Looks like the “fireworks” had already happened, well before the NBA draft last night. The Boston Celtics made all their draft picks, so no wild trades occurred. Well, they kind of made all of their draft picks. They moved around a bit. No big whoop…they still took 4 players.
Doesn’t mean “Trader Danny” won’t pull something a little more major off in the coming days, but it doesn’t guarantee he will either.
So what are we looking at? Who the hell knows really?
The big news really happened over the last several days. Kyrie Irving opted out of his contract, which we knew was coming. Al Horford then opted out of his contract…which we didn’t necessarily see coming. I mean, who is passing up 30 mil plus when they are a 33-year-old “big man” who had to be managed because of a bad knee (or two?). Welp, apparently Big Al is.
There were rumors the C’s were trying to turn that 1 year, 30 mil deal for Al into something along the lines of 3 for, I don’t know, 15-20 per. But apparently, it will turn out some other team will give him 4 years for 25ish per. Seems surprising. But I guess that’s what is happening.
Marcus Morris is also an unrestricted free agent, as are the 2 “G-League” guys if that matters. Not to mention that there are 4 restricted free agents on the roster, led by backup point guard Terry Rozier. If they all leave, that leaves 12 guys on the current roster, if you include the 4 draft picks from last evening. Which I am not sure I want to be doing now. But I will for the purposes of this exercise.
What is “this exercise”? Well, since I have no idea who Danny Ainge may be targeting in free agency when that opens up within a couple of weeks, nor do I know who he may go after in trades, I think the best thing we can do here is take the 17 bodies from last years’ roster and the 4 draft picks and talk about what we think the plan is with each. Plus perhaps what I would do, for whatever that’s worth.
I mean, Wyc Grousbeck, the “Lead Owner” of the Boston Celtics, said a couple of weeks ago on local talk radio something like “we are going to look at all the players on the roster and see who stays and who goes…”
So let’s do that right now…since…I’m just as smart as Wyc, right? RIGHT??!!
Haha…let’s move on, starting with the bottom of the roster. Why? Because of the off chance someone will read about them. If we start with the stars, will anyone read until the end? Wait, is anyone reading anyway?
Draft picks–Romeo Langford (#14), Grant Williams (#22), Carsen Edwards (#33), Tremont Waters (#51)–A shooting guard that shot a mere 27% from three-point land (going to a team that shoots too many threes already); a “small” power forward whose selection elicited a notable ‘wow’ type of response from one of the analysts (that probably wasn’t meant to be picked up by the microphones); a big-time scorer, but one that is undersized and a “small” point guard (“small” was emphasized three times right after the pick). Consider me underwhelmed.
PJ Dozier/R.J. Hunter (Unrestricted Free Agents)– Here are your two G-League free agents. Do you care? Probably not. I really don’t. But you all should know that Hunter averaged 17 points a game for the Celtics last year. Betcha didn’t know that! Ok, he played one game that didn’t mean anything and scored that 17. But still, “PPG” says “17.0” on the stat sheet. No one can ever take that away from him. So there’s that.
Jonathan Gibson (Restricted Free Agent)–This dude will be 32 in November. And has played 21 career games in the NBA. 17 for the Dallas Mavericks in 2016-17 and 4 for the C’s in 2017-18. Signed again with the Celts in mid-April 2019 and was on the roster for the playoffs, but didn’t play. All of that is so you know who this guy is. That being said, I’ve seen some of his garbage time minutes. This cat can really shoot! Could do worse for a 15th man. But I’d be surprised to see him back…until April anyway.
Robert Williams–Yup, the Celtics first-round draft pick from last year was actually the 14th man on the roster and a regular inactive when everyone was healthy last season. Seemed odd, when he had at least one skill (shot blocking) that would have been useful in certain game situations, whereas some other players that suited up seemingly had none. Whatever. Unless he gets traded this summer, hopefully, there will be some minutes available for him in 2019-20. I’d like to see more.
