The Boston Celtics have had a huge offseason this year and are without question one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference. Brad Stevens has to be happy with the team that Danny Ainge has put together for him. He will have a much easier job coaching this season, and his team has a serious chance to make a deep run in the NBA Playoffs.
While the Celtics have had a great offseason, there is still one major hole in their team. They have not been able to improve their perimeter shooting. That being said, there is one free agent left on the market that would be a huge pickup for them.
J.R. Smith is widely expected to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers when everything is said and done, but the Celtics should swoop in and make an aggressive move trying to sign him.
According to a report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Smith is searching for a deal worth $15 million annually. That isn’t a price tag that the Cavaliers can reach, which leads to other teams having a chance to bring him on board. Boston would have to clear some room for him, but that won’t be an issue.
Last season with the Cavaliers, Smith averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He knocked down 41.5 percent from the field overall and 40.0 percent from behind the three-point arc. Those numbers would look great in the Boston lineup.
Those two pieces make the Celtics a contender, but there are plenty of other pieces on the roster as well. Avery Bradley is one of the more underrated perimeter defenders in the league, while Jae Crowder is also a defensive presence who can score the ball well. Smith would immediately become the starting shooting guard and would take a lot of pressure off of Thomas and Horford from an offensive standpoint.
If the Cavaliers are able to get near the $15 million mark that Smith is searching for, there is a good chance that he will not consider anywhere else. That may be a fact, but the Celtics cannot allow expectation to stop them from trying to improve their roster.
Ainge has been extremely aggressive over the last few years and that will not stop now. Smith is not the risk that he once was with the off-the-court problems that he had. He has gotten his life under control and has figured out how to block that part of his life out.
Smith would be a big pickup for almost every single team in the NBA that needs a scoring punch.
Even though there is a very high likelihood that Smith will return to Cleveland, the Celtics should try to convince him to join them and make something special in Boston.
Do you think the Boston Celtics should try to sign J.R. Smith to round out their NBA offseason? Would he be the missing piece that they have been searching for when it comes to outside shooting? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Mark Duncan]