, no trade that they make would make them worse.
– ACQUIRE ANOTHER GUARD TO COME OFF THE BENCH: Along with the aforementioned Greg Monroe, there is a strong chance that the Celtics lose another role player in Shane Larkin. They should look within the free agent market to fill this backup guard void. Potential options include; Shabazz Napier, Michael Carter-Williams and Tyreke Evans. Even if Larkin returns to the Celtics, signing one of these guys wouldn’t hurt at all as you can never have too much depth at the guard position.
If they accomplish this next checklist goal, their offseason should be considered a success.
– STAND PAT: If the Celtics bring back Marcus Smart they could make no other moves and still be the favorites in the Eastern Conference. This is especially true now that LeBron James has left the Eastern Conference. A healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward give the Celtics one of the best starting fives in the NBA. Seriously, if you pair these two with an experienced Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (not to mention Al Horford and Marcus Morris) the sky is the limit for this team. They don’t necessarily need to make a move this offseason. They can if they want to though.