Even before Boston was eliminated from the postseason in late April, Celtics fans rushed toward their computers and smartphones curious as to what their team should and will do next.

I imagine the hits at ESPN.com from the New England area increased due to three things: the ongoing soul-sucking Deflategate and basketball fans wearing out the Trade Machine and Lottery Mock Draft Generator. Same probably could be said for DraftExpress.com and their fabulous video reviews of prospects.

Fast forward nearly two months later and with just a week before NBA Draft, anticipation and expectations haven’t diminished much. Despite not landing any one of the coveted first two picks, the intriguing possibilities with what Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge will do with the third overall selection, coupled with their seven other picks, have fans counting down the days until the C’s are on the clock.

But as the first chapter of this offseason is soon to get under way, there’s one possibility that hasn’t gotten enough attention: What if the Celtics do virtually nothing in the offseason?

On Monday, Scott Souza of the Metrowest Daily News joined The Adam Jones Show to talk about how patience might be Ainge’s best play.

Via Boston.CBSLocal
“As much as people hate to say this, Ainge has to play the cards dealt to him. At worst, maintain that flexibility going into next year to be able to make a deal,” added Souza. “The one thing you don’t want to do is take the salary cap flexibility and do what Detroit did a few years ago, [signing] Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, tie up that money and you aren’t available to be flexible again.”

Souza isn't the first to suggest this. In his Boston offseason salary cap preview, SI.com writer Nate Duncan on his Dunc'd On podcast talked about how if the Celtics are unable to make a move that has them competing with Cleveland, it's best to not do anything too drastic.
"Unless that trade makes you feel that realistically we got a very good chance at beating the Cavs, I'm not making it," Duncan said. "They have so many of these picks now, you just keep taking swings until you get that superstar. Keep going in the draft and don't trade it away for a mediocre kind of upgrade. And I think it's the same approach as well to all this [cap] space that they have.

"I would want to maintain flexibility. I don't think there is anyone that they can get in free agency this year that I'm like 'oh man, this puts this team over the top.'"

So that begs to question if the Celtics enter next season with a team that looks exactly like it did last year, how would you react?

What if even second-tier free agents like Harrison Barnes and Hassan Whiteside go elsewhere?

Imagine you are sitting on your couch in the middle of February waiting to Mike and Tommy to call the Celtics action, or better yet, imagine you're at the TD Garden sitting in the middle of a sea of green. As you look down on the bench, you see Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss or any number of the prospects who may not be able to contribute right away sitting in warmups for the entire game.

As all of this is happening, imagine Kevin Durant raining terror from South Beach, Jimmy Butler is playing alongside 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year Karl Anthony Towns, and Sixers' forward Ben Simmons and Lakers' forward Brandon Ingram are battling over the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year.

If the Celtics don't make any splashy moves and use their lottery pick on a project, will the long-term view be enough to relieve the disappointment from failed expectations in the short term?

Just the remember, the last time the Celtics had this much flexibility, this man was impatiently running things around here. Any Celtics fan over the age of 21 remembers how that went.

Photo Credit: Mary Schwalm/AP
Photo Credit: Steve Senne/AP
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PatBernadeau

Patrick Bernadeau 6/16/2016 03:14:00 PM Edit
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