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NBA PM: Get Ready For Boston’s Bounce Back In 2017

Boston may have suffered a disappointing first-round loss, but they may have the brightest future in the East.

Lang Greene

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Sky is the Limit for Emerging Boston Celtics

For two straight postseasons, the Boston Celtics have suffered first-round eliminations that have put a damper on otherwise promising campaigns. However, NBA history is littered with plenty of examples of franchise’s arriving on the scene earlier than expected and then having to take their lumps come playoff time.

The Celtics are just paying their dues or the price of admission for aspiring to be great.

The past two campaigns have allowed the Celtics’ young core to essentially learn on the job and their overachieving has allowed the team’s front office to be more calculated in their rebuilding approach. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago the franchise was faced with the prospect of a lengthy rebuild after the departures of Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and head coach Doc Rivers.

Allen has essentially retired while Garnett and Pierce are just shells of their former dominant selves. Rondo had a strong bounce-back campaign but for now, until July at least, he’s stuck on a lottery-bound roster.  But the 48-win Celtics are poised to make a run at Eastern Conference supremacy over the next three years.

In the NBA, there are three ways to improve: via the trade market, the annual draft or free agency. The Celtics are poised and strongly positioned to work all three aspects. The franchise has multiple draft picks, a solid assortment of attractive assets and the ability to create plenty of cap space.

According to Basketball Insiders’ cap expert Eric Pincus, the Celtics are projected to have at least $14.5 million in salary cap space this summer to work free agency. In a best-case scenario, the team could clear upwards of $50 million to bring in addition firepower. The contracts of forwards Amir Johnson ($12 million) and Jonas Jerebko ($5 million) are non-guaranteed for the 2016-17 campaign, which leads us to the trade market.

When it comes to making deals, the Celtics have plenty of assets that could spark interest. The aforementioned Johnson and Jerebko could be prime assets for a team looking to acquire more flexibility in a market where the salary cap is expected to rise in the neighborhood of $92 million.

However, when it comes to draft picks, this is where the team can gain separation by securing organic growth from within.

Boston owns the Brooklyn Nets’ lottery pick, which should be in the top five. The Celtics also own two additional first-round picks (No. 16 from the Dallas Mavericks and No. 23 from the Philadelphia 76ers). The team also owns four second-round picks, giving them additional flexibility to draft-and-stash an asset for future utilization.

Internally, the team will have tough free agency decisions to make from this past season’s roster. Forward Evan Turner earned $3.4 million this past season and showed plenty of potential in spot starts throughout the campaign. Turner will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and while he has publicly stated his desire to remain in Celtics green, the color of money also talks if other teams come calling with more lucrative offers.

Big men Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger will be restricted free agents, assuming the Celtics issue qualifying offers. But issuing both guys a qualifying offer allows the team to sit back and let the market dictate value and then decide whether they want to match any offer (of course, this approach can backfire too).

In an era where franchises become mired in fruitless rebuilding projects that last five years or more, the Celtics have missed the playoffs just once in the past three seasons (2013-14).  The future for the franchise, on paper, is bright but will ultimately come down to how management handles their current leverage.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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Headlines

#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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