It’s odd that the Celtics are two wins away from the NBA Finals yet there is still so attention being paid to next year.
Just ‘wait til next year.’ It’s typically a loser’s refrain. Long suffering Red Sox fans know it all too well. Next year we’ll get ’em. You’ll see!
But considering just what this team is accomplishing without it’s two best players (did you know they are playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward?) one can’t help but occasionally drift off into fantasy land imagining what the team will be like when the pair returns healthy next season.
There are some who believe Celtics boss Dany Ainge will have to look to make more moves this offseason but YahooSports Ben Rohrbach disagrees. Rohrbach joined host Adam Kaufman on the Celtics Beat Podcast on the CLNS Media Network and says he would like to see this team at full strength, if only for one season.
“I would do everything I can to keep everyone together for at least next year. This could be a championship level team next year,” Rohrbach said.
Celtics 2-deep NEXT YEAR:
That's 65-70 wins. Oh, and maybe 4 1st round picks in 2019.
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 16, 2018
That’s saying a lot considering the Golden State Warriors will be very much intact against next season. The concern for the Celtics beyond this year is if they don’t move some pieces now they may not be able to down the road.
“You have a chance to keep all these guys, you have them all under control, you can match whatever Marcus Smart (RFA in 2018) gets this offseason,” said Rohrbach. “And then you’ll have the same opportunity with [Terry] Rozier (RFA in 2019) the following year.” I don’t understand letting them go just to think three or four years down the line. They can win the championship next year.”
There is also the matter of Kyrie Irving who has an opt out after next season. The assumption is he exercises it and immediately signs a max deal with the Celtics. But is there any chance he decides to bolt? After all he didn’t necessarily want to come to Boston as much as he wanted to get out of Cleveland and away from LeBron James. Rohrbach doesn’t think that will be the case.
“He (Irving) talked a lot about growing as a basketball player, learning under a guy like Brad Stevens, playing the game a different way where everyone is involved and it’s not just focused on one player,” Rohrbach told Kaufman. “I think it’s more that for him. And if that’s the case why would you be unhappy here?”
“He’ll still be the alpha when he comes back. I don’t see them winning against Golden State in the next round. And he has the opportunity to come back next year and be the guy that gets them over the hump. And he’ll be the savior. He’ll take them to the next level. And that’s everything he would want, right?”