When the 2021-22 season gets underway in October, it will be the 76th season of the NBA to have taken place. And after a turbulent season last year due to the impact of COVID-19, we return to a full 30 team, 82 game schedule that fans will be looking forward to more than ever. Because after witnessing many games last season with empty crowds, fans are finally being allowed back in arenas, with new safety measures put in place.
But how are the Boston Celtics looking ahead of the new season? Well, we’re not entirely sure yet, because preseason games haven’t begun to allow us to check out team chemistry and performances. But we can assess the changes that have happened to the Celtics’ roster, and what other changes could be just around the corner.
So far, the Celtics have extended the contracts of three key players; Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Josh Richardson. This is key for the Celtics’ who have secured the talents of the three players, but will also be welcome news for the players too, who are looking for added financial stability following the turbulent past season following the impact that COVID-19 had.
Of the three, Smart and Williams, alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are two of their four key players for the Celtics, all of whom tend to start most of the games. So their extensions made some sense. Whereas Richardson is more of a surprise extension, having only just signed from the Dallas Mavericks back on 30th July.
It may be a surprise to some fans that Richardson chose to extend his new contract so early, but it now means over the next two seasons, he will earn around $24 million. So in reality, it was a smart move that as we mentioned above, gives the player some better financial security. But it’s also good for the team, because if he does become the Celtics’ fifth starter, they have some serious stability to work and improve over the next two seasons to be able to challenge for the NBA championship.
There are always rumours circulating around a number of NBA teams at this time of the season, but there is one in particular that is gaining heat in regards to the Celtics. That’s because in a recent appearance by Tatum at a charity softball game, he was seen photographed with a few different players.
Of those players, one was the Celtics legend Paul Pierce, in addition to Trevor Ariza who was just signed by the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. The other player in the picture you can see below was Harry Giles, another free agent who happened to be an old college teammate of Tatum. Which of course then sent the rumour mill into overdrive, and had fans asking the question, could the Celtics sign Tatum’s friend on a free for the upcoming season?
Looks like Jayson Tatum and Paul Pierce recently spent some time together at a charity softball game.
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) August 26, 2021
The possible impact
With the core team the same as the last season, the chemistry will already be there and player’s will know each other well. The main change to the roster is the introduction of Richardson, who is unknown yet as to whether he’ll be a starting player or be an impact player who comes off the bench. Although with him already extending his contract, we suspect the coaching staff have big plans for him.
Now, he had a great start to his career at Miami Heat, before moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Mavericks. Sadly, he didn’t take his form from the Heat with him, hence why he has been bouncing around a few teams and now ends up at the Boston Celtics. But, even without fulfilling his full potential, Richardson makes a good addition to the squad who last season didn’t really have the players on the bench who could come on and have an impact.
They relied heavily on youthful talent and players who just didn’t perform. Meaning that when injuries occurred, or the main stars needed a break, no one was stepping up to fill in the gaps. Or at least those that were, didn’t perform to the same level. Now, they have a player who could potentially help the Celtics out by giving them more quality in depth.
If he can pick up his previous best form from his days with the Heat, and with the talents that the Celtics already have, they could well challenge for places in the playoffs this season. But they may need some more additions in order to add depth to the squad too. And with Giles being free, and having already played with one of the main stars in the current Celtic lineup, it would be a smart move for Boston to put the feelers out to see if he would join their roster.