2016 Boston Celtics

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Boston Celtics (Last Year: 48-34)

2016-17 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Jared Sullinger/Kelly Olynyk/Tyler Zeller

PF: Amir Johnson/Jonas Jerebko/Jordan Mickey

SF: Jae Crowder

SG: Avery Bradley/R.J. Hunter/James Young

PG: Isaiah Thomas/Marcus Smart/Terry Rozier

NBA Free Agents:

SF-Evan Turner (UFA)

PF-Jared Sullinger (RFA)

C-Tyler Zeller (RFA)

2016-17 Team Salary: Approximately $44.7 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Draft Day Decisions: With eight total picks in the 2016 NBA Draft and three of them coming in the first round, including the third-overall pick, Danny Ainge and the Celtics’ front office need to get creative. They have built up all these assets and now need to make a big move to land a major player like they did several years ago when they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Plenty of names have already been thrown around in possible trade scenarios for Boston, and with eight picks and some intriguing young talent on the Celtics’ roster, somebody should bite.

If the Boston holds tight and keeps the third-overall pick, the team has to decide between an athletic point guard like Kris Dunn, shooters like Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray, or versatile frontcourt players like Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss. The minutes leading up to the 2016 NBA Draft are going to be awfully busy for Boston.

2. Pay Sullinger?: A restricted free agent, Jared Sullinger is due a pay raise and extension, but will that come from Boston? The Celtics do have the ability to match any offer sheet he might sign with another team, but they won’t be willing to overpay. A lot of what happens with Sullinger depends on whether or not the team can make a draft-day move to possibly land a big man who would make Sullinger expendable. If that is the case, Boston could look to move Sullinger in a sign-and-trade deal.

3. Shooter: Three-point shooting was a weakness for Boston all season but especially in the playoffs. While the team has recently drafted some talented shooters like R.J. Hunter and James Young, neither has made much of an impact in their young careers. The Celtics could address this need with the third pick if they select Hield or Murray, or via trade. If Boston passes on Hield and Murray and can’t land a shooter via trade, the club will search the free agent market for a three-point threat.

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