The Boston Celtics have been a talented team in the NBA for years, but they have struggled to capture the ultimate prize of a championship. Despite making deep playoff runs and reaching the Finals, the Celtics have come up short in their quest to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
In the previous season, the Celtics were once again left devastated as they witnessed the Golden State Warriors celebrate a championship victory on their home court at the TD Garden. This year, it was the Miami Heat who dashed their hopes of reaching the Finals for the second time in four years. The Celtics, who had a chance to make history by winning a seven-game series after trailing 0-2, fell just short.
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum expressed the team’s disappointment, acknowledging that they had a special opportunity but came up a little bit short. He emphasized that the team possesses the talent to compete at the highest level and is capable of winning a championship.
Indeed, the Celtics have been one of the most successful teams in recent years. Since the 2013-2014 season, they have won more playoff games than every team except for the Warriors and more regular-season games than all but the Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Their success has been the result of several deep postseason runs, including four conference finals appearances and one trip to the Finals.
However, despite their consistent success, the Celtics have not been able to seal the deal and win a championship. They hold the unenviable record of appearing in the most playoff games over a seven-season span without claiming the ultimate prize. This has created a sense of urgency within the organization to change their fate.
To address this, the Celtics made significant moves during the offseason. They acquired stretch big man Kristaps Porzingis in a three-team trade that also saw Marcus Smart, a former Defensive Player of the Year and the team’s longest-tenured player, sent to the Memphis Grizzlies. Additionally, they secured Jrue Holiday from the Portland Trail Blazers, who had just been acquired by the Blazers as part of a deal for Damian Lillard.
These moves have given the Celtics a top-six rotation with elite floor spacing on offense and defensive prowess. The team now boasts unparalleled flexibility at both ends of the court, providing them with alternative options in late-game situations. The hope is that these acquisitions will help propel the Celtics to championship contention.
However, the Celtics are aware that time is of the essence. The league’s new collective bargaining agreement has imposed restrictions on teams at the top end of the spending scale, such as the Celtics. The introduction of the second apron above the luxury tax serves as a deterrent for teams looking to exceed the tax threshold. This rule aims to prevent teams from consistently remaining at the top without making difficult choices.
Celtics president of basketball operations, Brad Stevens, acknowledges the challenges posed by the new CBA and stated that the team has been discussing and preparing for the scenarios that lie ahead. One of the critical factors they need to consider is how to manage the team’s finances once the supermax extensions for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum kick in, beginning with the 2022-2023 season.
Brown recently signed the richest deal in NBA history, and Tatum is on track to sign an even bigger deal next year. These financial commitments will significantly impact the team’s ability to make further moves and build a championship-caliber roster around their star players.
With the clock ticking on their financial flexibility, the Celtics are focused on their pursuit of a championship. The team understands the window of opportunity is now, and they are determined to turn their potential into tangible success. The combination of talent, strategic acquisitions, and a sense of urgency has positioned the Celtics to make a serious run at the title. Only time will tell if they can overcome their recent heartbreak and bring home the championship that has eluded them for years.