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The Boston Celtics could have moved several steps closer to the NBA championship this summer.
That’s a scary thought considering this club ended their 2021-22 campaign after just two world title wins.
Malcolm Brogdon has to scratch the itch in the playmaking while also boosting the backcourt with more scoring, shooting and defensive versatility. Danilo Gallinari adds a new dimension as a 6’10” striker with a fiery outside shot.
Collectively, the Shamrocks have done well for themselves, but with free agency effectively ending, who are the biggest winners and losers in Boston?
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After spending the past two seasons helping the Atlanta Hawks in back-to-back playoffs, Danilo Gallinari has been unceremoniously dumped on rebuilding the San Antonio Spurs in a Dejaunt Murray deal.
For Gallinari, who will soon turn 34 in the ninth place of his career, he made a clear appearance out of the water at the Alamo. But that was short-lived, as Spurs later ceded him, and the Celtics cleverly snatched him away.
In just under two weeks, he had gone from a decent Eastern Conference team to the bottom leader of the Western Conference and finally to the Eastern Conference champion. Not bad, right?
He is getting better. In Boston, he might find a more open look able to play on the likes of Brogdon, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Not to mention that the Celtics have the quality and quantity of stoppers needed to mask Gallinari’s defensive limitations.
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After seeing his time on the floor shrink when he was a sophomore and dragging most of his stat classes with him, Payton Pritchard entered the off-season with a simple goal in mind.
“My first goal is to find consistent minutes each night and gain confidence that I can be there 20 minutes or more per night without fluctuations,” Reporters.
Unfortunately for Pritchard, Boston’s backcountry looks as deep as ever. All three external triggers—Brown, Tatum and Marcus Smart—are still there. So is the deadline acquisition of Derek White, as well as the aforementioned Malcolm Brugdon. Even second-placed J.D. Davison scored a two-way deal and could carve out a small niche thanks to his explosive athletic style.
Where does all this leave Pritchard? Certainly not in a better position (in terms of rotation) than last season and arguably in a worse place. Although consistent minutes might help him produce a more consistent effect, Boston simply has many better options waiting for him to make that happen.
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Sam Houser, who was not drafted last summer, secured a two-way deal from the Celtics and eventually saw the contract converted into a record contract for the remainder of the season.
And while that was encouraging, it didn’t guarantee anything after the campaign ended. Boston took care of him this season by extending a three-year, $5.7 million contract with a full first two-year warranty, per crook.
Now, by NBA standards, that might not be a huge amount, but it’s a decent amount of safety considering where Hauser has come from over the past year. He’ll have to earn that (and ideally a new deal) obviously, but at least he’ll have a chance.
If he can prove to be a reliable defender, he has a realistic shot to work his way into the spin. The Celtics are deep everywhere except for the little forward, where Hauser spent 57 percent From his record as a rookie, as per Basketball reference.