An Underage Sports Journal For Students of the Game

Screenshot 2021-06-06 12.12.11 AM-4f1f612b
NBA Analyst

NBA Analyst

The Celtics are Stuck in Mediocracy Playoff Contention

With the resignation of Danny Ainge, new questions have surfaced in Boston regarding the team’s future and where they go from here. A large reason that contributed to the departure of Ainge was the difficulty of the situation that the Celtics are currently in. With the looming questions regarding Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker, and adding depth to a shallow team, Ainge wanted no part, and Brad Stevens has been thrust into the spotlight. Can he succeed?

The first step is handling the Kemba Walker contract which is worth
$36M next season. For a guy that only played for 43 games this season and shot as inconsistently as he did, discovering a trade partner is certainly on their minds. Walker is on the Celtics’ books through the 2021-2022 season and holds a $37.6M player option for the following year. If Walker isn’t out of Boston by then, he is likely signing the deal. The obvious destinations for Walker would consist of the Clippers and Knicks, but there are trade troubles with both of those teams. The Knicks can’t sen enough contract money outward to make up for Walker’s contract, and the Clippers don’t have a playmaker (besides Rondo) that the Celtics would need in return for Walker, not to mention their complex taxpaying situation. I’m curious to see whether Kemba is heading towards a buyout because his contract is ultimately holding up the team from signing or trading for other big names or role players.

After handling the Kemba Walker situation, it’s time to move on to Evan Fournier. Fournier carried his hefty $17M contract to Boston in a trade on deadline day which involved Jeff Teague and two second-round picks departing from Boston. Fournier’s contract has expired, and he will be looking to sign an offer sheet for the equivalent amount for next season, and I don’t think the Celtics should give it to him. He’s been good, but that’s it, nothing special. Nothing worth $17M. The Celtics would rather save that money to spend on multiple players that could boost the overall talent of their team.

Lastly, cleaning up the team options. Robert Williams, Grant Williams, and Romeo Langford are currently awaiting for the team to choose whether they want to sign the team option or not. With Robert and Grant Williams, I believe the answer is clear, these guys have played their hearts out and have earned a roster spot on this team. Langford will likely be penned for another season with the team, but he is the fringiest of the three. It will be interesting to see where he ends up following next season.

Brad Stevens has plenty of work to do for this organization, and it’s not going to be an easy task. It’s quite rare for an individual to transition from coach to head of basketball operations, so this team is relying on him to get the job done behind the scenes so that the Celtics can have a greater shot at winning another chip next season.


  1. This team just doesn’t seem very complete. Tatum, Brown, Kemba, and Fournier are all iso players. The Celtics need a quality PG who can pass and score. The Celtics lack depth and Robert Williams is a question mark. I think the Celtics should ty to trade Kemba for a decent backup PG and maybe a late first. I don’t know the salaries off the top of my head, but a couple mock trades I would have is Kemba for Patty Mills and 2 seconds. Kemba for Jalen Brunson and a first. Great article. The Celtics have good base players but they are stuck

    1. Yes, this is what I’ve mentioned in the past. You can’t succeed with three iso players (not counting Kemba as one). They need a healthy, playmaking point guard that can lead the offense. Something they thought Walker was, but he isn’t. I like your trade ideas, however, the Patty Mills trade would not work financially because the Spurs are a taxpaying team and can only take back $17M in salary. Walker’s contract is $34.3M. The Jalen Brunson trade would not work either, as the Mavericks would cross the tax apron of $138.9M. They can only take back $2.1M in salary based on the contract of Brunson which they are sending out. Thank you.