Celtics report card: Hard decisions ahead for 2021

Mike Zarren, the Celtics’ assistant general manager, may actually get his wish this fall.

Zarren was one of the earliest advocates of holding free agency before the draft – simple and logical from a need perspective – and with plans still up in the air for when to open the marketplace, it could very well happen. The Celtics, with three more first round picks this year, would appreciate any wrinkle that adds value to their collection.

But everything – the dates for when players can pick up options on contracts, free agency, the start of the 2020-21 season – is on the table as the league and players association continue to negotiate specifics.

Let’s just say that the massively successful operation in the Orlando bubble has pushed back all other business.

The salary cap’s next level is also part of negotiations. And for a Celtics team that has some clear areas of need – you can never have enough shooting – it would be nice to know what cap number to aim for when trying to bring in help.

And yes, despite reaching the conference finals for the third time in four years, the Celtics are in for some augmentation.

Jaylen Brown (four years, $107 million remaining, playoff grade B-plus) – Brown signed his extension last fall in an obvious first step to the expected signing of Tatum to a super max contract this fall. It’s rare for a team…

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