Despite never truly being at full strength with Gordon Hayward in the lineup, the Boston Celtics with Hayward and Kyrie Irving managed to take the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Celtics are definitely being looked at as the successors to the Eastern Conference crown, especially so if LeBron James leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers. With a mix of younger players and seasoned veterans, the Celtics look like they will be around a while.
Here’s a look at the Boston Celtics roster going in the draft. Keep in mind this includes current free agents, and the roster is likely to continue to shift this summer.
Celtics Roster & Projected Starting Lineup for 2018
- PG – Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin
- SG – Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart
- SF – Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Abdel Nader
- PF – Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele, Semi Ojeleye
- C – Aron Baynes, Greg Monroe
When healthy the Boston Celtics have a lineup and roster that could rival the best teams in the NBA. Unfortunately things don’t seem to ever go as planned in the NBA and injuries certainly ravaged this team.
With the strong play by Rozier and Tatum in the playoffs, there has been a lot of talk as to whether Kyrie Irving will even return next season.
Kyrie Irving carries a big cap hit and will certainly be a very coveted piece in the trade market provided he becomes available. One potential suitor includes the Brooklyn Nets who just traded for Dwight Howard and might have their eyes set on something bigger.
We don’t really have a clear idea as who the Celtics would target in trades if they do unload Irving other than just clearing out the cap space. The performance of the young stars have given the Celtics hope in their future. It’s hard to imagine last summer a team would be talking about trading Kyrie Irving immediately after acquiring him.
Celtics Cap Space: $-6.4 Million
The Celtics have a big three that carry a big cap hit. Their three highest paid players in Hayward, Horford and Irving more than $70 million so there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room in bringing in more high payed talent.
With no team or player options to decide on, it sounds like the Celtics will have a hard time creating extra cap space unless they are able to unload a big contract, such as Irving’s.
Boston did an excellent job shedding cap space to make room for Hayward, including the trade that sent fan-favorite Avery Bradley to Detroit in return for Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes.
The Celtics, after the Irving trade with the Cavaliers, only hold the 27th pick in this year’s NBA Draft so it looks like the cap hit won’t be too hard mid to late round picks don’t command huge salaries.
On the bright side if the Celtics are able to avoid the injury bug going into the new season then they will automatically have an improved roster considering Hayward only lasted a few minutes into the season.