Apparently, as it pertains to the Boston Celtics, there is such a thing as having too much talent.
Though the team is considered to be in an enviable situation, with cap space, a deep roster and a top-three pick on the way, agents of certain NBA draft prospects aren’t as high on the asset stable Celtics president Danny Ainge has built.
From ESPN.com’s Chad Ford:
Several agents told me that they were considering holding their clients out of workouts with the Boston Celtics as well. The Celtics currently have the best odds of winning the No. 1 pick, and unlike the Kings, they have one of the most respected front offices and coaching staffs in the league.
The Celtics are loaded with players at every position. The fear is that — much like No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown this year — their clients would have to spend the next few years coming off the bench. That’s not what most top prospects in the draft want. They want a chance to start and lead a franchise right away.
“I have deep respect for the Celtics,” one agent said. “They may have the best GM and head coach in the league. But I’d have to understand what the plan would be for my client before I let them come. They are loaded at every position. There’s a real danger that they take a player and either he plays a limited role of the bench, or he becomes an asset to be traded to a situation that we’re uncomfortable with. It’s tough.”
This is a legitimate concern on some levels. No matter where the Celtics’ pick (via the Brooklyn Nets) ends up, they’ll be trade rumors linking them and the selection to Paul George and/or Jimmy Butler. And with a deal unlikely to be struck before the draft, players could end up being selected by the Celtics only to be dealt before the season or, more inconveniently, ahead of next February’s trade deadline.
If the Celtics do retain whomever they choose, playing time becomes an issue—particularly if Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz ends up in green. Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and Avery Bradley have the backcourt minutes on lock.
At the same time, head coach Brad Stevens and his staff do a terrific job incorporating everyone as much as possible. Plus, Thomas, Bradley, Rozier (extension-eligible in 2018) and Smart will all be due for raises in 2018. If the Celtics draft a guard, there’s a chance they groom them just to cover for the possibility a few of those four aren’t on the team beyond next year.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they don’t have to worry about agents steering free agents away from them. (Truthfully, they don’t have to worry about draft picks either, since the choices don’t really have a say in the matter.) They aren’t going to trade any of the free agents they sign, so this stance won’t apply to their presumed pursuit of established big names over the summer.