There's always been this stigma that the Boston Celtics aren't a prime destination for NBA free agents. There's a myriad of reasons proposed that factor into the claim, and until this past offseason there wasn't much evidence to argue against it. That is until the Celtics signed one of the biggest prizes in the 2016 free-agent class in Al Horford, and possibly ended as the runners up for the biggest name of the bunch. Just this past Monday, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony spoke with Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald and added his own endorsement of why the Celtics are a prime destination:
“I think it’s always been that,” the Knicks star said of the Celtics’ lure. “I mean, when you think about basketball, Boston is one of the top places that you think of...it was just a matter of who was a free agent and if they had the money and the (cap) space here to pay them.”
Now although I like to hear from a superstar that Boston has always been a destination, I would argue that any place in the NBA is only a prime landing spot if the team is competitive. Some say that the Lakers and Knicks are always a top destination for free agents because of the market that they represent, and the possibilities that come from playing in one of those mega-markets. Funny though that neither of those teams were on the list of teams Kevin Durant was interested in meeting with during his rounds this offseason.
Back in 2010 when Lebron James bolted from Cleveland to go play for the Miami Heat, it had everything to do with the opportunity to join his pals Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to win a title, and very little to do with the sunshine down in South Beach. Another factor for Lebron I'm sure was joining an organization that has proven that they can do what it takes to win a championship. Pat Riley had put together a championship team for the Heat just a few years prior in 2006, and it just so happens that the Celtics have an executive in place that has built a winning team in Danny Ainge. Anthony mentioned that he looks at the organization as a whole, not just the players on the team but from the front office to the coach, and he likes what he sees happening in Boston:
“I think they’ve done a great job over the past three or four years of just . . . building,” he said. “They’ve really built this, starting from scratch when they traded (Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett). They rebuilt.
Anthony added, “They got some draft picks and made some trades and got a great coach. I thought their front office did a hell of a job with just figuring that part of the game out. A lot of it comes from that.”
With Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens locked up long-term, a young and improving roster that also carries a pair of stars in Horford and Isaiah Thomas (plus those two Brooklyn picks that are primed to be near the top of the draft), the Celtics should remain a destination for top free agents for the foreseeable future. Ainge has worked hard to build a good team and yet till remain flexible financially to be able to add any player that should become available. However you feel about Anthony as a player, it's at least encouraging to hear from other superstars that they see Boston as a place they'd like to play.
Photo Credit - Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 12/27/2016 12:20:00 PM Tweet Edit