The biggest question mark for the Celtics, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com writes (Insider subscription required), heading into the offseason is this: Can the franchise land a star? Pelton projects the Celtics will likely have $21.1MM in cap space. The Celtics have the cap space to offer a max deal this summer while bringing others (including soon-to-be restricted free agent Jae Crowder and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Jonas Jerebko) back, Pelton adds. In an ideal offseason, Boston would ink Kevin Love, if the big man chose to opt out of his deal with the Cavs, and also package its pair of first-round picks to move up and draft Willie Cauley-Stein as a rim protector and versatile defender, Pelton writes.
Here’s more from Beantown:
- In the same piece, Pelton writes that soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Brandon Bass will probably fill the role of a veteran who can knock down the midrange jumper for a different team after playing well for the Celtics this season.
- Crowder plays with a ton of energy, plays physical and plays with emotion, all of which makes him an ideal player for a playoff-team and someone who would help the Celtics in coming seasons, if the team were to re-sign him, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com writes. Crowder, someone Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he’d like to have back, averaged 10.8 points per game and five rebounds per game in the four games Boston lost to the Cavaliers. Boston can match any competing offers for the forward who turns 25 in July as long as they tender a qualifying offer worth only $1,181,348.
- Despite trading away their two best veterans, Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, before the season’s midway point, the Celtics made the playoffs and that’s a credit to second-year head coach Brad Stevens, who finished fourth in NBA Coach of the Year Award balloting, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. Stevens, 38, has come a long way since last year, Deveney adds. While Stevens described himself as “clueless” in his first year, scouts told Deveney that the former Butler coach is now a respected leader in the league for both his offensive system and focus on transition defense. The team consistently played hard under Stevens, who, as Deveney notes, is often praised for his even-keeled demeanor. What’s special about Stevens’ offensive system is that it runs 10 players deep, so it will be interesting what role — if any — that has in the Celtics’ offseason plans. It’s very possible Stevens’ coaching style could benefit the Celtics in that regard because, as Deveney points out, Stevens has shown an ability to adapt his style to the players he has.