BOSTON (CBS) — Buckle up, hoop heads. The NBA is about to take over your week.
We’ve known the NBA Draft is coming up on Wednesday for a while now. But now the league is going to cram in as much free agency as possible surrounding the draft, so make sure you’ve got a phone charger handy. It could get pretty wild over the next seven days, especially for Celtics fans.
The NBA’s mad dash to a Dec. 22 tip off starts on Monday, when trades can start to happen in the league. The transaction moratorium ends at noon Eastern and deals can be consummated by teams. That is just the tip of the iceberg for the league.
Tuesday is a big one of for the Celtics, as Gordon Hayward will have to decide if he wants to pick up his $34.1 million player option for next season. There have been numerous rumors surrounding Hayward this offseason, but him opting in or out could be the first domino of the offseason for Boston.
Wednesday’s draft should be interesting enough, with the Celtics looking to use their three first-round picks to do something other than make three first-round picks. It’s a pretty big day for Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office.
On Friday, teams can start talking to free agents (otherwise known as legal tampering) at 6 p.m. There has been plenty of tampering going on anyways, because it’s the NBA and tampering is as much a part of the league as crab dribbles, Euro steps and every other form of traveling that is not called. Free agent signings can’t become official until Sunday at noon, meaning we get a few days of all that tampering goodness for our entertainment.
The Celtics don’t have the cap space to be big players on the free agent market, but Ainge will likely be active on the trade front as he looks to pawn off some of the repetitive parts of Boston’s roster. There’s a big of a logjam at center with Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, Robert Williams III and Vincent Poirier all under contract next season, and Boston potentially adding another young big at the draft. Hayward is the most intriguing trade option should he opt in, with rumors of a potential Celtics-Pacers swap for the Indiana native.
In the end, the 2020-21 Boston Celtics may look a lot like the 2019-20 Boston Celtics with just a few minor moves here and there. But as is the case with Ainge, some big changes could also be coming. The process could begin as early as Monday afternoon.