After the Celtics were bounced from the Eastern Conference finals this year, the talent gap between Boston and Cleveland was clear.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge started off a blockbuster summer by trading down in the NBA Draft from No. 1 to No. 3 to select Duke forward Jayson Tatum. He parlayed that momentum into free agency, landing All-Star Gordon Hayward a month before pulling the trigger on a trade that sent All-Star Isaiah Thomas, along with forwards Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick, to the Cavaliers for All-Star Kyrie Irving.
Now, just four players from last year’s roster remain. Here is a look at the timeline of a whirlwind summer that resulted in a vastly different makeup for this Boston team.
Move(s): Drafted four players, starting with former Duke forward Jayson Tatum at third overall. In the second round, Boston added SMU forward Semi Ojeyele, Arizona guard Kadeem Allen, and Cal guard Jabari Bird.
Move(s): Amir Johnson, Gerald Green, James Young, and Jonas Jerebko became unrestricted free agents. Kelly Olynyk became a restricted free agent. Jayson Tatum signed his rookie deal. Johnson went on to sign with Philadelphia and Jerebko with Utah, while Green and Young remain free agents.
What the Celtics gained: Tatum, the third overall pick this year, signed his deal with the Celtics just over a week after the draft. He put up 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists during his only season at Duke. He can score and is versatile on offense and defense.
What the Celtics lost: Johnson signed a one-year, $11 million contract with the 76ers. In two seasons with the Celtics, Johnson started 77 games. He has started 72 or more games for four consecutive seasons. In his 12-year career, including stints with the Raptors and Pistons, he has averaged 7.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Green returned to Boston, where he started his career, and provided a boost for the Celtics when he was inserted into the starting lineup during the playoffs. He averaged 7.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 13 playoff games, including six starts.
Young recorded just 2.3 points and 8.4 minutes over 89 games in three seasons with Boston. He spent this year’s Las Vegas Summer League with the New Orleans Pelicans after treading water with the Celtics for a few seasons.
Jerebko agreed to a two-year, $8.2 million deal with the Jazz. In three years with the Celtics, he averaged 3.8 points in 15.8 minutes per game. The Jazz will be his third team. He spent the first four years of his career with the Pistons before coming to Boston.
Move: Waived center Tyler Zeller.
What the Celtics lost: Zeller was due $8 million this season. The Celtics waived him to help clear cap room in anticipation of landing Gordon Hayward. In three seasons with Boston, Zeller averaged 7.1 points and 4.0 rebounds while logging 15.4 minutes per outing.
Move: Free agent Gordon Hayward announced he will sign with the Celtics. The Celtics renounce Olynyk, making him an unrestricted free agent. A couple days later, Olynyk signed with Miami. And 10 days after agreeing to come to Boston, Hayward made his deal official.
What the Celtics gained: Hayward signed a maximum contract with Boston for four years and $128 million. The final season includes a player option. The addition of the All-Star forward pushed the Celtics to the upper echelon of the league. Hayward, who is 6-8, averaged 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Jazz last season.
What the Celtics lost: Olynyk and the Heat landed on a four-year deal worth more than $50 million. Olynyk, a 7-foot center who can shoot the 3 ball, logged the first four years of his career in Boston. He averaged 9.5 points in 278 regular-season games.
Move: Traded Avery Bradley and a 2019-second round pick to the Detroit Pistons for forward Marcus Morris.
What the Celtics lost: Bradley has one year left on his four-year, $32 million contract, and will earn $8.8 million this season. Morris will earn $5 million this year, freeing up nearly $4 million in cap space for Boston. Bradley spent seven seasons with the Celtics, and saw his workload increase the last four years, averaging 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in that stretch. He was also an outstanding defensive player.
What the Celtics gained: On top of an extra $3.8 million in cap space, Morris provides the Celtics with another solid frontcourt player who has averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game over the last three seasons.
Move: Signed big man Aron Baynes to a one-year deal.
What the Celtics gained: Baynes, the former Spur and Piston, signed a one-year deal with Boston after averaging 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Pistons last season. At 6-10 and 260 pounds, he should fill the role of physical rebounder that the Celtics desperately need.
Move: Waived Jordan Mickey, a 2015 second-round pick. Mickey then signed with the Miami Heat.
