WASHINGTON • The Golden State Warriors may have regained the National Basketball Association (NBA) title, but the Boston Celtics will be the league's most intriguing team over the next few weeks.
There is momentum behind talks that Boston could send the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 pick plus at least another first rounder. Trading away the ability to draft guard Markelle Fultz - the consensus top player in this draft - is a big move.
Regardless of whether that materialises, the fact remains that they control the fate of this offseason.
Fresh off a trip to the Conference Finals and armed with the No. 1 overall pick and enough salary cap space to lure an All-Star this summer, the Celtics could either shift into a full rebuild, try to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers atop the Eastern Conference or stick with the hybrid approach they have taken for the last two seasons.
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They have the ammunition to chase Indiana Pacers forward Paul George or Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, and can get in the mix next month for free agents such as Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
The Celtics face the impending free agencies of their three top guards - Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart - next summer, meaning this is their best chance to strike it big on the free agent market.
All of this leaves Boston as the team holding the cards this summer, with the potential to change the fortunes of several other teams.