Davis refused to commit to Boston beyond next year, and with Kyrie Irving’s status in limbo, it would have been far too risky for the C’s to part with Jayson Tatum and other assets, only to be left with nothing next summer.
Now, the Celtics are entering a very strange offseason in which they really can’t do all that much outside of re-signing Irving, but that appears to be a pipe dream at this point.
Let’s for a second assume that Irving does, in fact, bolt for the Brooklyn Nets.
Here are three keys to a perfect Boston offseason in that scenario:
3. Re-signing Al Horford on a Team-Friendly Deal
This one already appears to be in the works, as Horford seems ready to decline his $30.1 million option for next season and re-sign with the Celtics at a lower number for the 2019-20 campaign with two more years added on, per Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.
Getting Horford back on a lower cap number would obviously be huge for the Celtics, and it would ensure that he remains in Boston for the foreseeable future.
Horford’s importance to the C’s cannot be understated, and while Irving was unquestionably the team’s best scorer, Horford was actually their best all-around player and the engine that made everything go.
Horford’s veteran leadership and mentoring of young players is an invaluable asset the Celtics cannot afford to lose, and it doesn’t look like they will.
2. Do Not Overpay for Terry Rozier
With Irving apparently out the door, the natural reaction is to want to give Terry Rozier whatever he wants, but that would not be very wise.
If Rozier, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, ends up receiving a lucrative offer from another team, the Celtics should just let him walk. Rozier’s performance throughout this season indicated he is not worth big money.
Outside of one playoff run in 2018, Rozier’s story is largely unwritten. Right now, the most glaring part of his resume is, apparently, becoming a toxic locker room presence this season, primarily due to his jealousy of Irving, which he openly admitted.
Now, this isn’t to say that Boston should completely abandon the idea of re-signing Rozier, but with the C’s having no cap room as it is, the Celtics shouldn’t dig deep into the luxury tax just to keep an unproven point guard with an apparent attitude problem.
1. Focusing on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
While it might be tempting to want to bring Marcus Morris back, he will likely earn a fairly expensive deal on the free-agent market. Giving him the $15 million a year he may get would be a bad move for the future.
Don’t get me wrong: Morris was terrific this past season, but let’s keep in mind that it was a contract year, so you have to wonder whether Morris will replicate that production once he gets paid.
Most importantly, the Celtics have Tatum and Jaylen Brown to worry about.
Brown’s contract is up next summer, and Tatum is up for free agency in two years. With the AD ship having sailed, it might be time for Boston to really start planning to re-sign the two youngsters and setting some money aside for when the time comes.
Unless another superstar becomes available for trade within the next month (which seems unlikely), the C’s should move forward as if Tatum and Brown are going to be fixtures in Boston.