It’s time to start talking about the Celtics offseason plans in 2023. They have one of the deepest teams in the league, but it’s become painfully evident that they also need to do something to finally get over the hump.
The Boston Celtics had everything in their favor to make the NBA Finals. Even the Milwaukee Bucks lost in the first round, and it seemed like that spot was theirs to lose. And, even though the Miami Heat deserves a lot of credit, losing to a No. 8 seed might be a sign of deeper issues.
Celtics offseason plans 2023
Once again, people will talk about whether Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can coexist and win together. And truth be told, they have plenty of blame for yet another epic playoff meltdown, so it’s hard to keep defending them at this point in their careers, at least as a duo.
Fortunately for the team, the upcoming Celtics free agents are mostly players that don’t even crack the rotation. Danilo Gallinari was unable to play due to a season-ending injury, and it seems like they’re ready to move on from Grant Williams.
As for Celtics free agency targets in 2023, it’s hard to envision them spending big bucks on any of the prominent names. James Harden, Khris Middleton, Kristaps Porzingis, and those kinds of guys with player options and big contracts aren’t likely to be a realistic choice.
Potential trade targets
It won’t be easy, mostly because of the Celtics’ salary cap situation. But there’s still a chance that Brad Stevens could work some magic and revamp the roster with a couple of minor tweaks. With that in mind, a big part of the Celtics offseason plans in 2023 could focus on bringing in another sharpshooter or defensive-minded big.
Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Doug McDermott, and Buddy Hield strike as potential trade candidates, as their contracts will expire and they could pursue a role in a contending team. Of course, they don’t have that much to offer, either, aside from Jaylen Brown.
Will Jaylen Brown leave?
They also have to address one of the biggest elephants in the room. Jaylen Brown has hinted at possibly leaving the team, and it didn’t even seem like he wanted to be there at all during that humiliating series against the Miami Heat. His body language was way off, and he wasn’t as efficient and clutch as he usually is.
Brown has been involved in countless trade rumors throughout his stint with the Celtics. They’ve reportedly made him available multiple times, and even though they’ve held onto him and seem to believe in him as one of the faces of the organization, that uncertainty has to take a toll on him and his love for the organization.
He’s also called the fans out multiple times, either because of their history of racism and hatred, and for not being loud enough throughout the playoffs. All things considered, he might not be comfortable with the organization anymore.
However, Brown did make an All-NBA team this season, thus making him eligible to sign a supermax contract extension worth nearly $300 million. He’s a man of principles and not like the average NBA player, but would that and his alleged discontent be enough to leave nearly $50 million on the table?
The Celtics can give him the most money and it’s not even close, but they could also get a historically-high return for his services if they finally decide to break up their star duo. They’ve shown they can dominate together, but maybe one needs to be without the other to be at his best.
What to do with Joe Mazzulla?
Head coach salaries aren’t exactly cheap, and the Celtics are the winningest franchise in NBA history, so they cannot settle for who’s cheaper or available. Joe Mazzulla was a bit of an afterthought after the Ime Udoka controversy, and he’s made it painfully clear that he’s not good enough or prepared enough to lead such a storied franchise to another championship.
Mazzulla was outcoached often and early throughout the playoffs. He cost his team multiple wins throughout the first couple of series, and Erik Spoelstra took him to school after every single timeout. It was as ugly as it could get.
Celtics offseason rumors will be full of potential replacements, and rightfully so. Mazzulla might well be a great basketball mind and a guy who’ll take a bullet for his players, but he’s not experienced enough. Ime Udoka led them to the NBA Finals in his first year, and Steve Kerr did the same with the Golden State Warriors, but that’s not usual.
Mazzulla might be better suited to taking another step back and continue working his way up with more years as an assistant. He failed to make adjustments, and even his players admitted that there was a lot of randomness to their offense.
There won’t be that many suitable coaches at this point in the offseason, but the best available should be more than thrilled to have the chance to coach Jayson Tatum and maybe even Jaylen Brown. The Celtics deserve a lot better.