Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics are viewed as the most competitive team in the Eastern Conference for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to deal with. They are fresh off of a run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, but they are a piece or two away from being a serious threat to knock the Cavaliers off.
Free agency is a major key for teams that are a piece or two away from championship contention. Boston is one of the top free agency destinations this offseason and are expected to sign at least one star. Ainge also seems interested in trading for a star, as the Celtics have been linked with Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George.
While the Celtics could acquire George, there are a few free agents in particular that are perfect fits for them.
All of that being said, which five players would be ideal pickups in 2017 NBA free agency? Let’s go ahead and dive in.
Gordon Hayward, Small Forward, Utah Jazz
The most obvious fit for the Celtics is Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who is considering the Celtics as one of his top three free agency landing spots alongside the Miami Heat and Jazz. Hayward would reunite with his old head coach at Butler, Brad Stevens. Ainge has been gunning for Hayward, and there are no free agents who would fit better with the Celtics.
Blake Griffin, Power Forward, Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin may not leave the Los Angeles Clippers, but if he does, the Celtics look like an ideal fit. They could pair Griffin with Al Horford in the frontcourt, which would be tough for opposing teams to defend. Griffin would add instant offense and would bring in the type of high-flying athleticism that Boston needs.
Serge Ibaka, Power Forward, Toronto Raptors
Adding Serge Ibaka would be an obvious Plan B option for the Celtics. They would have to miss out on both of the above names in order to turn to Ibaka. That may be the case, but Ibaka would add much-needed interior defense and would also help add a scoring punch for the Boston offense.
J.J. Redick, Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Clippers
Boston had very few weaknesses last season, but shooting was one of the few areas that could have been improved. J.J. Redick is set to hit open free agency and would be a dangerous scoring option in Boston. Adding that kind of shooting would open up the offense for Isaiah Thomas and would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Boston is expected to make a run at top free agents, including Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin, this summer. https://t.co/HdFnOLacbW— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 23, 2017
Paul Millsap, Power Forward, Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap is a no-brainer option for the Celtics as well, although they don’t appear to be a front-runner at this point in time. Millsap and Horford would reunite after their tenure with the Atlanta Hawks. Boston would have a tough run at signing Millsap, but he certainly belongs on this list even if it is unlikely that the two sides agree on a deal.
Expect to see the Celtics bring in a big name or two this offseason. They have the money to spend and can offer free agents a chance to compete for a title. Ainge has swung and missed on acquiring a star over the past couple of years, but that should change this offseason.
Do you think the Boston Celtics will land one of these five free agents? If not, what do you think they will end up doing the rest of the offseason? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Mark J. Terrill/AP Images]