Coming off their third Eastern Conference Finals appearance in four years, many Celtics fans hoped General Manager Danny Ainge would make a move to put the storied franchise in a position to win their 18th championship. There were no significant trades or signings for the team, but the few moves they made helped fill positions that were lacking on the team.
It would be pointless to talk about the Celtics acquisitions without talking about their departures. Gordon Hayward decided to opt-out of the last year of his deal worth $34 million to sign with the Charlotte Hornets for 4 years worth $120 million.
It is hard to argue that this will not be costly for the Celtics. When healthy, Hayward was an exceptional fourth option for a team that needed his shooting and playmaking. Hayward averaged 17.5 points per game on an efficient 50% field goal percentage.
The Celtics signed two of their first-round picks to the NBA roster in Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard. Nesmith is a great pick because of his exceptional shooting ability. The self-proclaimed “flame thrower” lit it up for Vanderbilt shooting 52.2% from three. Pritchard seems like he will fit in perfectly with the Celtics winning culture. The shifty guard has deep range and could help boost the team’s lacking bench scoring.
The Celtics also signed two veteran free agents in Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson. The Celtics lack of depth really showed in the playoffs when the starters were averaging more than 40 minutes per game. Jeff Teague should help this issue while bringing veteran leadership to the young Celtics locker room.
Many fans are upset that the Celtics did not trade for a big man, notably Myles Turner on the Indiana Pacers. However, it is a smart move that they did not pull the trigger on that. The big man is the most replaceable position in the league. Tristan Thompson can defend, stretch the floor, and has playoff experience alongside Lebron James. This move allowed the Celtics to save money while getting a player that will perform similarly to other notable big men like Turner.
The Celtics improved their depth, especially in the center position, and got players that fit their needs. They did not get the most flashy names in free agency or in the draft, but The Celtics’ offseason moves helped fill major holes on their roster, and are true contenders for this year and beyond.