Not too many big name free agents have come to Boston in recent memory. The Al Horford signing last summer was their biggest free agent move since the 1980s. Something about Boston just isn’t as attractive as other big market cities like Los Angeles, New York, Miami, or Chicago. I guess warm weather is a factor in a player’s decision. Now that the Celtics have a top three team in the Eastern Conference that has some young talent. Along with the No. 1 overall pick, and potentially the first pick next year too, Boston is all of a sudden a lucrative spot for free agents.
A combination of Horford and Millsap didn’t work out well in terms of team success, but they had good chemistry. Keep in mind that during their time with the Hawks Horford was not consistent three point shooter that he is today. Adding Millsap would bring some size at the power forward position, as well as a more physical and back-to-basket kind of player unlike guys like Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson. Olynyk was mainly on the perimeter and Amir didn’t want the ball on offense. This also relieves some of the pressure on Horford in the front court. Millsap is a willing passer and has the ability to create shots for his teammates. Defensively, he is tough to score on due to his size and strength. Rebounding is not an issue for him as well. If Boston can get a guy like Millsap that can constantly hit threes and create for himself and others, there would be a more balance attack on offense.
There has been plenty of speculation about Noel going to Boston. Most notably during last years draft where the rumors really heated up. While he isn’t that good of a perimeter scorer, he can go inside the paint and get a bucket. Noel also plays fast paced and the Celtics play fast so that would not be a problem. Defensively, though, is where Noel is needed most if he came to Boston. His defensive tenacity along with his nose for the ball is scary, and the Celtics need a shot blocker like him. He is also a willing rebounder and will grab close to 10 per game. Of course, Noel hasn’t lived up to the hype of the No. 6 overall pick that he was, but he is only 23 and has time to develop. A big if is whether the Celtics would be willing to pay Noel. He is supposedly going to be offered a max contract from many teams around the league, and Danny Ainge is smart enough not to pay a man $150+ million who has messed up knees.
Prying Hayward away from the Utah Jazz is the dream scenario for the Celtics. Adding a player of his caliber on offense to an already explosive attack, that would be dangerous. This move would also take some of the burden off Isaiah Thomas on offense. The most intriguing thing about Hayward coming to Boston is his relationship with Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who he played for during his college years at Butler. Hayward led the Bulldogs to two national championship games. Hayward and Stevens worked great together. If we were able to see part two of this relationship with a better player in Hayward and a better coach in Stevens than their time at Butler, watch out. This seems like a match made in heaven.
The Celtics will have plenty of money to spend this summer and should go hard to get one of these players. Getting them elevates the team to the clear cut second best team in the east, but most likely isn’t enough to oust Cleveland.