What the Celtics lost: Mickey’s deal with the Heat will pay him $1.5 million this season. The 33rd overall pick of the 2015 draft, Mickey averaged 1.4 points and 1.1 rebounds in 41 games over two seasons with the Celtics. After a solid rookie summer league performance, he signed a four-year, $5 million deal with the first two years guaranteed.
Move: Signed forward Abdel Nader, also a 2016 second-round pick.
What the Celtics gained: Nader, who was sidelined for the final three games of the Las Vegas Summer League due to a calf injury, was likely to be invited to training camp, but the club signed him to a guaranteed deal. He spent last season with the Red Claws, earning NBA D-League Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 40 games.
Move: Waived guard Demetrius Jackson, a 2016 second-round pick. Jackson signed a two-way contract with the Houston Rockets.
What the Celtics lost: Jackson, the 45th pick of the 2016 draft, played in just five games for the Celtics last season. For Jackson, $650,000 of his $1.4 million salary this year is guaranteed. He bounced between the Celtics and the Red Claws.
Move: Signed Ojeleye, a second-round pick this year.
What the Celtics gained: The 37th overall pick signed a four-year deal with the first two years guaranteed. Coach Brad Stevens said this summer that the forward could be one of team’s best defenders right away. At SMU last season, he averaged 19.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game in 35 games.
Move: Signed Allen to a two-way contract.
What the Celtics gained: The 53rd overall pick in this year’s draft signed a two-way contract with the Celtics. The former Arizona Wildcat put up 9.8 points and 2.9 assists per game last season while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor.
What the Celtics gained: Larkin signed a one-year deal with Boston. He was the 18th overall pick in 2013, but jumped between the Mavericks, Knicks, and Nets in his first three seasons, averaging 5.8 points and 3.2 assists per game. The 5-11 guard played last year with the Spanish club Baskonia in the Euroleague. He recorded 13.6 points, 5.3 assists, and 3 rebounds per contest.
The Celtics had tracked Theis for nearly six years as he played his way through Europe. Boston brought him into the fold, agreeing to a two-year, minimum-salary deal that would be fully guaranteed in the first season. The Celtics believe this athletic long-range shooter will be able to guard multiple positions.
Yabusele, the 2016 first-round pick, signed his rookie deal with the Celtics this summer after spending part of last season with the Shanghai Sharks and then the Maine Red Claws. A 6-9 big man, Yabusele underwent surgery in May to remove bone spurs from his ankle.
Move: Agreed to sign Bird to a two-way contract.
What the Celtics gained: The 56th overall pick out of Cal led the Bears in scoring last season, averaging 14.3 points per game to go along with 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists.
Move: Traded guard Isaiah Thomas, forwards Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic, and a 2018 first-round draft pick to Cleveland for guard Kyrie Irving.
What the Celtics gained: A prolific scorer, an All-Star, and one of the finest finishers at the rim in the league, Irving has two years left on his contract and is three years younger than Thomas. He averaged 25.2 points and 5.8 assists last season, and poured in 20 or more points in 60 games.
What the Celtics lost: Thomas landed with the Celtics in February 2015 without much made about his addition. However, he grew into an All-Star and the face of the Celtics’ recent rise. But the 28-year-old is entering the last year of his contract, and will demand a max contract in free agency. Thomas averaged 24.7 points and 6.0 assists per game as a Celtic.
Crowder landed in Boston as a part of the Rajon Rondo trade with the Mavericks in December 2014. His gritty play, versatility, and toughness earned him a five-year, $35 million contract in 2015, which is now thought to be a bargain. He put up 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in 202 regular season games with the Celtics.
Zizic, picked 23rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, played in Turkey last season and joined the Celtics’ summer league team in July. He could develop into a dependable rebounder, but he remains an unpolished talent, as was seen in his summer league performance.
The 2018 first-round pick is the last of the four acquired in the trade that sent two of the Big Three — Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — to the Nets.
Corrections: A previous version of this story stated Jabari Bird signed a two-way contract on Aug. 11. A two-way contract was agreed to on Aug. 11, but nothing has been signed. A previous version of this story stated the Big Three was sent to the Nets in a trade. Only two of the three — Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — were traded to the Nets.
Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.