Looking forward to the summer the Celtics have a lot to be happy about, regardless of what happens in this series with Cleveland. The Celtics have a few young prospects with bright futures that spent most of the year playing for the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics D-League affiliate. The core of the Celtics roster can remain intact with only 5 expiring contracts following this season (Jerebko, Johnson, Green, Young, and Olynyk). And of course the silver lining to their good fortune is the number one overall draft pick. However, one of the best things that the Celtics have going into the off-season is cap space. Danny Ainge has enough money to bring in another max contract player for next year. Two Free Agents the Celtics may pursue this summer are Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap, both who could help the team take its next step in their rebuild process.
The Celtics have been open about the fact that they will be pursuing Gordon Hayward pretty hard, but what could he really bring to the team? When bringing in new players it’s important that they can fit into the coach’s system. The Celtics would not have to worry about this if they brought in Hayward, he played under Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens during his time at Butler University. Stevens and Hayward had a lot of success together at Butler, reaching the National Championship in the 2010 tournament. Reuniting this power couple would provide the Celtics with a second go-to scorer to play alongside Isaiah Thomas, as Hayward averaged 21.9 ppg on 47% shooting. The Celtics need that extra scoring, the next highest scorer behind Thomas, who finished 3rd in scoring, was Jae Crowder, who finished 78th.
Paul Millsap recently announced that he would opt-out of the last year of his contract with the Atlanta Hawks. With Amir Johnson’s contract expiring the Celtics will need to add another PF/C to their roster. Who better to fill that spot than a four time All-Star who played with Al Horford in Atlanta? Horford and Millsap played together on the 2016 team that rolled over the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. Both Horford and Millsap have the ability to spread the floor and control the paint. Millsap averaged 7.7 rebounds per game this past season, and could supply Boston with some much needed help on the glass.
Both Hayward and Millsap would provide a lift for the Celtics who seem to improve each year. The addition of one of these two players and a top draft pick could be enough to give the Celtics an edge over the rest of the East going forward.