NBA 2021 offseason preview: Boston Celtics



Having participated in the finals of the Eastern Conference in 2017, 2018 and 2020, the Celtics entered the 2020/21 season looking to come back at least that far. But things never quite gelled for this year’s iteration of Cs, as injuries, COVID-19 issues, and inconsistent production in the field were all major factors over the course of a year. disappointing.

The Celtics made the playoffs anyway, but it took a play-in victory to get there after the team finished with a disappointing 0.500 (36-36) record. And the Boston playoffs were short-lived as the club were unceremoniously sent off by Brooklyn in the first round.

Jayson tatum and Jaylen brown still look like capable cornerstones of a future title contender, but the Celtics will need to find a way to surround them with more reliable complementary pieces. This task will fall to Brad stevens, who moved from the sideline to the front office after serving as longtime president of basketball operations Danny Aingé resigned.

In his first month on the job, Stevens wasted no time making a couple of major moves, hiring Imé Udoka to replace him as Boston head coach and send Kemba walker and a first-round pick in Oklahoma City for Al horford and The brown of Moses in a business that will create additional financial flexibility for the franchise over the next two seasons.

The Celtics’ offseason plan:

Moving Walker’s oversized contract is expected to help the Celtics avoid a hefty tax bill in 2021/22, but replacing him with Horford doesn’t really move the needle for the team on the pitch. Further list moves will be needed to make Boston a legitimate competitor.

Besides the contracts for Tatum, Brown and Marcus Intelligent, all of which are good values, the Celtics’ guaranteed wages fall into two groups: the big veteran men who are likely overpaid (Horford et Tristan thompson, earning a total of $ 37 million) and cheap actors still on their rookie deals (Romeo Langford, Robert williams, Aaron Nesmith, Grant williams, Payton pritchard, and Carsen Edwards).

If the Celtics are hoping to raise their cap, they’ll either need to whip up a reliable spin from these coins or use them to trade for spinning players. Maybe it’s time to get past some of those old first-round picks that haven’t developed the way the team hoped. Two or three of those players could be goalies – Pritchard has had a particularly promising rookie season – but Boston should be ready to deal with several of the others – not having drafted them himself, Stevens may not feel so good. attached to them than Ainge.

Meanwhile, Horford’s contract is only partially guaranteed beyond this season and Thompson’s deal expires, so both players are mobile, even though they don’t have a positive value. The Celtics also have a handful of trade exceptions that might come in handy, including one worth $ 11 million.

In free agency, find a new agreement with Evan Fournier numbers as a top priority. If you factor in the two second-round picks the Celtics sent to the Hornets last offseason to generate the massive trade exception used later to face Fournier, the cost of his acquisition was essentially four second-rounds. The organization won’t want to let it walk for nothing after paying that price.

The Celtics are also expected to discuss contract extensions with Smart and Robert Williams, both of whom are entering the final year of their contracts. Smart, who is expected to have a bigger role with Walker gone, might have more leverage to negotiate a lucrative new deal than Williams, who could find himself fighting for minutes in a crowded front area. Of course, if Stevens is to take another big hit in the trade market for a point guard, Smart may have to be included in Boston’s bid.

Salary ceiling situation

Note: Our salary cap projections are based on an assumed 3% increase, which would result in a cap of $ 112.4 million for 2021/22.

Guaranteed salary

Reader options

Team options

Unsecured salary

Restricted free agents

Bidirectional free agents

Draft pick

  • Global choice n ° 45 (no blocking of the ceiling)

Players eligible for the extension

  • Robert williams (beginner’s scale)
  • Carsen Edwards (veteran)
  • Al horford (veteran)
  • Marcus Intelligent (veteran)

Unrestricted free agents / Other ceilings

Cap off season Outlook

The Celtics will certainly have passed the milestone this summer. Whether or not they exceed the luxury tax limit depends on Fournier’s return and the team’s cost reduction in the exchanges. If we assume Fournier re-signs at a reasonable rate (maybe $ 15 million), Boston would have to lose wages elsewhere to stay tax free.

Without Fournier, the Celtics might have enough leeway to use the full non-taxing mid-tier exception. But my bet for now is that Fournier will be back and the team will be limited to the MLE taxpayer.

Limit exceptions available

  • Intermediate level exception for taxpayers: $ 5,890,000 4
  • Commercial exception: $ 11,050,000
  • Commercial exception: $ 6,879,100
  • Commercial exception: $ 5,000,000
  • Commercial exception: $ 4,767,000
  • Commercial exception: $ 370,564
  • Commercial exception: $ 343,873


  1. This is a projected value. Tatum’s salary will be 25% of the 2021/22 salary cap.
  2. Parker’s salary becomes partially guaranteed ($ 100,000) after July 31.
  3. Because they have had two-way contracts with the Celtics for two seasons, Fall and Waters are not eligible to sign another two-way deal with the team.
  4. This is a projected value. If the Celtics stay far enough below the tax apron, they could gain access to the full mid-tier exception ($ 9.5 million) and the semi-annual exception ($ 3.7 million).

Information on salary and maximum Basketball initiates, RealGM, and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.


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