When LeBron James headed to Los Angeles last summer, the Boston Celtics looked set to become the new dominant force in the Eastern Conference. However, the likes of Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown failed to build upon breakout seasons, while Gordon Hayward struggled to make any sort of positive impact after making his long-awaited return from injury.
The constant speculation over Kyrie Irving's future also negatively impacted Brad Stevens' side as the season progressed, and the Boston franchise will consider their 4-1 semifinal defeat to the Bucks as a huge disappointment.
In response to an underwhelming season, major changes are likely this summer, and here are all the latest Boston Celtics rumors you need to know.
Al Horford may have played his final game in Boston
Al Horford has a $33.1 million player option on his contract for the 19-20 season, and he has previously expressed his desire to sign a longer deal with a contending team. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Celtics, Horford's future is far from assured, and Hunter Felt of Forbes believes that Horford may opt out of the final year of his contract:
It’s no secret that Horford’s main goal is to win a championship and time is no longer on the veteran’s side. If the Celtics aren’t in a serious position to advance past the Eastern Conference Finals, Horford might very well sign someplace where he is in a better position to win a ring. Money might no longer be his primary motivation.
Horford has spent the past three seasons with the Celtics, and he made 68 appearances during the 18-19 campaign. The veteran was among Boston's most consistent performers, averaging 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Celtics remain open to re-signing Kyrie Irving
After being strongly linked with a move to teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, many around the league have ruled out the prospect of Kyrie Irving remaining in Boston this summer. However, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders is reporting that the Celtics are still open to re-signing the 27-year-old to a max contract:
The Celtics have been actively exploring trades, and draft scenarios for players that would better lineup with a future built around Tatum and Brown... sources close to the team are skeptical that they can get Irving back but remain open to re-signing him.
Irving joined the Celtics back in 2017, and following an impressive debut season, the point guard declared his intention to re-sign with the franchise. Yet, Irving's stance changed as the 18-19 season progressed, and the Celtics now face an uphill battle to convince him to remain in Boston.
Mike Conley could be a trade target
Mike Conley has spent his entire career with the Memphis Grizzlies, although the Grizzlies are believed to be set on drafting Ja Morant as their new starting point guard next month. This puts Conley's future with the franchise in doubt, and Matt Burke of Metro Bet believes that the veteran is a realistic trade target for the Celtics:
Boston won't have much money to play with in order to attempt to sign Kemba in free agency to replace Kyrie, unless they were able to facilitate a few money-clearing trades involving either Gordon Hayward or Al Horford (who has a player option). One possible solution lies in Memphis, as Mike Conley could be had for a relative bargain.
Conley will turn 32 later this year, although he continues to be among the NBA's most productive guards. During the 18/19 season, the veteran averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game.