Welcome (once again) to the off-season. I wanted to start with a mailbag and some of you have asked questions (thanks!!!). Of course, many more of you have chosen to make statements, so what do you need me for? Seriously, the comment sections are yours to use as you see fit. So keep doing what you are doing (while respecting each other and being good people).
Still, let’s look at the questions you asked and the answers I tried. Results may vary.
Jeff, you’re on deck. Swing for the fences (Beal or similar) or Bunts and Singles (Shore up Bench)?
You know as well as I do that Brad preaches about dating singles. That’s not to say he won’t try to make solid contact in a hanging turn or stretch a gap single into a double. I may have exhausted all my baseball metaphors there.
The point is that I don’t see a big star trade (partly because of the necessary outgoing salaries) unless there’s a sweetheart deal out there that we just can’t say “no” to.
So let’s address the Bradley Beal-shaped elephant in the room. Yes, he and Tatum have always been best friends. Yes, the topic of making music together has probably come up before. But how does it work in Boston? Just to get the salaries you either have to start with Jaylen Brown (plus another mid-level salary) or you have to start with Al Horford and add even more salary. I currently see Jaylen Brown as more valuable than Beal (who hasn’t proven he can even play defense) and I don’t want to break the core that just went into the finals anyway.
Rather, if you start with a pack that includes Al Horford and future picks, I think another interested team could outbid us fairly easily. The only way this could happen (as Dangercart et al have pointed out repeatedly) is for Beal to specifically request a trade to Boston and only re-sign with Boston (and perhaps a few other unrealistic teams).
Conclusion: I understand why this topic keeps coming up. However, the situation hasn’t changed much from all the other times we haven’t traded for him. So I don’t see it happening.
Beal aside, Brad Stevens could decide we’re a moderate step away from starting next year as the team to beat. I don’t have any names in mind (yet), but I’m thinking of a solid regular player who could come off the bench if necessary.
The Basketball Whisperer
What is the possibility of Stevens reuniting with Ainge and taking the Utah Jazz job?
Again, I understand why the question was raised (Marc Stein even brought it up and immediately shot it down). Stevens was only 1 year away from coaching, only did the POBO thing for 1 year and has had very good results so far (though not the ultimate prize yet). I’d be shocked if he didn’t give this at least a few more years.
Questions for you:
1. Nik Stauskas, Brodric Thomas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, Luke Kornet… bye?
Not at all. At least not yet. Bring as many of them back to camp that want to be there. If we can add better options deep on the bench, some of them will be trimmed or let go in some way. But one or more of them could be one of those diamonds in the rough that we see popping up from time to time.
2. Will they consistently give Nesmith meaningful minutes of play to give him a chance to develop? Or is he no longer in the future plan?
I think we’ll know more about that when we see if they pick up his rookie option or not. If so, then they clearly think it has value (either to us or in a trade). If not, then you could see him either play out the year as an upcoming free agent or get dumped in some sort of trade.
Personally, I draw for him, but I’ll admit that early results were far from encouraging.
3. Will Brad go against the guy and try to pick another pick in Thursday’s draft, or move up? Or will he follow his past tendencies and either stay at #53 or even swap places?
I think the focus will be on expanding the core in a way that gives us a chance to win the title next season. Beginners don’t often move the needle in this regard, so I wouldn’t expect him to be aggressive when trying to get into the first round. Unless, of course, it’s a bridge deal to add a pick to a trade that brings back an Impact player. But you never know
4. Will any of these legendary TPEs ever be real?
If ever there was a chance to use it, it’s now. The team doesn’t have many different ways to add talent (no first round, no cap room) so using a TPE in a trade would be a pretty easy way to do that.
This would put this team in deep tax, but the ownership group has typed the tax for another season this year and has said it would pay the tax for a competitor. Maybe it’s time to make good on that promise.
I want to allow a warning: Brad won’t (and shouldn’t) use the TPE just to add a guy to do it. Fit has to be important and it has to be the right offer. Otherwise, you could put the team in a difficult position for years to come.
5. We need both center and power forward backups that are better (in terms of talent and fit) than what’s possible in our current roster…how do we get them?
In theory, backup bigs are always available. The theory goes that you either pay the superstars (Embiid, Jokic) big bucks or just fill out the list of inexpensive options. None of the low-cost options will be a perfect fit, but neither will the expensive mid-range types. So why not roll the cheaper option and spend your cap space elsewhere?
Search for vetmin boys in boston for a long look. With Horford aging and Rob Williams an injury risk, there’s at least one regular-season role that could expand if the right one comes along.
6. What role will Daniel Theis play in the future?
Daniel is what he is at this point. A decent option as a large backup (if a bit pricey – see above). It could also be a salary filler in a trade.
7. Can we find free agents superior to Tristan Thompson/Jeff Teague/Enes Kanter signings?
Again, I really hope so. For one thing, we were just in the finals, so Ringjäger veterans will at least get a longer look at the Celtics this year. Here, too, there are clearly opportunities. On the other hand, the Celtics can’t compete for the best free agents with the money they have to spend. So it may take some time for this to have an effect.
8. Will Sam Hauser find success with the Celtics or does he have to go elsewhere to find him?
He could absolutely find a role in the team going forward. With a strong performance in the Summer League and in training camp, he should definitely be on the list for a chance to earn a rotation spot. The guy can shoot at full power and if he can add anything on the pitch then he’ll get a chance.
Here are two to work with:
1.) If you see Marcus Smart as the player he was this season, do you think he can reach another level offensively and game-wise? Or do you think the Celtics would consider selling him high since we have Derrick White who is about 85% of what Smart gives?
Good question. I would have been more on board with the 85 percent plan if the team continued to struggle like they did at the start of the season. That was part of the beauty of this trade – it worked in every direction the team went.
However, given the success the team has had, which was based in large part on the defensive identity that Marcus was a big part of, I don’t see the team moving away from him.
Of course he has his limits, we all know them by heart by now. But the positives far outweigh the negatives in my opinion and it will be up to Ime and his teammates to get the best out of him on offense next season.
2.) Do you see Kyle Kuzma as an acceptable player and how would he fit into the Celtics?
Yes I want this to happen just so one of the Celtics beat writers can ask Kuzma about that Lakers graphic from back in the day.
Thanks to all!