The start of free agency has kicked off with minimal action for most teams around the league and that includes the Celtics. The team decided yesterday to bring back Avery Bradley, but there has been little other movement thus far for the front office beyond reportedly contacting up to 30 free agents, including guys like Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons and smaller fish such as Jordan Hill and Kent Bazemore.
What does this all mean? Boston is largely still exploring a wide range of scenarios in building their team this offseason. I take an in-depth look at some of the team’s options in a piece I wrote for Boston.com this morning. Here’s a sample of the possibilities:
PLAN A: Try to contend right away
Possible Scenario: Celtics trade Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, three future first round picks and cap filler to Minnesota for Kevin Martin and Kevin Love. Ainge then brings back Paul Pierce with the midlevel exception and signs veteran bigs (Elton Brand, Emeka Okafor) looking for playing time and a chance to contend.
Odds of Happening: Slim-to-none. The Wolves have not shown the inclination to move Love this summer without an exceptional offer and the Celtics already lost one of their best trade chips by using the No. 6 pick on Marcus Smart in the 2014 NBA Draft. Minnesota likely isn’t enamored with anything Boston has left to offer. With no other All-Stars (that we know of) on the trade block, the Celtics’ best chance of taking a big step forward this offseason came and went on draft night.
PLAN B: Aim to make the postseason while adding to a young roster
Possible scenario: The Celtics address their need for rim protection by gambling on adding a young center like Larry Sanders who is coming off a miserable season in Milwaukee. The Celtics could offer the Bucks to pick a couple options from Boston’s list of trade assets that include salary relief, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and future first round picks.
From there, Boston adds another young piece or two (think a Hill or Bazemore type) with the midlevel exception, brings back Kris Humphries, and has a young roster that should contend for a playoff spot.
Odds of Happening: 30-40 Percent. I believe this kind of trade scenario involving Sanders or another emerging player like Hayward is Boston’s preferred plan (Hayward is reportedly being offered a max contract by the Cavs). It doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen, since it takes two teams to tango, and the Celtics won’t be desperate to make a trade for the sake of making a deal. Overpaying in a trade or in a big contract (for a player like Hayward) won’t help the building process. If the price is right though, Ainge will jump on it and speed up the rebuild process just a bit.
You can check out the full piece, which includes a couple other plan options (like trading Rondo) by clicking here.