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3 reasons the Boston Celtics won’t be a contender next season

Jarrett Hoffman

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In the days since the NBA’s free agency period officially began, the balance of the league has seen a significant turn. Many of the top teams have made improvements to their rosters in an effort to be better suited for a championship.

One team that has not made such improvements is the Boston Celtics. This offseason has not been a good one Boston, coming off an underwhelming 36-36 record last season and just barely making the playoffs as the seventh seed.

The Celtics could therefore be in for another disappointing year that will see them take another step back from being a championship contender. Here are three reasons why the Boston Celtics will not be a serious factor next season.

Find out whether or not the Celtics will make the postseason in our NBA playoff predictions

Boston Celtics’ offseason has been too quiet

This NBA free agency period has been one of the most exciting in recent memory with a number of game changing acquisitions occurring around the league.

Despite having little to no cap space the Lakers have brought in a surplus of talent trading for Russell Westbrook while also signing Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore and Kendrick Nunn.

The Miami Heat have also had a huge offseason trading for Kyle Lowry while adding PJ Tucker from the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee. Having missed the playoffs each season since 2017, the Chicago Bulls have made great moves to get back to being a competitive playoff team signing DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso.

While these teams are active looking to make moves for top free agents, the Celtics have been noticeably quiet. The only move of note the Celtics have made this offseason is re-acquiring Enes Kanter from the Portland Trail Blazers.

After trading for Kemba Walker and Tristan Thompson as well as losing Evan Fournier and Semi Ojeleye to free agency, the Celtics have done nothing to cover their losses. With many top free agents committed to sign elsewhere, Boston now has to play catch up with competitors who’ve improved.

Find out how the Celtics’ significant roster turnover has impacted their standing in our NBA power rankings

Boston Celtics’ division opponents are being proactive

Boston Celtics' division opponents are being proactive
Jun 1, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Boston Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier (94) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the first quarter of game five of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Not only has the Eastern Conference seen multiple teams upgrade their rosters, the Atlantic division specifically has seen its fair share of upgrades.

The division has seen a number of interesting moves be made that could potentially change the trajectory going into the 2021-2022 season. The Brooklyn Nets made up for the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie by adding former NBA champion Patty Mills and veteran forward James Johnson while re-signing Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown, who were instrumental in their playoff run last season.

The New York Knicks have had one of their best free agency periods in recent memory signing former Celtics Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier while re-signing Derrick Rose and extending the NBA’s reigning Most Improved Player, Julius Randle.

Even the Philadelphia 76ers, who have a big decision to make on Ben Simmons, made up for losing Dwight Howard by acquiring Andre Drummond as a solid backup option for Joel Embiid. The Celtics will have an uphill battle competing against their Atlantic division foes who’ve been active all offseason.

A once-promising young Boston Celtics core hasn’t met the hype

A once-promising young Boston Celtics core hasn't met the hype
Apr 19, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic (9) during the first half at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, the Boston Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for a load of draft picks. Fans and pundits alike praised the organization for building a future that could see them contend for a championship around a team filled with young stars.

The Celtics used those draft picks wisely making smart moves drafting Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum all of whom are franchise cornerstones to this day. As years went by, the Celtics added reliable talent through either free agency or trades around these young stars in an effort to build a team that could contend for years to come.

Find out where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rank in our list of the NBA’s top 50 players

They went on to achieve great things including three Conference Finals appearances in four years (2017, 2018, 2020) with the 2018 Conference Finals seeing them fall one game short of an NBA Finals berth despite playing without then stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward who were both out with injury.

However, as the years have gone by, the Celtics have seen a number of stars come in and out of their organization to the point that they now seem to be back where they started prior to the infamous 2013 trade.

Despite Tatum and Brown proving to be elite players, and Smart being one of the premier perimeter the defenders in the NBA, the Celtics organization has failed to properly use their assets to assemble a true championship contender.

Amid an uncertain transition period as Ime Udoka takes over on the bench for coach-turned-executive Brad Stevens, there isn’t much reason for optimism in Boston right now for the C’s.