Are the Boston Celtics a better team than they were at the beginning of June?
You could argue they are after acquiring big man Kristaps Porzingis, an elite scorer and rim protector who gives Boston a legitimate third star to complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But the Celtics also lost valuable depth when they traded Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies and sent Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks via a sign-and-trade.
While their starting five ranks among the NBA's best, several key rotation players (including Porzingis) come with injury concerns, and the team's current wing depth behind Tatum and Brown consists of Sam Hauser, Oshae Brissett and rookie Jordan Walsh.
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So, are there more moves for the Celtics to make this offseason? Celtics legend and 98.5 The Sports Hub radio analyst Cedric Maxwell believes Brad Stevens isn't done yet.
"Those two guys, how do you replace them? That's going to be a big question," Maxwell said Thursday of Smart and Williams on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, as seen in the video player above. "The only thing I think about: It's still July and the first game isn't until October. Whatever it is ... I just see something big about to happen with this team. And I'm not sure if it's going to be a trade, a move, what it's going to be, but they have to do something.
"If I'm looking at this team right now, Robert Williams has been often injured, Kristaps comes in, often injured, Al Horford, you're playing him every other night. They have to go out and challenge themselves to find somebody who's going to be a consistent player to score the ball and to defend the way that Grant does. That is going to be their major question. ... I think they're going to miss (Williams) more than they believe."
The Celtics lost a good deal of defensive versatility and toughness in Smart and Grant Williams. While he fell out of head coach Joe Mazzulla's rotation during the postseason and averaged just 8.1 points per game during the regular season, Williams still was a stout defender and strong 3-point shooter who contributed to winning. Smart was Boston's best playmaker and starting point guard who played with a tenacious edge that will be missed.
Stevens has amassed a war chest of draft picks that could be used to swing another blockbuster trade, either this summer or during the regular season. The question is who they target; the latest reports suggest they're not pursuing Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, and it's unclear if another impact player of Lillard's caliber would be available this summer.
The Celtics also have about $7 million in cap space before hitting the second apron of the luxury tax, so they could look to add another veteran wing or backup ballhandler in free agency. The way Maxwell sees it, though, Stevens needs to make another significant addition if Boston is serious about raising Banner 18.