The Boston Celtics were eliminated in six games by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2016 NBA Playoffs but they are one of the few teams that has a chance to make major moves in the offseason. With their elimination, they are now expected to be part of the NBA rumors as they target players in free agency or via trades.
One of the targets in free agency is the top player available this summer in Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. While out of the postseason already, the Celtics will be very interested in how the Thunder fares these playoffs as they battle the powerhouse San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.
Boston will be cheering for the Spurs or Golden State Warriors too as a Thunder elimination will give the Celtics a better chance of landing Durant, who may aggressively pursue signing with another team if OKC fails to win the title this year.
There are also two other things going for Boston this offseason.
The Boston Celtics has over $50M in salary cap space
Danny Ainge, the general manager of the Celtics, has put Boston in good position to sign a superstar this summer without any long-term expensive deal in the current roster. With their current core intact with Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk all under contract next season, the Celtics can sell to Durant that he is moving to a team that is a title contender if he joins them in the offseason.
Depending on what they do with the other players who will have expiring contracts, the Celtics can also target another high salaried player in free agency after signing Kevin Durant. NBA rumors will surely involve the Celtics with these kind of speculations this summer.
The Boston Celtics have the No. 3 pick
The Celtics also have a trade asset in their 2016 first round pick acquired from a previous deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Boston can retain the pick and get a high valued rookie prospect but if they want to be a serious title contender they can explore in trading this pick and target other superstars that may be available in the trade market.
Players like DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings or Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers have been linked with the Celtics in past NBA rumors. Boston will again explore those trades and could trade their No. 3 pick if needed to convince those teams.