Celtics' 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Finals Loss

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 16, 2022

Celtics' 2022 Free Agents, Targets and Draft Needs After NBA Finals Loss

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    The Boston Celtics' season is over following Thursday's Game 6 NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors.

    The Celtics started the year 25-25 before rolling off 26 wins in their final 32 games to go 51-31 overall and finish second in the Eastern Conference.

    Highlights included the best seasons of Marcus Smart's and Robert Williams III's careers and great performances from All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Boston also received solid contributions from complementary players such as Al Horford, Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, among others.

    The first 50 games may have been ugly, but all in all, it was a good season for the C's under the new leadership of general manager Brad Stevens and head coach Ime Udoka.

    But the Celtics' season is now over, and Boston has to figure out what it will take to get the team over the hump and in possession of another Larry O'Brien Trophy.

    Here's a look at the Celtics' free agents and some potential free-agent targets, as well as where Boston could go in the draft.

Free Agents

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    According to Spotrac, the Celtics have one unrestricted free agent (center Luke Kornet) and a pair of restricted free agents (guard Brodric Thomas and small forward Matt Ryan). The C's also hold club options for small forwards Sam Hauser and Juwan Morgan.

    Hauser played the most from that group, appearing in 26 games. His two-way contract was converted into a standard NBA contract on Feb. 11. He averaged 2.5 points on 46.0 percent shooting (43.2 percent from three) in 6.1 minutes per game.

    Kornet signed a rest-of-season contract with Boston on Feb. 11. He appeared in 12 games, averaging 2.2 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 7.1 minutes per game.

    Thomas also took part in 12 games, posting 1.8 points in 5.0 minutes per game. Morgan and Ryan only appeared in one game apiece for the C's.

Potential Free-Agent Targets

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Celtics already have $155,223,530 committed to the 2022-23 salary cap, according to Spotrac.

    Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 2022-23 NBA salary cap is $122 million, with the luxury-tax level sitting at $149 million.

    So the C's already sit above the luxury tax, meaning their best bet to sign a new free agent will be through the taxpayer mid-level exception.

    Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors projected a first-year salary just above $6 million for the taxpayer MLE in 2022.

    Looking ahead, it could behoove the Celtics to add some frontcourt size. Al Horford is entering the final year of his contract, and Grant Williams is a restricted free agent after the 2022-23 season.

    The Celtics seem well-set at center with Robert Williams III and Daniel Theis down low, but power forward could be a position to watch.

    The well-traveled 33-year-old Thaddeus Young, who has played 15 seasons, could be an option. He averaged 6.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game for the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors.

    Taurean Prince, 28, is also a possibility. He didn't see much playing time in Minnesota, averaging just 17.1 minutes per game off the Timberwolves' bench. But he did shoot an impressive 37.6 percent from three en route to averaging 7.3 points.

    If the Celtics want to bring back an old friend, they can talk to 35-year-old Jeff Green, who played for Boston from 2010 to 2015. He fared quite well for the Denver Nuggets this year, posting 10.3 points on 52.4 percent shooting and 3.1 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game. Green started 63 of 75 games for the playoff-bound Nuggets.

Draft Picks and Potential Targets

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The Celtics only have one second-round draft pick in 2022 after trading their first-rounder to the San Antonio Spurs for guard Derrick White.

    Obviously, Boston could be hard-pressed to find a rotation contributor that far down the draft order, but this year features numerous productive big men/second-round prospects who could make their mark in the Association.

    At No. 53 overall, the Celtics will likely be looking at an international stash option or a G League player who will fight to make the fringes of the roster next season.