by Ryan Penta
Many Celtics diehards would say that the 2017 NBA offseason will go down in Celtics history as one of the most productive offseasons ever. The fact that there are only four returning players from last season is extremely rare. At just 23, Marcus Smart is now the most tenured player on the team. Smart was drafted in 2014, which means he has only had three full years on the team, but now has the most experience on the team.
The biggest move to the team was the addition of NBA champion and former Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, at the expense of point guard Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and an unprotected 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick.
Although there were rumors that the Cleveland Cavaliers would void the trade due to Isaiah’s hip injury, the news of which shocked basketball fans and owners everywhere, the trade went through and left many Celtics fans split as to whether or not this was a beneficial trade for the Celtics.
North Attleboro senior and basketball captain Derek Shanks talked about the Kyrie trade.
“I like the trade a lot. I am a huge advocate of Kyrie when he went to Duke and I think the the future is bright for the organization.”
North Attleboro Basketball Head Coach Sean Mulkerrins also gave his input when asked if the Celtics won the trade: “I think it was a tie regarding the players swapped, but it was in the best interest for the Celtics.” Mulkerrins went on to explain, “IT’s contract is up after one year, but Kyrie’s up in two years, with a player option in the third year, so it gives them flexibility cap-wise.” The Celtics would not have enough room under the salary cap if they wanted to re-sign Thomas, but they do if Irving is on the team.
The Celtics also added All-Star small forward Gordon Hayward in free agency. According to ESPN, Hayward signed a 4-year $128 million dollar contract, with the fourth year being a player option. Many would say this is an upgrade from Jae Crowder, who has yet to make an All-Star team or All-NBA team. Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and James Young all declared for free agency and were not brought back.
Many have also questioned the team chemistry with three all-stars on the team, which was also questioned back in the 2007-08 season with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett–a team that wound up winning 66 games and the NBA Finals.
Bishop Feehan senior Laith Alyacoub talked about how the Celtics would do this year: “My bet is they will have roughly 52 to 53 wins just because chemistry is a toss up.” Alyacoub continued, “ If everything clicks, this team has the potential to hit around 60 wins.”
This Celtics team is going to be interesting to watch whether they click chemistry-wise after all the drama surrounding Kyrie wanting to be the face of a franchise and how he is sick of being LeBron’s “sidekick.” When Irving was on the Cavs, the offense ran through LeBron, which it should considering he is the best player in the league right now. It was later reported that Irving wanted to be the primary ball handler on the team, and not be in LeBron’s shadow so his transition to the Celtics will help achieve this.
Gordon Hayward is also reconnecting with Brad Stevens, his coach at Butler University, and both are excited to be working with one another again.
From the looks of it, this team has potential to become dynasty and Celtics fans have been waiting for one ever since their last championship in 2008.