Major changes have already gotten underway for the Boston Celtics, changes which are expected to eventually trickle down to the roster. With that being said, a tight payroll will likely limit new team executive Brad Stevens from striking big in free agency.
However, that’s not to say the Cs can’t add quality pieces this summer. As Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley noted, it simply means that Stevens must choose wisely on how he opts to deploy the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts at his disposal. A good place to start may be by reuniting with a former draft pick, as well as adding a three-and-D wing from nearby New York, both of whom top the Celtics’ free-agent big board, per Buckley.
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Reggie Bullock Floated as ‘Priority’ Target
An argument could be made that the Celtics currently roster the best duo of wings in all of basketball with the All-Star tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Yet, beyond the two standouts, the position leaves much to be desired.
“The Celtics could be setting themselves up for failure if they’re asking for too much from the likes of Romeo Langford, Aaron Nesmith, Grant Williams and Jabari Parker,” wrote Buckley.
While fetching yet another gamechanger at the position is likely out of the cards, the B/R columnist believes Knicks sharpshooter Reggie Bullock could offer the Celtics two-way contributions at a doable price.
“Boston can’t afford a star wing, but it might have enough to fetch a solid three-and-D contributor. Reggie Bullock is about as ambitious as the Celtics can get, and even then they might not have enough to get him,” Buckley proclaimed. “But his potential fit is intriguing enough to make him a priority and see what happens. He’s both a plucky perimeter defender and a career 39.2 percent three-point shooter. Every win-now shopper needs more players who fit that archetype.”
Bullock, 30, enjoyed a career resurgence of sorts this season under Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. Coming off a year in 2019 where he averaged his fewest minutes per game (23.6) since 2016, Bullock bounced back in 2020, carving out a key role in New York’s postseason push. The Maryland native started 64 of 65 games this year, averaging 10.9 points per game while shooting 41.0% from 3-point range.
According to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, league sources believe Bullock’s stellar campaign has bumped his market value up to a full mid-level exception offer of $9.25 million.
Kelly Olynyk Reunion Once Again Rumored
At some point the Celtics have to pull the trigger, right? Or, who knows, maybe Olynyk will follow in Isaiah Thomas’ shoes and constantly be linked to the team until he ultimately opts to call it a career.
Rumored as a potential buyout option for the Cs earlier this season, connecting the dots between both parties does actually hold merit. The nearly seven-footer offers a skillset currently vacant from the team’s frontcourt rotation. Not to mention, his stretch in Houston this season — albeit limited — was dare we say, elite.
“There’s a slight chance Olynyk’s market could get a little out of control given how productive he was after a deadline move from the Miami Heat to the Houston Rockets,” Buckley claimed. “Over his 27 games in Space City, he averaged 19 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 threes. For context, only six players averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a three this season, and they either were All-Stars or have been in the past.”
With that said, you can likely expect potential suitors to temper their expectations for Olynyk as his numbers were at least partially a byproduct of his surroundings; ie: playing for a Rockets team that finished the year with the NBA’s worst record (17-55). In return, Buckley believes that “If he’s [Olynyk] priced right as a decent spacer and secondary playmaker with fairly severe limitations on defense, the Celtics could see value in bringing him back to Boston, where he spent the first four seasons of his career.”