Brad Wanamaker (Restricted Free Agent)–A third point guard is nice. And the Cs will have one next year. Will it be Brad? I don’t know. Maybe Shane Larkin will come back. Or the second rounder from above. Does it matter?
Guerschon Yabusele–The Dancing Bear!! The 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Yabu has given the Cs 74 games at 6.6 minutes per game for 2.3 points per game in 2 years. Seems solid for that draft slot…sigh… Now he’s on the books for over 3 million next year, does he somehow earn more minutes this season? Let’s hope not. And also hope Danny can include his salary in a trade for something more useful.
Semi Ojeleye–I’ve never understood the “Shemi” infatuation. Coach Brad Stevens always seems to shoehorn him in every night. “Cuz he always guards Giannis well”, they will say. Ok. But what about everyone else? I do see his minutes per game went down from 16 his rookie year to 11 in his second. Didn’t realize that. Only on the books for 1.6 next year, so I imagine he will be on the squad. Let’s just hope his minutes don’t spike into the 20s based on the lack of other bodies available.
Daniel Theis (Restricted Free Agent)–I love this guy. Is it rational? Probably not. He plays less than 15 minutes per game. And probably is a 20 minute per guy max. And shoots more threes than I like (although that’s what this team does…and he did actually hit 39% on them last year, surprisingly enough). But he’s always flying around, rebounds well (which you know I love, or maybe you don’t know…but I love rebounders) and there is just something about him. Hard to say what will happen to him. He may get an offer sheet that the Celtics don’t match. His rights may have to get renounced because the Cs go after a bigger fish. No idea. Would love to see him back, I think that goes without saying.
Aron Baynes–As opposed to Theis, I cannot stand this guy. Is THIS rational? Probably not. Why do I hate him? Loves to rebound with one arm for one. Seems silly…along with that stupid hairdo. He opted in last week, but now reports are they have shipped him to Phoenix. For his well over 5 million dollar salary let’s hope that is accurate. Along with many other reasons. Williams should be able to do what he does for a fraction of the cost. I just never understood this infatuation either.
Terry Rozier (Restricted Free Agent)–Since the starter at point guard appears to be gone (more on that later of course), many people think that the team should re-sign “Scary Terry” to a significant deal. I am not sure I am one of those people. Actually, I am not. This guy is a borderline Hall of Famer, just ask him. Rozier is a decent player, but nothing more. I will ALWAYS maintain that. Sure he has played well in some starts. But he has also been putrid in some starts. Then he goes off on the team after last season ended. I say he should take his attitude elsewhere. Let some other team overpay for this headache. Even if that leaves the Celtics without their top 2 point guards next year.
Marcus Morris (Unrestricted Free Agent)–I give this guy a lot of credit. He’s a notorious hothead. With the complete dysfunction in the Celtics locker room last year, one would figure he would be right in the middle of it. Amazingly enough, we rarely heard a peep from him. Seems surprising. And, for good measure, he may have been their best player in the first half of the season. Second half…not so much. I’d take him back actually. But not at the dollars he will likely command. I’m not talking a max contract guy, mind you. But he will want to be paid. I wouldn’t do that here.
Gordon Hayward–Time to sh&t or get off the pot Gordo. In all fairness, yeah, a season lost to a gruesome injury then another season pretty much trying to work his way back. Much to the chagrin of it would seem to all of his teammates, who did not like Coach Brad taking their minutes and force-feeding them to Hayward to try and get him back on course. Nah, no selfishness there (Terry?). In any event, he ain’t going anywhere, so let’s hope the second year back from that injury does the trick.
Marcus Smart–I like this guy. His overall game anyway. His defense. His hustle. He seems to care. Do I love him at 13 million per? Not particularly. But that’s the price these days I guess. He really, really, REALLY needs to stop shooting as much as he does. Though sometimes those shots do drop in key moments. Unless his salary needs to be included in a trade, it would seem he is here for the long haul. That’s not entirely a bad thing. But let’s hope he isn’t one of the top players on the roster come the onset of next season.
