By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Celtics may be in the same spot that the Nets were when the C’s sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce their way in 2013.
That may be hard to swallow for Celtics fans, but it appears that this offseason may call for Danny Ainge to explore the restricted free agent market and attempt to sign RFAs to offer sheets, like the Nets have tried with little success in recent years. Brooklyn notably signed guard Allen Crabbe to an offer sheet in 2017, forcing the Blazers to match the offer then trade him to the Nets for Andrew Nicholson.
Other than that, though, the Nets have failed multiple times to bring aboard an RFA on an offer sheet. So Danny Ainge could attempt to reel someone in off the restricted market. Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon is reportedly one of those potential additions.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Keith Smith, Brogdon is one of three specific RFAs with “chatter building” as a potential target for the Celtics. Big man Thomas Bryant and guard Tomas Satoransky of the Washington Wizards are the other names mentioned.
Unfortunately for Ainge, he probably needs to overpay for Brogdon’s services in order to pry him from the Bucks. He’d need to offer Brogdon enough to make it hurt for Milwaukee to match the offer sheet. He could go the “poison pill” route and back-load his annual salaries in a four-year deal, which if matched would count against the Bucks’ salary caps.
The Nets infamously poison pill’d an offer sheet to point guard Tyler Johnson in 2016, which the Heat matched before ultimately trading him to the Suns in February. If Ainge wants to make life tough on Bucks GM Jon Horst, he could do something similar with Brogdon.
Such a deal would still be likely to carry a massive AAV for a good-but-not-great player. Brogdon would essentially become the point guard version of Al Horford. But there’s no doubting the value he’d bring to the team with his efficiency, defense, and versatility.
The Celtics can create over $34 million in cap space by renouncing the rights to their own RFAs (Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, Brad Wanamaker), which should be more than enough to make a competitive offer to Brogdon. In theory they can afford to overpay someone with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (combined $14.3 million) leading the team, and Gordon Hayward on the books for just two more years at $32 and $34 million. But the thought of Brogdon hanging over the Celtics’ cap for an exorbitant price three years from now is not particularly pleasant.
Far from an ideal situation for Ainge. But if he wants to add another player with even a serviceable impact as a starter over the next 2-4 seasons, he may need to explore diving in on Brogdon.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.