The Boston Celtics had an average run in the 2020-21 NBA season and clinched the seventh seed after defeating the Washington Wizards in the play-in tournament. Regardless, their offseason started earlier than they'd hoped following their first-round exit in the 2021 NBA playoffs.
The restructuring process has begun in Boston as a lot of changes have been made, especially at the management level. Danny Ainge stepped down as president of basketball operations, resulting in Brad Stevens' promotion. To that effect, Ime Udoka was recently introduced as the Boston Celtics' new head coach.
Brad Stevens wasted no time in making changes as he sought to solve the Boston Celtics' big man problem. Kemba Walker was traded to the OKC Thunder to acquire veteran Al Horford.
Although the Boston Celtics are off to a flying start as regards piecing together a team that can compete for championships in the 2021-22 season and beyond, there is still some work to be done. With their first-round draft pick included in the Walker trade package, not much help will come from the 2021 NBA draft class.
Parting with their first-round draft pick has created some flexibility financially, which will be beneficial when the Boston Celtics shop in free agency. The Celtics will be one to watch in the 2021-22 season as these moves are a clear indication that they are looking to challenge for the championship.
That said, here are three bold predictions for the Boston Celtics in the 2021 NBA offseason.
#1 The Boston Celtics will re-sign Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier was acquired from the Orlando Magic, who are on a mission of rigorous rebuilding. Jeff Teague and two second-round draft picks made up the trade package that was used to land the shooting guard.
Although retaining Fournier might seem costly, his three-point shooting will be a massive boost for the Boston Celtics' offense. He has already shown his range in the short time he has spent at Beantown, especially in the absence of Brown, who had to undergo surgery for a wrist injury.
Fournier is not a great defender and could be targeted by opposing teams. However, the Boston Celtics can manage with Marcus Smart and Brown on the court, who are both incredible wing defenders.
Re-signing Fournier should be a no-brainer, as he is only 28-years-old and still has a lot of playing years ahead. He will also provide better floor spacing for Tatum to operate.
#2 The Boston Celtics will trade Tristan Thompson
30-year-old Thompson showed how much of a force he was in the paint during the playoffs. Although the Brooklyn Nets won the series, he was the best big man, producing on both ends of the court. He exited the playoffs averaging 10.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, one assist, and 1.2 blocks.
Thompson is an elite rim protector and played a significant role in beefing up the Boston Celtics' defense. However, the acquisition of Al Horford and Williams returning to full health might limit his playtime. Moses Brown, a 7-foot-2 center was also included in the trade package that brought Horford to Boston.
With that logjam in center position, the Boston Celtics might not see a need to keep the veteran on the roster. He could be traded to strengthen their backcourt or bring in some rotation players with less salary burden.
#3 Pursue Spencer Dinwiddie
Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL three games into the 2020-21 season and never returned for the Brooklyn Nets. It was doubly devastating because he was fresh off a breakout season in 2019-20. However, reports suggest that he will decline his player option and become a free agent in the 2021 offseason.
The Boston Celtics need a point guard following Walker's departure, and Dinwiddie is a perfect choice. Dinwiddie was phenomenal for the Nets in the 2019-20 season, averaging 20.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists.
Reports are suggesting Dinwiddie wants a 5-year contract worth $125 million. While that might seem like a lot for the Boston Celtics, it is worth it considering the value he would add to the team.
Dinwiddie has impressive court vision, has a decent shot from the perimeter, and is solid on defense. His presence will remove some of the scoring pressure from Tatum and Brown and relieve Smart from excessive workload on defense.