Al Horford (Unrestricted Free Agent)–As referenced earlier, really surprised that Al is going to be gone. He was never a max contract player, though the Cs gave him one. That being said, we think this helped attract players during the teams latest incarnation. A very good, solid, if unspectacular, player and we should appreciate his contributions to the team over his tenure here. That also being said, if those numbers on proposed contracts are accurate, let’s also make sure we wish him well at his next stop.
Jaylen Brown–Recent reports are out and are trying to make Brown out to be one of the huge problems in the Celtic locker room. It’s entirely possible, as we know there was a problem between the young guys and the veterans. Wouldn’t shock me anyway. Brown is another one of the kids that thinks he’s better than he is. But he’s way better than Rozier. And he’s worth keeping around to see if he can take that next step while presumably getting more than 30 minutes per game. The skills appear to be there. He will be entering his 4th NBA season. Let’s see if that huge jump comes next season.
Jayson Tatum–Seemed to me that Tatum didn’t make much of a step up this year for whatever reason. But then I looked at his numbers and they were up all across the board…other than shooting percentage. Must have been the ho-hum season of the team that made me think that there was no growth. Tatum will be entering his 3rd NBA season and it seems at this point the best move is to build around him and Brown and maybe another third young guy…if they can actually attract one. Ainge may alter that plan with some moves come July. But that’s the way I’m leaning for sure.
Kyrie Irving (Unrestricted Free Agent)–I don’t even feel like talking about this guy. A great, great, great player. But undeniably not a leader. It is assumed he is leaving, possibly (probably?) to Brooklyn, but don’t rule out a number of other teams. There have even been whispers of him coming back to Boston. I don’t believe that, but with this dude, you simply never know. The Celtics may not be a better team on paper with him gone. But could they be a better team on the court? Perhaps. People like to point to the previous season when Irving (and Hayward) were out and the team came within a hair of the NBA Finals. I can’t say I expect that to happen next season while being led by Tatum and Brown. But I can say I have no personal interest in bringing Kyrie back…under any circumstances. That’s too bad because he’s a fantastic player.
This was a long one. But hell, we haven’t written in a while so there was a lot to say. My apologies. In any event, long way to go to shape the 2019-2020 Boston Celtics. This summer should be an interesting one.
…NBA AND NHL! Nice…although is there really a ton of interest in the NHL draft? I don’t know…
But since the NBA draft is like an hour away, let’s start there.
The Boston Celtics have the 27th pick. Quite a change from previous years where they had the #3, #3 and #6 picks in three of the last four years. #16 in the other still is better than #27. The players? Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, respectively, in the order of the above list. Not a bad haul.
#27 doesn’t really excite me…or anyone else really. But hey, Kyle Kuzma went #27 last year. So maybe there is hope.
In any event, what do I expect “Trader Danny” Ainge to do?
I know, there have been a gazillion rumors out there the past couple of weeks. Ranging from Danny moving up in the draft by “only” giving up Rozier, Marcus Morris and all 4 (potential) first round picks in 2019. To involving Jaylen Brown in a trade to move up. To moving Brown as part of a package to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard. To trading Kyrie Irving to just about anywhere because of questions of Kyrie’s commitment to re-signing in Boston after next season. And many more.
So I expect the C’s to stand pat at #27, or even possibly trade down and get more picks. Gotta love second rounders!!
BUT…what do I WANT them to do? Not exactly sure. We here at the Blowhard love a good “splash”. But I don’t want that “splash” to involve Tatum, Brown or Gordon Hayward. Although, despite Danny’s reputation on trading anyone if the deal is right, I wouldn’t expect him to do so with Hayward regardless. Gordo signed here the last offseason as a free agent, more than likely in large part due to his college coach, Brad Stevens, being in charge here. Then he plays 5 minutes the whole year while suffering a major injury and then Ainge deals him? I doubt it. Then again, Danny traded Isaiah Thomas with his bum hip, after IT helped breathe some life back into basketball in the city and had a LARGE fan base. Though…different circumstances, I will allow.
