In the span of 24 hours, the Boston Celtics beat the Washington Wizards to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals and won the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery thanks to a 2012 trade with the Brooklyn Nets. It was the absolute best-case scenario for the Celtics, as they are in the unique position of being one of the best teams in the league that also gets to add a superstar this summer for next to nothing.
Well, kind of. Yes, Boston is in a great position, one where it can do any number of things that dictate the course of the rest of the draft: it could take someone at No. 1, it could trade down, it could work out a deal revolving around the pick and get a more established player. There are options.
The Celtics also have to do all of this while also considering what Isaiah Thomas‘ future looks like with the franchise. Thomas is one of the best values in basketball right now – he has one more year on his contract worth $6.2 million and was the driving force behind the Celtics having the best record in the Eastern Conference this season.
He is also a 5’9 point guard who is going to turn 30 during the first year of any extension he would sign. To many, Thomas is the kind of guy who you just do not take a chance on, an undersized scoring guard who is a defensive liability and is getting older. To Boston, he was the heart and soul of a spectacular season and the leader of a team that has a pretty bright future, even if its cap situation is a bit tricky – in the next two years, Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, and Kelly Olynyk will all hit free agency, so the franchise will need to pay them. (This, of course, assumes Boston wants all four guys back.)