The Boston Celtics are a team that made the NBA Finals this past year, but they were unfortunately defeated by the Golden State Warriors in six games. It is quite obvious that they are a good team that will likely be right back in the mix for the championship next season.
In this article, we will predict a realistic starting lineup and roster that the Boston Celtics could potentially field next season. There are some realistic trades and free agency signings that could happen before the season for the Celtics, so obviously, that is taken into account.
The Boston Celtics Trading For Kevin Durant Would Increase Their Ceiling
Boston Celtics Receive: Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams, 2024 First-Round Pick, 2026 First-Round Pick
Kevin Durant is one of the best superstars in the game today, and he is widely considered the best three-level scorer in the game. Durant had a stellar regular season with the Brooklyn Nets last year, averaging 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG while shooting 38.3% from beyond the arc. There's no doubt that he's an elite player that could be a difference-maker for the Boston Celtics if they were to trade for him. Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum would immediately become one of the best duos in the league, and having two top-10 players on the roster is generally a good thing for a contending team.
The Boston Celtics would have to send out a Jaylen Brown-centered package to get Kevin Durant. The Brooklyn Nets have notably prioritized getting a young star in any trade for the superstar, and it was notably reported that the Boston Celtics are the "unofficial frontrunners" in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.
Giving up key role players such as Marcus Smart and Grant Williams is definitely unfortunate for the Boston Celtics, as they are a key part of the Celtics' defensive identity. However, making the upgrade from an All-Star player in Jaylen Brown to a true superstar-caliber player in Kevin Durant is certainly worth giving up role players and the first-round picks involved.
Generally, when Kevin Durant is available, teams should take the opportunity to trade for him. It is not often that a superstar ends up on the trade market. For the Boston Celtics in particular, the risk is certainly worth it as they are already a contending team and will likely be much better with Durant's addition.
Best Free Agents For The Boston Celtics
After the Kevin Durant trade, the Boston Celtics will likely have to sign some veterans to fill their roster. There are definitely some good free agents out there that would be good fits for the Boston Celtics.
Rajon Rondo won the title with the Boston Celtics in 2008, and there is no doubt that he's beloved in the city of Boston. Bringing him back to be a backup point guard behind Derrick White could end up being beneficial, and Rondo is known to be a solid defender and playmaker in limited minutes. He also notably shot 35.2% from beyond the arc last season.
Eric Bledsoe is a solid defensive guard that also excels at slashing to the rim. He would be a good secondary ballhandler for the bench unit behind Rajon Rondo, and Bledsoe would also fit the team's defensive identity. For a veteran minimum, Bledsoe is a solid pickup for a team that simply needs a guard in the rotation.
Carmelo Anthony excels in a bench-scoring role, and he showed that he is still an elite 3PT shooter last season. He averaged 13.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.0 APG while shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc last season. A team can never have too many shooters, and Carmelo Anthony would also be able to give sporadic shot creation as well. Overall, if Carmelo Anthony plays offense like he did last season, the Celtics should absolutely pick him up.
These players would be serviceable bench options that have had plenty of experience in the league. Sometimes experience is the separator in big playoff games, and it's important to have quality veterans that don't get phased in a playoff atmosphere.
The Most Realistic Roster For The Boston Celtics
Starting Lineup: Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Robert Williams
Bench: Rajon Rondo, Eric Bledsoe, Carmelo Anthony, Danilo Gallinari, Al Horford
The starting lineup would feature Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White moving into a starting role, alongside Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, and Robert Williams, who were starters last season. Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White would comprise a very good backcourt on both ends of the floor, and Brogdon's spacing and off-ball game will be key in opening up the floor for Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant. Derrick White has the length and athleticism to guard the best opposing guard, and he is capable of driving to the rim and finishing near the basket offensively.
The Kevin Durant - Robert Williams frontcourt would be elite defensively. Robert Williams and Kevin Durant both provide rim protection but are also athletic and mobile enough to guard multiple positions. The offensive attention that Kevin Durant commands from the defense would help Robert Williams have an easier time offensively, so their partnership is simply a perfect fit.
The starting lineup is well-balanced, with good role players surrounding stars Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum. The bench is similarly well-balanced, with a combination of good offensive and defensive players. Rajon Rondo and Eric Bledsoe would be the primary defenders of that unit, with Carmelo Anthony and Danilo Gallinari providing the offensive punch. Al Horford would be the versatile lynchpin that holds the bench together, as he is a big man that can shoot, pass, and protect the rim. A backup role likely suits Horford due to his age.
Overall, this roster would have solid players 1-10 and would be one of the best teams in the league. While their regular season would likely be similar to this year's, this version of the Boston Celtics will likely do better in the playoffs and be closer to winning a championship.
The Celtics Could Win A Championship With This Roster
The Boston Celtics were a roster that was able to get to the NBA Finals last season, but it's clear that they need a player that puts them over the top. Kevin Durant is that player: he has shown that he can be a No. 1 option on a championship team during his time on the Golden State Warriors.
An argument could be made that the Boston Celtics shouldn't necessarily blow up a roster that just got to the NBA Finals. However, based on the trade rumors, the Celtics aren't just content to make the Finals. They want to win. Kevin Durant is their ticket to the championship. He would give them another dynamic offensive superstar next to Jayson Tatum, and his experience would give them a better chance of winning next year.
There is no doubt that the next title is important for the Boston Celtics: they are currently tied with the Los Angeles Lakers in having 17 championships. With a championship win next year, the Celtics could potentially separate themselves as the winningest franchise in the league in terms of titles. The Kevin Durant trade is the key to making that happen, and we'll see if the Nets and Celtics are able to agree to terms at some point before the start of the season.