Nine players have averaged significant minutes for the Boston Celtics during this year’s playoffs. Ime Udoka rolls with a small rotation that he trusts, and it’s worked out well for Boston so far. And the best part of it all is that all nine of those players are also under contract for next year.
In fact, the only Celtic currently on a standard contract that isn’t slated to be under team control next season is Luke Kornet. Players like Matt Ryan, Juwan Morgan, and Brodric Thomas may not be back, but that will be up for the Celtics to decide.
However, just because most of Boston’s roster will be back again next season doesn’t mean that Brad Stevens won’t be looking to make additions this summer. A nine-man rotation works well in the playoffs, but adding more depth would give Udoka more flexibility with his rotations.
This year’s free-agency class isn’t studded with stars, but plenty of quality role players are set to hit the open market. And according to sources, one of the guys the Celtics could target is currently playing for the team they’re battling against.
Hometown Star Dubbed Celtics Target
According to an anonymous Eastern Conference GM who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, Milwaukee Bucks forward Pat Connaughton is someone the Celtics will express interest in:
I think a guy who there’s no question that they’d have an interest in is Pat Connaughton. He’s from Boston, from the area. I don’t think he wants to leave Milwaukee and in the end they probably will keep him around. But he is going to be 30. If he wants to go play for his hometown team, this would be a good chance, he would fit well there. He has got an option, but it is a good bet he won’t pick that up and will see what he can do in free agency.
As noted, Connaughton has a player option that he could choose to pick up, but with how valuable he’s been for the Bucks, he’s likely to test his value on the open market. He could still choose to stay in Milwaukee, but this would be a great chance for him to return home, if he were to be interested in that.
Connaughton has turned himself into a quality 3&D wing throughout his seven seasons in the league, which is exactly the type of player who would fit well with Boston’s current roster construction.
Connaughton’s Career Journey and Stats
The 6’5 forward was a two-sport star in high school and college. The San Diego Padres actually drafted him in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB Draft. However, Connaughton had his sights set on baseball, choosing to continue his journey at Notre Dame.
He was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2015 NBA Draft and spent the first three years of his career there. Connaughton then signed with the Bucks during the 2018 offseason, the place where he would blossom into the player he is today.
This past season was a career year for Connaughton. The 29-year-old averaged 9.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 45.8% from the field and 39.5% from range. He averaged 5.7 three-point attempts per game.
Adding Connaughton to the roster wouldn’t be cheap, but the Celtics will have their MLE to work with. If he has any desire to return home and play for the team he likely grew up watching, this could be the perfect opportunity for both him and the Celtics.