The Boston Celtics suffered another catastrophic loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, their fourth in the last seven years. It has been a similar nucleus for many years already, but they have not gotten over the hump as their last NBA Championship was still in 2008. Jaylen Brown earned an All-NBA selection this season, which means he will likely desire a super-max extension in the offseason.
The common debate on sports talk shows has been whether the Celtics should trade Brown and get someone like Damian Lillard or reward him with a close to $300 million contract. Grant Williams is another vital piece who is entering restricted free agency, but the Celtics will likely not have space in their payroll to keep him. The other key rotational pieces are still locked in for multiple seasons, but there are some free agents Boston must avoid when the signings are eligible.
Change is inevitable in this squad but making a big splash in free agency is not the answer.
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When Ime Udoka was still the coach of the Celtics, their defense identity was stellar as their principles and tendencies were set in stone from one through twelve. That took a massive change during the tenure of rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla as his focus is more on the offensive end of the floor and relying heavily on the long ball. Since the Celtics will likely reassert their dominance on the defensive end, Dillon Brooks is one target that Celtics fans may consider signing in the offseason.
With the off-court shenanigans of Brooks, his value may have plummeted in free agency, but Boston must not make the mistake of offering him a substantial contract. He is talented at the NBA stage to receive rotational minutes, but he can have a negative impact on the culture and the environment of the locker room.
The insertion of Brooks in the Celtics roster will enhance their defensive numbers, but Boston must weigh the negative repercussions that may occur with his addition.
When Christian Wood was a free agent a couple of seasons ago, it was surprising for the Houston Rockets to reward him with a huge bag. His production has not improved immensely for other organizations to raise his contract from the previous one. The Dallas Mavericks will likely not retain Wood, so other suitors can offer him as their sixth man, which is the role where he will flourish compared to being part of the first unit.
There have been numerous podcasts discussing that the Celtics cannot win a championship with the frontline composed of the aging Al Horford, injury-riddled Robert Williams III, and restricted free agent Grant Williams. A sign-and-trade for someone like Deandre Ayton is a more plausible scenario rather than signing Christian Wood to a multi-year contract to play for the Beantown Boys.
Wood is more of a ball-stopper who garners his points through his own talent rather than through the incredible ball movement or system of his squad. That is the primary reason on why Wood's best stretch was in his stint with the Detroit Pistons because he had immense freedom to call his own number in multiple possessions.
With the Celtics, he cannot do that because they have Tatum, Brown, and Marcus Smart as the primary facilitators of the team. Furthermore, Wood has a ton of holes to polish at the defensive end of the floor. He needs to improve as a rim protector and even as a pick-and-roll defender, which are two integral facets necessary in the Celtics' schemes.