Congrats Boston, you got Gordon Hayward. It’s for sure a step in the right direction for this franchise, being able to reel in top free agents in the market. Now, with Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Hayward, this team has serious potential to get back to the conference finals. However, they still have a ways to go.
Let’s start with the main issue right now. Cap space. Even with parting ways with Jerebko, Mickey, Young, Zeller and Olynk, Boston still does not have enough cap room to officially sign Hayward. This means Crowder, Smart and/or Bradley must also leave. Regardless of what anyone thinks of them, they are three solid NBA players. Losing any of them wouldn’t be the worst thing, but it definitely wouldn’t be a good thing.
The Celtics will still be a better team with Hayward replacing any of the main three guys, but it sucks to see them leave. Boston also has no leverage with any other team. All of the NBA knows Boston has to get rid of cap space, so they’re not going to give any real assets for those guys. Boston is essentially going to give one of those guys up for nothing.
There is one issue that is bigger than the rest (no pun intended). Boston HAS NO SIZE. Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynk, Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko. All bigs, all gone. Rebounding was an issue to begin with, and things have only gotten worse.
For the Green-teamers in dreamland that think Ante Zizic is going to automatically insert himself into the starting lineup, you are OUT OF YOUR MIND. I can’t believe any fan would trust a 20 year old big man that can’t shoot, who last played for Darüşşafaka Doğuş and averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds. Especially not in Brad Stevens’ offense who likes to extend the floor. Zizic may have potential, but it won’t come for at least a few more years.
Now that my Zizic rant is over, we can focus on the real issue that Boston seriously does not have any bigs. Al Horford is an undersized 5, who’s original position is the 4. The next guy up is Jae Crowder, who we might be giving up for absolutely nothing. Very little cap space and no big men is not a sign of success if you’re Boston.
Looking forward there is more issues. Thomas, Bradley and Smart are all free agents next year. Bradley and Smart will be getting crazy money in this market so you can consider them gone already. If Thomas gets a max contract, the Celtics can only afford three max contracts thanks to the new CBA which means fans can kiss the hopes of any other big name coming to Boston in the next couple of years. Boston has a plan for the future, but it likely will not involve these guys.
My biggest takeaway from this is the lack of size. When Stevens has the right guys, his system is unstoppable. However, that means five guys than can shoot. It’s hard to find a big that can rebound and shoot when you barely have any cap room.