The Boston Celtics had an extremely successful 2017 and headed into the offseason primed to become one of the best teams in the league for years to come. They were spilling with assets, had built a great core, and had a chance at attaining some star players through trades and free agency. On top of that, they had a chance to pick a franchise cornerstone in Markelle Fultz during the 2017 NBA Draft. So what did they do with this amazing set up?
Celtics GM Danny Ainge began by trading the top pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for the third pick as well as a future first rounder. With the third pick, the Celtics selected small forward Jayson Tatum out of Duke.
“The Celtics were always going to pick me No. 1, but Philly didn’t know that…Philly thought that Boston was going to pick Markelle” -Tatum pic.twitter.com/sN8iZWqkcF
— Celtics News (@CelticsNewsNBA) August 5, 2017
Tatum is as NBA ready as they come, and Sports Illustrated described him as a ‘scorer through and through’. Tatum also performed well at the Utah Summer League, averaging 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in three games. It is too early to tell who won this trade, as we will have to wait a few years to see how Tatum and the Sixers’ pick, Fultz, pan out.
The biggest splash the Celtics made in free agency was the addition of All-Star Gordon Hayward to a four-year contract. Until his decision to join Boston, Hayward had been the go-to option for the Utah Jazz. Hayward’s free agency turned into a highly publicized battle between the Celtics, Jazz, and Miami Heat to see who could snag the small forward’s services.
Hayward decided on the Celtics on July 4th, officially making their offseason a success regardless of whatever else happened. Hayward has grown exponentially since entering the league in 2010. His first All-Star game was last year, and he will be a huge addition for Boston in the 2017-2018 season. Hayward’s stats below show his growth from year to year, a trend that should continue over the next few years.
The Celtics also traded Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris. They’ll definitely miss Bradley on defense, but they got some rebounding presence that they desperately need in Morris. The Celtics also signed German forward Daniel Theis as well as center Aron Baynes to help them on the boards.
The Celtics most likely lost the Bradley trade, but they did get rid of Bradley’s large expiring contract for a decent return.
Marcus Morris is now a Celtic. Check out his highlights: pic.twitter.com/1nhsQEh4nP
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 7, 2017
The Celtics are a team looking to the future. It is nearly their time, and this offseason, they helped to make sure that when that time comes they will be ready. The additions of Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward will be more than enough to keep Boston at or near the top of the Eastern Conference next year, with the possibility of a long playoff run.
Final Grade: A-