Boston Celtics 2021 Offseason Outlook


Overview


The Boston Celtics completed the 2020-2021 NBA season with a record of 36-36 which placed them at 7th in the Eastern Conference and 16th in the league. They qualified for the play-in tournament and beat the Washington Wizards to reach the playoffs. Unfortunately, with all of their injuries, they were no match for the Brooklyn Nets and were eliminated from the first round in five games. The Celtics started their offseason early this year, announcing shortly after the season that Brad Stevens would step down from coaching and move into a role in the front office as the president of basketball operations. They soon after brought in Ime Udoka who they hope will be able to connect with players in the locker room and lead this team to their potential. Brad Stevens has also made his first major move in trading away Kemba Walker and the 16th pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring back Al Horford and Moses Brown. Many believed that Kemba would be traded but were surprised at the return package. Al Horford and Moses Brown could theoretically help with their frontcourt depth, which is an area of weakness for this team, but the move leaves them with no draft assets this year and an extremely young guard rotation. This offseason, most of the team is already contracted and there will be very little flexibility to improve via free agency so it projects to be a busy offseason for Brad Stevens who will likely look to the trade market.


Salary Cap


Currently, the Boston Celtics have 11 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2021-2022 NBA season. They do not have any team or player options, but they do have some non-guaranteed salary to make decisions on. Jabari Parker and Moses Brown have non-guaranteed contracts for next season, but I expect both of them to return as they will fit in as key rotation players next season. They will have no restricted free agents but Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters will be two-way free agents. The Celtics will also only have a few unrestricted free agents in Evan Fournier, Luke Kornet, and Semi Ojeleye. Due to most of their roster already contracted for next season, the Celtics will most certainly be over the salary cap and if they resign Fournier, they will only have access to the $5.8 million taxpayer mid-level exception as well as several trade exceptions.


Depth Chart 2020-21 Season–


2021 NBA Draft


The Boston Celtics will only have the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft after trading away their first-round pick to Oklahoma City Thunder. It is unlikely that this pick will change anything with this roster if they even end up playing consistently so the Celtics can afford to just go with the best available prospect with some upside at this point in the draft.


Free Agency


The Boston Celtics will enter free agency with very low flexibility to make any signings outside of their own free agents. Evan Fournier is an unrestricted free agent but has bird rights so the Celtics can go into the luxury to sign him. I expect him to get some reasonable offers in the mid-teens and if this is the case, the Celtics should resign him as a scoring threat off their bench. The Celtics should also look to bring back Semi Ojeleye on a multi-year deal as he is a key role player off the bench for them. Brad Stevens will also have to look to the trade market if he really wants to make any major changes to this roster to improve this team. Multiple reports have surfaced lately that suggest Bradley Beal is close to requesting a trade out of Washington and that Boston is one of his main destinations. This would allow him to play alongside his good friend, Jason Tatum, and take over as the team’s main ball handler in place of Kemba Walker. A trade for Beal would likely revolve around Jaylen Brown as the main trade piece. The Celtics could also add in Tristan Thompson and a pick or two and I think that would get the deal done, especially considering Beal will soon become a free agent.


Summary


The Boston Celtics enter the offseason after a disappointing season and a series of changes in the front office and coaching team. They expect to be busy on the trade market and present a substantially different team next season as they have no flexibility to add player through the draft or free agency. With Brad Stevens in his first season in the front office, you can expect an urgency to impress, and Celtics fans should be excited about what this offseason and next year will bring to their team.


Projected Depth Chart 2021/22 Season –