However, according to former President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, things could have turned out much differently, as he once considered trading away Boston’s 2016 and 2017 first-round draft picks to acquire star forward Jimmy Butler before ultimately deciding against making the deal.
“There was a situation where I could have given away both of those picks to get Jimmy Butler, and so, like that criticism is fair, like ‘you’re hoarding your picks to get rid of Jimmy Butler.’ I just thought it was too rich at the time, and thank goodness, we were lucky and that turned out to be Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum…You never know how those are going to work out, Jimmy was really good, and we liked him, and we wanted him,” Ainge said during a recent interview.
Luckily for Boston, both of those picks turned into star wings, with both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum becoming leading players in the NBA and are now seen as the future of the Celtics organization.
Celtics Give Joe Mazzulla Permanent Coaches Job
Another reason why the Celtics have been such a strong opponent this season is the work Joe Mazzulla and his staff has been doing behind the scenes, with the Celtics’ head coach implementing a top-5 offensive and defensive scheme since taking over the hot seat.
On February 16, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported that Boston has removed the interim tag from Mazzulla’s role and that he is now their permanent head coach, also securing a contract extension for his troubles.
“The Celtics have announced Joe Mazzulla has been named the team’s permanent head coach…As part of the announcement, the Celtics also say Mazzulla has received a contract extension,” Bontemps Tweeted.
Mazzulla has been with the Celtics since working as an assistant under Brad Stevens before occupying the same role under Ime Udoka last season.
Grant Williams Could Demand Huge Pay Increase
A downside to drafting as successfully as Boston has in recent years is that, eventually, those players need to be paid, and that is something the Celtics are currently navigating in regard to Grant Williams’ impending free agency.
There’s no denying that Williams has become a significant part of Boston’s rotation, but there are still question marks surrounding his value in terms of salary. However, according to a report by Marc Stein, in his SteinLine newsletter, Williams could be looking for a substantial pay increase worth up to $20 million per year.
” The Celtics, to no one’s surprise, did not trade Grant Williams. Making minor tweaks was the understandable preference for the defending Eastern Conference champions when they ranked as the league’s only team with a win total in the 40s entering Monday’s play. Yet rumbles persist that various teams are monitoring the situation and curious about Williams’ future there. Williams is poised to become a restricted free agent this summer and said to be seeking a contract in the Keldon Johnson-in-San Antonio, $20-million-annually range,” Stein reported.