Ainge realized there would be major changes to this list, even if the Celtics won the title. Marcus Morris is a free agent looking for a last big payday. Terry Rozier is a restricted free agent, as are Daniel Theis and Brad Wanamaker.
And, of course, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford have the option of opting for the last year of their contracts and becoming free agents. Irving will certainly do it. Horford, who will earn $ 30 million next season, could agree to a longer but more salary-friendly agreement.
Much of what the Celtics do in free agency will depend on Irving's decision. His departure does not necessarily give the club enough money to pursue a maximum free agent, but they will need a point guard and that is where the list remodel begins.
It is time to move on from Rozier, who made it known that, after Wednesday's defeat, he is ready for a new environment, in which he feels most appreciated. Rozier has not proven he's ready to be a bona fide incumbent and shot 32.2 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from the three-point line in the playoffs.
If Irving leaves, the objective will be to attract a starting point guard, one that can distribute and also maintain the honest defenses with the external shots. The free agent market for top-level owners is limited, unless the Celtics are willing to offer a maximum or near maximum contract to Kemba Walker, for example.
The likely scenario for the Celtics is to acquire a shipowner through the trade or add a quality backup, such as Cory Joseph of Indiana or Elfrid Payton of Phoenix, who would be used to that role.
The Celtics should try to re-sign Morris. His two years in Boston were a great success. He gave strength to the team, conscience and a reliable external shooter. He went through his share of falls, but he was the best player on the floor during the playoffs.
Morris is approaching 30, but he did not play much in his first two seasons in the NBA and has lasted his entire career, playing at least 75 games in five of the past six seasons. Morris' agent is Rich Paul, who also represents LeBron James and Ben Simmons. Morris will seek a considerable increase of the $ 5 million he earned in the last year of his deal, so bringing him back can be difficult.
The good news for the Celtics in terms of their list is their control over potential cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Brown is eligible for a contract extension that would not start until next year. Now, both could be used for a potential exchange for the outstanding pelican Anthony Davis, but circumstances have changed since Davis made his commercial demand.
The pelicans hired veteran executive David Griffin as their general manager and he promised to try to keep Davis in New Orleans. What kind of package would you request for Davis? And would Davis even consider re-signing with the Celtics after his contract expires next season? And is the writing of Davis a gesture strong enough to encourage Irving to re-sign?
Much of the offseason activity and the intentions of the Celtics depend on Irving's decision. If he returns, the Celtics have their point guard for the next half decade and need to improve the pieces around him while Tatum and Brown become stars.
As for Gordon Hayward, it is safe to badume that the Celtics have no idea what they will get from him next season. He has two years of contract remaining, the final year is a player option, so essentially the Celtics are relegated to allowing Hayward to try to transform back into the Star form because their exchange value is low.
The Celtics do not necessarily want to get rid of Hayward, but from now on there's a problem with their role and if they can start, and the team probably will not know until October.
The only aspect related to the squad this season was the number of players that were not used, such as Wanamaker and rookie Robert Williams. The Celtics selected Williams as the protector of the future tire, but eventually their role will have to expand.
And the club could have up to four first-round picks, depending on the draft lottery on Tuesday. The Celtics do not need all those selections, but they definitely would not mind scoring in a young guard or a great man.
There is a scenario in which the Celtics could have six or seven new players according to the draft, the decision of Irving and whether Morris, Rozier, Theis and Wanamaker will be able to walk. But what was evident in the playoffs was that there are definitely necessary changes. The Celtics can not keep the same list and expect different results.