Boston Celtics off-season manifesto: What Brad Stevens faces ahead of quest for banner 19 

NBA: Championship Parade
Jayson Tatum will get the supermax but there are other crucial decisions Boston needs to make in the off-season

Boston Celtics finished its season atop the NBA mountain, but its pursuit of more titles in the coming years begins now. Brad Stevens built a near-perfect roster, stacked with top-end talent and excellent depth, all harmonizing to play the beautiful basketball the Celtics demolish opponents with.

Offseason decision points begin immediately after the end of the finals and Brad Stevens will do what he can to extend the Celtics’ title window as far into the future as possible. How can the Celtics parlay their title win into a potential dynasty in the making?

Important Dates

Day after the NBA Finals (June 18th): Begin negotiation with free agents on the roster

Explore the NBA Draft 2024 with our free NBA Mock Draft Simulator & be the GM of your favorite NBA team.

June 26th & 27th: NBA Draft

June 29th: Drew Peterson/JD Davison qualifying offer, Neemias Queta/Sam Hauser club option, Oshae Brissett player option

June 30th: Start of free agency period

July 6th: Jayson Tatum (supermax), Derrick White and Sam Hauser become extension-eligible

Boston Celtics Resources & Cap Overview

Total cap spending: $208,905,069

Cap space: - $6,095,068

Tax space: - $21,082,971

2024 Draft capital: Pick 30

Boston Celtics Roster & Contracts ahead of 2024-25 season

Guaranteed Contracts (2024-25 cap hit)

Jaylen Brown: $49,350,000

Jayson Tatum: $34,848,340

Jrue Holiday: $30,000,000

Kristaps Porzingis: $29,268,293

Derrick White: $20,071,429

Al Horford: $9,500,000

Payton Pritchard: $6,696,429

Jaden Springer $4,018,363

Oshae Brissett: $2,463,946 (Player Option)

Jordan Walsh: $1,891,857 (Non-Guaranteed)

Unrestricted Free Agents

Luke Kornet

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Xavier Tillman

Mfiondu Kabengele (Two-Way)

Restricted Free Agents

Neemias Queta: $2,196,970 (Club Option)

Sam Hauser: $2,092,344 (Club Option)

JD Davison (Two-Way)

Drew Peterson (Two-Way)

Though the Celtics are deep into the luxury tax, they will be able to retain their entire core, at least for another year or two. Boston’s willingness to spend big money has been no secret and they’ll take every opportunity they can to re-sign their elite talent.

Some difficult decisions may come a few years down the road, even if this current group will be locked in for the foreseeable future. Despite their lack of financial flexibility, the Celtics own their first-round picks until 2028, buying them time to add more cost-controlled talent to hopefully take over some of the role-player spots in the near or far future.

For the 2024 draft, it would make most sense cap-wise for Boston to draft players who can contribute to winning in a few seasons given their currently stacked roster; it’s unlikely any rookie would play significant minutes in year one. Still, these picks and their subsequent G-League development time will be important for maintaining Boston’s future depth.

Big Decisions for Boston Celtics ahead of the 2024-25 NBA season

Extending Jayson Tatum

All reports indicate the Celtics are prepared to make the obvious decision to extend Jayson Tatum, offering him a five-year, $315 million supermax extension. Tatum is currently nearing the end of his designated rookie max extension beginning back in 2021 and is eligible for the full supermax thanks to his All-NBA honors.

NBA champion Jayson Tatum will likely get the $300+ million supermax (Imagn)
NBA champion Jayson Tatum will likely get the $300+ million supermax (Imagn)

Tatum’s current contract expires in the Summer of 2026 with a player option in 2025, though the Celtics almost certainly won’t get to that point. Tatum was the engine of a title-winning team and Boston will happily pay their superstar what he wants. Tatum’s new deal will bring him to an approximate average annual value (AAV) of $63 million, topping his teammate Jaylen Brown’s $57 million (AAV) deal signed last summer.

It’s possible that signing another player at this price tag will hamstring future teambuilding options, though that’s a price well worth paying for a player of Tatum’s caliber. They may face difficult decisions down the road, but keeping their high-end talent together will be priority number one for Boston and that begins with Jayson Tatum.

Extending Derrick White

Similar to Tatum, reporting on the grapevine suggests the Celtics and Derrick White have interest in signing a massive extension. The exact number won’t be as easy to parse as Tatum's, as White won’t command supermax money. However, he’ll still command a substantial price tag, far exceeding the four-year, $70 million deal he inked back in 2021, which expires in the Summer of 2026.

White is eligible for a four-year, $126 million max contract, good for an approximate AAV of $31.5 million. That’s a massive number, especially for a team with so many great players under expensive contracts already. It would fall about $10 million under Jrue Holiday’s max extension signed earlier this year if the Celtics wish to lock their backcourt in for the foreseeable future.

His age likely won’t deter Boston given the Holiday extension, as White is four years younger than Holiday. Re-signing White should be a priority given his excellent two-way value; the Celtics simply can’t replace his value as a creator, All-NBA level defender and off-ball scorer. Paying the tax bill and extending their cap reckoning far into the future makes complete sense.

Uber versatile guard Derrick White will also likely get a max contract from Boston (Imagn)
Uber versatile guard Derrick White will also likely get a max contract from Boston (Imagn)

The only hiccup would be from White’s camp, who could seek a shorter, more lucrative deal on the open market. It would make sense to bet on White to continue playing at a near All-Star level over the coming years. The likeliest outcome seems that White will remain in Boston though, with the best chance to compete for more titles over the coming seasons.