I would be ecstatic if someone overpaid for Rozier. I like the guy, but we’ve been through this before. I look at Terry as no more than a third guard. He probably looks at himself as a max contract player. This will eventually be a problem. Not to mention that if Kyrie does indeed play for the C’s next season and then Smart also comes back, how many minutes is Rozier going to get? That could be a problem as well. Trade him while the value is high…and maybe highest it will ever be. Here, for sure anyway.
I wouldn’t mind trading Morris either. Not sure you will get much for him. And although he will be cheap next year at 5.375 mil, what happens when he doesn’t get his minutes next season as well? This guy is liable to go off the deep end. Never know with him.
Now, I am not packaging Morris and Rozier to move up from #27 to say, #15. But I am sure Ainge has investigated some options.
And I don’t necessarily want to trade them regardless either. Especially since Rozier is cheap too, at a shade over 3 mil for next season. But I am investigating realistic options for trades. And also considering that these two players are going into the last season of their respective contracts. And if everyone comes back, their minutes (and therefore, their value) will markedly decrease. And you ain’t re-signing either after next year to a fat contract that they will likely demand…unless some things change (ie: Kyrie actually does leave).
That being said, I am not opposed to bringing the whole gang back next season. With everyone healthy, can they compete for a title? I think so, while also adding a few minor bench tweaks.
The problem is, I strongly believe there is another shoe to drop with Ainge. I really do think he has one more big move up his sleeve. It may not be tonight. But I believe it is coming.
Kyrie? Sure, if he says he is taking off somewhere after this season. Absolutely in that case. We all understand why he isn’t re-upping this offseason. But he is noncommittal on his future. Now, that could be because he has a few screws loose (the Earth is flat?). No one knows what he is saying privately. Hopefully, Danny does know.
Kawhi? I don’t know. He has the one year left on his contract too. How last year went down with him individually seems a little mysterious. I doubt he would re-sign here, but I guess I don’t know. Worth the risk? Not sure for me.
As usual, I think Danny’s big move will come out of nowhere. Guess we just have to wait.
So please stay tuned…
As for the Boston Bruins, not sure the draft is anything exciting to talk about. I mean, they don’t have a first-round pick. And who knows anything about hockey first rounders anyway?
It’s not like the B’s have the #13, #14 & #15 picks like they had in the 2015 NHL draft. Where they took D Jakub Zboril, LW Jake DeBrusk and RW Zachary Senyshyn. Although DeBrusk may become a stud, that haul may end up being somewhat underwhelming. Ok, the other two are still developing. But let’s consider they are 2 of only 3 first rounders from that year that have yet to log a single minute of NHL action. Let’s also consider that the dude that went #16, Mathew Barzal, just won the Calder Trophy last night as NHL Rookie of the Year. Sigh…
In any event, rumors are that Don Sweeney wants to perhaps trade back up into the first round. I don’t know. They have enough kids in the pipeline, do they need to give up assets to get another? Maybe if that prospect is in the top-5 and is a potential first pairing defenseman. But otherwise, I am not sure it’s worth it. And I don’t even think that the above scenario is realistic anyway. Allegedly, the B’s had tried to trade those aforementioned 2015 picks into the top-5 that year and nab defenseman Noah Hanifan. That clearly didn’t work.
What can Donnie Hockey do? He can certainly trade some veteran assets, as discussed in the last Blowhard piece. But good luck with that. They all have some sort of no movement clauses it appears.
Heard a great rumor today. Unload David Krejci and David Backes. Then sign John Tavares to a mega deal. And either Ilya Kovalchuk or Rick Nash to a shorter, but likely still lucrative, deal.
Pipe dream? I think so. Who is going to take Backes’ and Krejci’s salaries? And they have no-movements. They can be convinced to waive those? Maybe there are certain teams they can be moved to, I honestly don’t know the details. But getting rid of those two contracts would seem to be far-fetched.
