With the Celtics opting to not do anything at the NBA's trade deadline, it's time to start speculating about the team's offseason. The team has a ton of cap space with the league salary cap taking a significant jump due to a new TV deal, so Danny Ainge and the Celtics will be able to target some of the bigger-name players on the market.
Some of the names you'll hear are the likes of Al Horford, Kevin Durant, and Dwight Howard. All of those guys will command max deals and will have quite a few potential suitors. Whether the Celtics get one of those guys or not, the team will have to find value elsewhere in the market once those star free agents are off the table.
That's why I would like to propose the idea of bringing Big Al back to Boston.
Before the Celtics built a consistent winner around Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, Boston had a young, up-and-coming center in Al Jefferson. Jefferson was selected by the Celtics with the 15th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft but was shipped off to Minnesota as the centerpiece of the trade that brought Kevin Garnett to Boston in 2007.
Now nearly a decade removed from his departure from Boston, the 31-year-old Jefferson is approaching the end of a contract with the Charlotte Hornets. Jefferson joined the Hornets in 2013 and averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds in his first season with the team. Last season his numbers dropped off just a bit to 17 and 8, but he's seen his production plummet this season, only averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Now, a large part of that is due to injuries, as Jefferson has battled physical woes for much of the 2015-2016 campaign. He also served a suspension, and that combined with the injuries and drop in production led the team to try to package him with other players and trade him at the deadline.
Jefferson has been making upwards of $10 million for quite some time now, but the events of the last season could see that number drop. If Jefferson is able to overcome the injury bug that currently has a hold on him, Big Al could easily return to being a consistent 17 and 10 guy.
The Celtics are going to be huge players in free agency this offseason, and should be able to sign at least a couple of guys. If the dream scenario of landing two stars doesn't play out, Al Jefferson could be a great value guy to pick up. He will likely be had for a good price, he's familiar with the market, and the Celtics desperately need a big man. It just makes too much sense.
By Jacob Young