A lot of people might be turned off regarding this move because of some questionable actions in his past, but using a mid-level exception to sign ten year veteran Nick Young could wind up being a solid play for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics.
The dream scenario right now for the Celtics is signing Gordon Hayward and trading for Paul George, hoping that he will stick around past the end of his contract because of the good situation you’ve dropped him into. Those two players give you two more big contracts along with Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas is entering a contract year where he’ll make just $6.3 million, so clearly he’s in line for a massive pay raise.
Your roster will be stripped. The Celtics won’t be able to afford restricted free agent Kelly Olynyk or unrestricted free agent Amir Johnson, those guys will simply command a price tag too large for Boston to keep on. This team currently has two attractive assets in Ante Zizic and Guerchon Yabusele, but you’d need to sign them to their first round entry level deals and only one of them might wind up fitting under the cap with all the money they’ll be bringing in. They’ll have to turn down Tyler Zeller’s $8 million team option for next season and things still get tougher after that.
Two of Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder have to go; probably both in any trade to acquire Paul George. While this would be massively overpaying the Indiana Pacers compared to what the Minnesota Timberwolves had to give up for Jimmy Butler, you might as well toss them in a trade because you can’t keep them anyway.
In the end, your roster will look along the lines of something like this: Horford, George, Hayward, Thomas, Smart, Zizic, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye and a bunch of guys on minimum contracts. Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson likely have to go too as they are the two highest paid second round picks of all time, essentially making first round money.
But the Celtics will have room to slip one player in on a mid-level exception and that’s where Young comes in.
Young will be a perfect fit for the system that head coach Brad Stevens has put in place. Stevens has assembled a team that will fire at will from beyond the arc, even if that player – such as Marcus Smart or Evan Turner – is a sub 30% three point shooter. This suddenly becomes a huge need if you do lose both Bradley and Crowder in the offseason, because they were the team’s two best three point men last season and it was by a pretty sizable margin too.
The Celtics bench would really receive a boost by adding Young, a guy who averaged 13.2 PPG for the Los Angeles Lakers last season while shooting over 40% from beyond the arc; both Bradley and Crowder shot a fraction below 40% last season.
Keep in mind that Boston has the perfect guy in charge when it comes to plugging the backend of his roster. Ainge had to do a massive roster shuffle back in the summer of 2007 after trading Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and a number of draft picks just to get three players in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Glen Davis; the last guy on that list was a total throw in from the Seattle SuperSonics. He came out with 2008’s key sixth man in James Posey on a similar deal to what a guy like Young will be getting along with low cost veterans Eddie House and Scot Pollard, who both gave the team some solid regular season minutes before each taking backseats during the playoffs.