When examining the plethora of assets that a club like the Boston Celtics has, the thought in the back of one’s mind is always the financial limitations that will eventually weigh that team down. With two signed superstars and a hoard of young talent, Boston rarely has to balance the books quite like other teams struggling to expand cap room. Despite this fact, the Celtics and general manager Danny Ainge are dealing with the free agent decisions of three key role players. Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes and Greg Monroe are all free agents that need a contract. Thursday night’s NBA draft may have resolved the situation for all parties.
How did this change?
2018 All-Star Al Horford is the only signed, healthy big man coming into this season. The Celtics drafted 6-foot-9 Texas A&M center, Robert Williams, at pick No. 27. Williams, coming off averages of 10.9 points and 9.2 rebounds from the past season, is the glue piece to bind Brad Stevens’ frontcourt with stronger rebounders and better defense.
Source: Drafting of Robert Williams has no impact on the Celtics intention to re-sign Aron Baynes. "We still intend to have Aron back in Boston and he's told us this is where he wants to be."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 22, 2018
This pick adds a possible FIFTH big man to Boston’s big man dilemma. Despite having no 7-footers, the C’s ranked eighth in the NBA in rebounding last season. According to RealGM’s Keith Smith, sources claim that the Celtics’ selection in Thursday’s draft is set to have no bearing on their desire to re-sign Baynes in the offseason. More than likely, both Baynes and Horford will be returning to a starting frontcourt that averaged 1.8 blocks a game last season. This inevitably leaves Monroe, Williams and second-year power forward Daniel Theis to man the bench.
What the frontcourt is working with
Monroe, coming off a 1-year, $5 million contract, shares similar averages (10.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG) as the young Williams did at college with A&M. This means he could be let go following his temporary help with Boston. He only played once Theis went down with a season ending injury early in 2018.
Thus, Stevens can have a starting frontcourt of Baynes and Horford, with a strong supporting bench of Theis and Williams who can provide defensive assistance. Williams owns the third-most blocks in Texas A&M history. That will provide a young energy boost in the NBA second and third quarter lulls. Furthermore, this is a financially strong course of action for the front office. Williams and Theis are each making around $1.5 million next season. The Celtics can stockpile cap room as they pay next-to-nothing for their rookie supporting cast and look to further improve the squad.
This pick, being Boston’s only in this year’s draft, stretches their cash and places a crucial link in their frontcourt carousel. Yet again, this proves that trusting Danny Ainge always works over trusting “the process.”