Ranking Celtics priorities for 2022 NBA Free Agency | Launderer’s report



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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics have an important summer ahead.

    It might not be loaded, but depending on how this postseason run goes, the Celtics will spend the 2022 NBA offseason either trying to keep a championship team together or chasing the last piece that will propel them to the top.

    The heaviest lifting is already done, as much of this core is already locked in place, but there are some tough decisions to be made. We’ll help you simplify the process by highlighting the top three to-do list priorities.

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Al Horford turns 36 this summer. He helped facilitate a pay cut last offseason. He just averaged his fewest points since his rookie season, which was a decade and a half ago.

    None of these things paint him as a $26.5 million player, do they? But that’s exactly what he could be based on Boston’s handling of his contract.

    Only $14.5 million is guaranteed now, but the guarantee increases to $19.5 million if the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals and becomes fully guaranteed if they win it all, via spotrac. Withdrawing from the unsecured part of the pact seemed like an easy call last summer, but now? It is complicated.

    Horford doesn’t provide stats of $26.5 million, but he fulfills a critical frontcourt role at both ends of the court, not to mention what he offers as a leader. Having him with him also keeps a big payday on the books if Boston sniffs out a successful trade by the next trade deadline. There are reasons to seriously consider bringing him back, even if he will be objectively overpaid.

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    Boston Globe/Getty Images

    When the Celtics reached a deadline deal for Derrick White (spitting out a first-round pick and a future first-round trade in the process), they found the near-perfect complementary role player. He provided both the length and strength to fit their defensive scheme and scratched an itch for another secondary playmaker.

    Where the almost qualifier comes into play, however, is the fact that White is not a knockdown shooter – or anything close to it. He is only 34% from three for his career and has converted 31.2% of his long-term looks this season.

    The Shamrocks need better spacers around the wings of stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Of the 10 Celtics who have attempted more than 100 threes this season, only four have crossed the league average of 35.4: Brown, who creaked at 35.8; Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, who fill supporting roles in the second unit; and Josh Richardson, who was sent to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the white deal.

    Boston desperately needs to increase its accuracy to lift the ceiling on this offense, and hoping Aaron Nesmith regains his form after a brick-filled second season isn’t enough. When the Celtics have reached the bargain in free agency, they have to put a premium on perimeter threats.

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Technically, the Celtics are sending five players in free agency, but even diehard Boston fans would have a hard time putting names to faces with this group.

    Sam Hauser is the Celtics’ closest player to a notable free agent. The 6’8″ swingman, who had his two-way pact converted to a standard NBA contract in February, has logged 158 minutes in 26 games this season.

    In terms of sample size, it’s microscopic.

    Still, it was encouraging to see him cash in on 43.2% of his outside shots, especially given Boston’s aforementioned need for clearance-priced spacers. He holds a $1.6 million team option for next season, by Spotrac, who looks cheap enough to see if his combination of size and marksmanship could make him worthy of a regular rotation role at some point in the near future.