The Boston Celtics saw a front office turnover this offseason with long-time president Danny Ainge leaving his post. Subsequently, Boston promoted head coach Brad Stevens to replace Ainge. Stevens did not waste his time in making a splash and revamping the Celtics roster.
A couple of weeks after getting the job, Stevens traded away Kemba Walker, the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, and a future second-rounder to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for former Celtics big man Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a future second round pick. Stevens did not hold onto Brown for much long, as they traded the young center to the Dallas Mavericks and brought in Josh Richardson to fortify their wing depth. Then, he dealt away Tristan Thompson and acquired Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando in a three-team deal.
As aggressive as the Celtics were in wheeling and dealing with other teams, the same cannot be said in terms of recruiting free agents. The Celtics only signed two players this offseason. They brought back former center Enes Kanter to a one-year deal. Boston also got a bargain by signing point guard Dennis Schroder–who previously turned down a massive contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers–to a one-year, $5.9 million deal after the market dried up on him.
These moves this summer suggest that Boston wants to maintain its salary cap flexibility in the long run, while also locking up their core for the future. On paper, the Celtics do have a squad that can remain competitive this upcoming season. But they certainly could have signed another player who could provide some playmaking and shot creation on the perimeter and help them improve their offense.
While they wanted to get out of his hefty deal, that’s exactly what the Celtics lost by trading away Kemba Walker.
As it stands, their point guard rotation consists of Dennis Schroder, Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard and Kris Dunn. While they do have some playmaking chops, those three aren’t necessarily known for that skillset. Smart and Dunn’s calling are defensive specialists. Pritchard could make a leap in that regard, but he is still just a sophomore and likely won’t be their main playmaker on offense.
Schroder is likely the closest one who would fill the void Walker left given his ability to create his own shot and make plays for his teammates. The German point guard is mostly regarded as a slasher who could provide 15 to 18 points a night, but he isn’t known for his shooting. While he did shoot a career-best 38.5 percent from three in the 2019-20 season–during which he finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting–Schroder’s 3-point shooting went back down near his career clip in his lone season with the Lakers, where he shot just 33.5 percent.
There were also rumors of the Celtics bringing back former franchise star Isaiah Thomas. IT played just three games in the 2020-21 season with the New Orleans Pelicans. Since then, he has been working extremely hard to make his way back to the NBA.
While their guard rotation seems loaded on paper, perhaps Boston could still consider bringing back Thomas due to their need for a lead guard. The two-time All-Star likely won’t put 30 a night like he did in the 2016-17 season, but he should be able to provide the Celtics with a secondary playmaker and a capable shot creator to help ease the offensive load off Jayson Tatum.