Extending Sam Hauser

Since Boston is all but guaranteed to lock in their core five, they must make some difficult decisions regarding their excellent depth, beginning with Sam Hauser. He featured as a key role player throughout the Celtics’ title run, shooting 38% from three while providing elite off-ball movement and solid defense both on and off of the ball. He’s a player Boston should keep if possible.

That’s a big if, though, as Boston’s investment in top-end talent leaves little to no room to sign any other players. They’ll have bird rights on Hauser given his three-year tenure with Boston, allowing them to extend him regardless of their cap situation. If the Celtics pick up Hauser’s team option this Summer they can offer him 140% of the average salary in July, approximating to a four-year, $60ish million figure.

If Hauser’s camp wants a payday more representative of his talents, they could decline to extend to test the open market next Summer. Hauser could garner considerable money for another team where he’d play a more featured role than he could on a stacked Celtics team.

Teams looking to beef up their wing options could potentially offer Hauser a contract around a full MLE of nearly $13 million (projected) yearly, something Brad Stevens would definitely have trouble balancing the books to match.

Sharpshooter Sam Hauser could look for a more lucrative option if Boston lowballs (Imagn)
Sharpshooter Sam Hauser could look for a more lucrative option if Boston lowballs (Imagn)

Based on deals recent deals handed out to players like Max Strus (four-year, $63M) and Grant Williams (four-year, $54M), Hauser could ask for a deal nearing $17 million AAV, a price Boston might not be willing to afford if they don’t value his skillset as much as other teams may.

Boston can maneuver the cap if Hauser wants to remain on the roster and there’s a good chance he will. No other place will give Hauser as good a chance to win titles as Boston and he’d be a staple in the Celtics rotation for years to come.

Re-Signing depth

Xavier Tillman and Luke Kornet both featured heavily in the regular season and playoff rotations, filling crucial gaps whether they be injury or matchup-dependent. Both are unrestricted free agents this season but Boston acquired Tillman’s bird rights in the trade with Memphis, meaning they can re-sign Tillman for whatever number they want. Kornet, on the other hand, would likely have to accept a close-to-minimum deal to stay in Boston.

These are the considerations the Celtics must think about, even if Tillman likely will take a deal to stay in Boston, even if he could earn a bit more money elsewhere. If Tillman and/or Kornet are gone next season for whatever reason, the Celtics will turn to the draft and minimum free agency to bolster the back end of their rotation.

Possible Free Agent Targets

Boston won’t have the money to add any big-name free agents this Summer. Any of the additions they’d make would be minimum deals to replace depth they can’t or don’t want to re-sign this offseason, so we’ll focus on those names here.

Goga Bitadze (24)

Previous AAV: $1,339,383

Reporting indicates teams have an interest in Bitadze after a career revival in Orlando. He proved himself a sturdy big-man option, filling in as Orlando’s starter at times throughout the season and providing solid depth. He contributed to the Magic’s elite defense, anchoring the back line of the paint with impressive rim protection (6.6% block rate).

The Celtics could sign Bitadze to a vet minimum deal, likely in the case of Tillman or Kornet not returning for whatever reason. He’d provide an upgrade, especially on defense, at backup big, which will be valuable given Kristaps Porzingis’s health issues and Al Horford’s age. Still, other teams could price Boston out of Bitadze, rendering this signing unfeasible.

JaVale McGee (36)

Previous AAV: $3,196,448

If the Kings choose to let go of the veteran JaVale McGee, the Celtics could turn to him for extra center depth. He didn’t find consistent rotation minutes in Sacramento, but McGee will be an effective scorer at the rim and shot blocker as long as he chooses to play in the NBA.

He’d function as a more attainable replacement for Kornet or Tillman if the Celtics decide to go this direction, as McGee won’t garner more than the minimum from any team. If Boston wants to add another above-the-rim dynamic in their frontcourt, McGee could be a solid option to fill regular season minutes and add solid depth.

Bol Bol (24)

Previous AAV: $2,165,000

Bol Bol has bounced around the NBA and likely will be on another team this coming season after an up-and-down season with the Suns. Bol had the most efficient season of his career in 2024 (70.6%) true shooting, spacing the floor effectively and scoring with efficiency from all over the court.

Will Bol Bol find a new home in Boston? (Imagn)
Will Bol Bol find a new home in Boston? (Imagn)

Again, Bol could be an intriguing option if Luke Kornet and/or Xavier Tillman aren’t with the Celtics next season. Boston would be the best situation Bol has ever been in which could help his development. His three-point shooting from the center spot would slot in nicely with the Celtics’ five-out spacing.

Spencer Dinwiddie (31)

Previous AAV: $1,554,664

Dinwiddie hasn’t found a consistent home in a few seasons now, moving mid-season from Brooklyn to the LA Lakers this year. Depending on Dinwiddie’s value across the league, the Celtics could buy low on the dynamic floor general if they want to bolster their guard depth even further.

Dinwiddie hasn’t scored as efficiently over the past few seasons, though his ability to attack the paint with great bursts and explosions will always have some value. He’d fit well in Boston’s drive-and-kick style offense, playing with excellent shooters to hopefully boost his productivity in a depth role.

Mike Muscala (32)

Previous AAV: $808,297

Boston could bring back a familiar face in Muscala, who played in Boston during the 2023 season for a brief amount of time. Muscala wouldn’t cost more than the veteran minimum salary and would add more big-man depth, especially in the case of Kornet or Tillman departing.

Muscala is an excellent floor spacer for a center (37.3% career three-point percentage), slotting in seamlessly to the Celtics’ five-out offense. If Boston wants another big to soak up regular season minutes and provide veteran leadership and a positive presence, Muscala could be a comfortable and sensical option.

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Edited by Jeet Pukhrambam
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