Danny Ainge pulled no punches when discussing the magnitude of the Celtics offseason this week at the Auerbach Center.
“It’s big,” he explained. “I mean, every offseason is big. You’re making personnel decisions and making draft picks and free-agent signings, it’s always big. There’s just more of it this year, so it’s bigger than a normal year.”
The vast number of possibilities for the franchise is a stark change from a relatively simple gameplan in the past two seasons, whether that was retaining current players or targeting an elite free agent or two.
“Last summer was busy and we just had Marcus (Smart) and Aron (Baynes) really to sort of clean up their -- we didn’t know if we’d get them back,” Ainge said. “We wanted them back. This year’s way more complicated. We always talk about, there’s A-to-Z. Really there's usually A-to-G or E. This year there definitely is A-to-Z. We’re preparing for any of those options.”
In order to get a better sense of how the Celtics will be able to manage those options as the NBA offseason calendar progresses, let’s explore the offseason timeline for Boston, singling out some critical decision deadline days as the team tries to map out a future that likely will not contain Kyrie Irving.
June 20: NBA Draft
This day will serve in all likelihood as a deadline for an Anthony Davis trade agreement if it follows trends in league history for superstar deals. Generally, there is always more assets available than at any point of the year on draft night (i.e. draft picks) and given the amount of serious draft compensation will be involved in any Davis deal, the Pelicans will be best served to make the move on this night. If New Orleans wants to pick the players they want with any acquired picks, they need an agreement in place before the draft. Otherwise, they will be forced to rely on the uncertainty of future picks along with players as a trade package. Whether or not the Celtics acquire Davis, they will have four selections on draft night (No. 14, 20, 22, 51), the third highest number of selections in the league. Odds are strongly in favor of a trade or two being made by Boston on this night (or prior to it). The question is whether it will be pick consolidation or a bigger splash like Davis.
June 29: Player options decision due from Aron Baynes ($5.45 million), Al Horford ($30.1 million) and Kyrie Irving ($21.3 million)
There will be no real drama here with the Irving decision (he will opt out). Whether or not he has notified the Celtics of his intentions about staying long-term or not will be the bigger question at this point in the process.
Horford and Baynes may wait patiently to make their own decisions until Irving’s future becomes more clear,