The Boston Celtics are in position to add two major star players this offseason with their ability to swing a blockbuster trade and sign a max-level free-agent this offseason. However, Chris Mannix of the Vertical thinks Isaiah Thomas’ 53-point explosion in Game 2 against the Washington Wizards may have already changed the direction of the franchise.

Thomas – the leader of the band

The Celtics are expected to go star-hunting this offseason, regardless of the outcome of their current playoff run. General Manager Danny Ainge has the cap space ($30 million if Kelly Olynyk’s hold of $7.7M and Tyler Zeller’s non-guaranteed deal of $8M are renounced) and the assets in the form of draft picks and young players to make the Celtics even more formidable on paper.

It was widely perceived that Ainge wanted to bring in a superstar-type player to Boston. However, Mannix believes that that was the case before Thomas proved to everybody that he can actually lead a team to the promised land by putting up one of the strongest postseason campaigns from a Celtics player in recent years.

Thomas is averaging 26.3 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 45 percent from the field this postseason. Despite losing his sister to a car accident in April, the former Washington standout continued to persevere and drop huge numbers for a Celtics team that suddenly has a shot at returning to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2012.

Ainge, who has built a reputation as a win-or-go-home executive, understands now that he already possesses a star to build around.

At just under 6-feet, Thomas did not draw much attention when the Celtics traded for him in 2015, mainly because scribes and scouts thought he was just a role player. But the game has certainly changed now. Thomas is a star, and Ainge is hell-bent on adding complimentary stars around him.

Butler, George and Griffin

Speaking of stars, Ainge will have tons of options to add one or two this summer. The Celtics can give their small position an upgrade by trading for Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler or Indiana Pacers’ Paul George, who are both projected to be available on trade market this offseason.

Then, there’s the possibility of acquiring All-Star and All-NBA power forward Blake Griffin through free agency.

All of these are viable options for Ainge. The Celtics executive has received a lot of backlash from critics and fans for not making a major deal at the trade deadline. However, he can easily make himself a darling of Boston media, with one huge offseason acquisition.

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