Boston is one of the winners of summer free agency, along with Golden State, Memphis, and Utah. The Celtics make the list because they landed Al Horford, the second best free agent on the market. They got better immediately — Boston is probably the second best team in the East now — and it opens the doors for future free agents.
And Boston isn’t done this summer; they are looking hard at trades, according to the team’s lead owner Wyc Grousbeck. Via Kevin O’Connor of CSNNE.com:
“Well, I feel the phones are definitely ringing. Danny is definitely talking to people for sure, and has indicated that our work is not yet done,” Grousbeck said at the Celtics practice facility in Waltham. “But I’ve got to say that I feel good about this team and I feel patient. We have draft picks coming up. We have a long-term strategy. I don’t just want [Banner] 18. I want 19 and 20.”
Ainge supported those comments, telling reporters in Utah, “We are still looking at doing deals and we’re certainly not finished for the summer.”
By landing Horford as a free agent, the Celtics didn’t lose any of their assets — nice young role players, picks (including one more unprotected one from Brooklyn) — they can put in a trade to get the kind of star player that would put the Celtics into contender status. Ainge will keep looking for those.
With the moves in Chicago, Jimmy Butler is off the table as an option, and despite the wishes of many in Boston DeMarcus Cousins was never seriously on it (maybe after this season… maybe). Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are available, but the Celtics likely don’t spend too much to get them.
Danny Ainge should keep his powder dry to see if some of the big potential trade names — Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, others — come on the block. Which will happen. He needs one more real difference maker, and with Horford in the fold it’s easier to land that next one. He just has to be patient.
So do Celtics fans. Which is less likely than Ainge sticking to his plan.