Another popular one is now moving Torey Krug because the team just re-signed Matt Grzelcyk to a new deal and the two of them have similar skill sets. Let’s not forget Krug has a full no-trade clause. So how is that all going to work?
Sweeney should do something…even involving the draft. But I simply do not see how he can pull it off. We’ve been through all this in detail before too.
I’d be shocked to see anything come of certainly draft night for the B’s. And even through free agency, other than losing some pieces and signing some small pieces to replace those players.
But then again, I don’t work in the front office for the B’s…there’s probably a good reason for that, I guess…
What a season! All the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Whoda thunk it?? Specifically, as the whole world knows, without their best two players? Just a crazy ride…and a helluva fun one.
Sure, if anyone on the team could throw the ball in the ocean in Game 7 against the Cavs, we’d all be looking at a Finals matchup with the Warriors. But who can really complain? The future is bright, my friends. Let’s enjoy this year for now, as the expectations will now soar for the future. This year, I was not feeling anything going into Game 7, figuring even getting to that point was gravy.
Next year? Us fans will be expecting more. As we should. And if they disappoint, we will sing a different tune for sure.
The Blowhard has a slew of thoughts about everything Celtics. Truth be told, they were part of an e-mail response to friends two days ago. So let’s make that a blog post!! Nothing like repurposing some content. But hey, it is what it is. Of course, we have to tidy some things up. And likely add some more. But here’s my favorite bullet point format, in no particular order:
*Some may be disappointed that the C’s are not facing Golden State in the NBA Finals and that it would be interesting to see how they match up against the best of the best. I am not sure I agree that it would have been great to see them keep playing…they would have gotten steamrolled/demolished/bludgeoned by the Warriors. Game 7 was surely a disappointing loss, but I think a silver lining COULD be that these guys know they should have won this series. This MAY light a little fire under the players this summer to work even harder than they already would have, knowing the missed opportunity that they had.
There is the possibility that if they won Game 7 and got to the Finals and then got smoked by Golden State maybe some players get their confidence shaken? Or even worse, knew they wouldn’t beat the Warriors, mailed it in to some degree, happy to at least get to the Finals without Kyrie and Gordon, and all along telling themselves that if they did have those two, they would have won the whole enchilada.
I don’t know, maybe I’m reaching. But I know for sure I would not have enjoyed them getting swept in the Finals, likely by large margins, at least in California.
*Many in the local area thought that if Houston was able to knock off Golden State, the Celtics would have a real chance to be NBA Champions if they got by the Cavs. I think that is kind of a dubious assumption. Even if the Rockets were to be without Chris Paul. The series would have been closer. But maybe 5 games instead of a sweep? Perhaps I am wrong about all of the above. But I feel like the train would have come to a screeching halt against either team.
*LeBron was LeBron in Game 7 and really, the whole series. In all ways. Punk move when he “blocked” (fouled) Rozier on the dunk attempt (dumb move by Rozier, by the way), then stood still and stared at what? The guy is one of the best players ever, maybe the best. But sorry, an absolute arseclown. It’s antics like this that make me despise him. Sure, all the greats have their “things”. Although generally a homer, I did not care for whenever Paul Pierce did stuff like this…wheelchair, bandages and all that. But LeBron takes these things to the next level with what he says, his mannerisms and everything all around. And of course, I will never forgive him for that ridiculous circus called “The Decision”.
*There were too many unnecessary switches in this series by the Celtics defense. And they all seemed to eventually end with Terry Rozier guarding LeBron. There has to be a better way.
*We have to all agree that it was a nice playoff run for the C’s. But we cannot discount the fact that the East was WEAK. My opinion, and perhaps my opinion alone. But…Cleveland WAS LeBron. Toronto choked, per usual. Philly fattened up their record at the end of the season against a slew of noncontenders. Miami, Milwaukee, Washington, Indy? Meh. There are some good players spread out over all of those teams. But any one of them could beat any one of them. I wasn’t impressed anyway.
