Next season’s Celtics may have little resemblance to the group that earned the East’s top seed and reached the conference finals, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Free agents Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko are both very unlikely to be-resigned, according to Deveney. Johnson started 77 games this season, but his role was cut severely in the playoffs. Fellow free agents Gerald Green and James Young will also probably be let go. Kelly Olynyk may be a tougher call as a restricted free agent. The Celtics would like to keep him, Deveney notes, but they aren’t certain to match a large offer. The team would also like to trade center Tyler Zeller, who has one year left on his contract at $8MM, which won’t be guaranteed until July 2nd.
There’s more today out of Boston:
- Isaiah Thomas is eligible for an extension this summer, but it’s unlikely to happen, Deveney states in the same story. Thomas has one year left on his deal at the extreme bargain price of about $6.26MM. The most likely scenario, according to Deveney, is that Thomas will play out his current contract, then pursue a max deal starting at more than $30MM per season in 2018, either from the Celtics or another organization. There has been speculation about a possible Thomas trade this summer, but Deveney says the Celtics haven’t talked to anyone about dealing him. Other offseason decisions include possible extensions for Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, and Deveney notes that Boston can’t afford to invest big money in all three guards.
- Executives around the league believe the Celtics will hold on to the No. 1 draft pick and select Markelle Fultz, Deveney adds in the same piece. They will take a year to see how he meshes with Thomas, Bradley and Smart before making any long-term decisions. Kansas forward Josh Jackson is probably the most likely choice if they pass on Fultz, according to Deveney.
- At today’s exit interview, Green said he wants to return to the Celtics and help them win a title, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. The 31-year-old played just 47 games during the season, but started seven times in the playoffs.
- Al Horford, who signed with the Celtics last summer, believes Boston will be a popular destination for free agents, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “I think it’s gonna be very attractive,” he said. “If you look at our team, the upside and everything, it’s a good time to be a Celtic.”
- Boston has the assets to land Paul George in a trade if he refuses to sign a long-term deal with the Pacers, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Marks and Chris Mannix discuss the Celtics’ offseason options in a video on the Vertical website, with Marks saying a trade with Indiana is feasible without including the Nets’ pick for this year or 2018. He suggests a package of Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier, Zeller and the Grizzlies’ 2019 first-rounder may be enough to get a deal done.