*I have no doubt Danny Ainge won’t sit still this offseason. This team does still need some tweaks (and HAS to have some tweaks, kind of), even with the return of Irving and Hayward (and Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin, if you wish). I’m not saying he needs to make MAJOR moves, but I’m not ruling that out either if the right deal crosses his plate. I’m not talking just Anthony Davis or Karl Anthony Towns or any superstar along those lines. I’m talking any “right deal”. Of course, anyone would do the right deal, so this is not a big stretch. But still. Most people want Danny to just bring back the same team next year because they went so far this year without two horses. And I’m thinking he still may have one more huge one up his sleeve.
*I’d personally start by dealing Rozier…selling high if he didn’t torpedo any value he built up during the playoffs during his putrid Game 7. Or if teams look closer at his road splits. He is no more than a third guard to me. And I choose Marcus Smart as my third guard. Though Brad Stevens has to absolutely rein Smart in from shooting as much next year if he returns. This is a must.
I don’t hate Rozier. I don’t love him either…although I do love the way he rebounds as a guard. I am also not giving him away for nothing. But I’m thinking you can’t keep both him and Smart next season. Rozier did take a huge step up this year and I think they can package him with something else for something of value in return.
Now, I realize “Scary Terry” is a mere 3 million next year and also that Smart thinks he is worth more than 14 million. But Smart is a restricted free agent this offseason and Rozier will be restricted next season. With Irving and Hayward coming back, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum deserving some more minutes next season as well, Marcus Morris and Al Horford also deserving of a decent amount of time…doesn’t something have to give?
Of course. And I think Rozier may have the most value of the guys listed above, that would be available I would say. And if somehow both he and Smart return next season, and Terry is only getting 18-20 minutes a game, that may not end up well either.
If someone pays Smart what he wants, then all of the above is moot I guess…he won’t be here. But I’m thinking teams will not pay him and he will be back. I’ve been wrong before though…
*I’m also not sure Morris a lock to return. I was just told that he is kind of like a mentor and big brother to Brown and Tatum though (thanks Mike F.!). I had not heard this before. And quite frankly, this scares the bejesus out of me. Morris is a good player and had a good year. But he is a lunatic. Certifiably insane. Not sure he is the guy that I want mentoring my young studs. But maybe he is a softie in the locker room, I don’t know.
*Aron Baynes is absolutely brutal. Worst rebounding form I think I may have ever seen from a big man. Horrible touch around the basket (what’s his percentage on tip-ins? 33%?). Defense? Mediocre as far as I am concerned. I simply can’t watch him. And whose great idea was it to have him start shooting threes? Cuz he made a couple against Philly? Ugh…maybe I am being harsh. But I’m thinking you can find someone with his skill set for less than the 4.328 mil he made this year.
*I’m not trading Tatum, under any circumstances. It would be hard for me to trade Brown at this point, despite his ups and downs. But there is room on Players #5-#17 (#18?) to make some moves to help the team, however minor if “minor” is the way that Danny ends up going. Although “Player #5” would be Al Horford and I suppose if they were working him into a deal, his max contract isn’t exactly “minor”.
*If they want to fill a back-end roster spot, I’d re-sign that Jonathan Gibson dude that shot the lights out the last couple of games of the regular season. If all this team wants to do is shoot threes, that guys shooting ability has to mean more to the C’s than a lot of other things, no?
*I’m not sure why Greg Monroe got buried as the playoffs went on. I know, he doesn’t play D. But he scores and rebounds. Could have used a few of each. Couldn’t he have played decent D against someone like Tristan Thompson in this series to “hide” him in that regard? Some may think he looked completely lost when he was out there. But I think they could’ve thrown him in there for a few minutes at a time and he could have been all right.
That’s about it…for now, anyway. Great run and yet again it will be another interesting offseason. Does Danny bring everyone back? Does he just make minor moves? Or is one more big splash in the offing? He could go in any direction and no one really knows.
But with rumors milling around already about Ainge trying to move up in the draft and get a big guy or some other top talent it seems we are off to a flying start to the offseason!