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Gronk…and the NFL Draft…

…well, let’s get these thoughts out there quickly, as the draft is almost here.

First on Gronk.

Similar to former QB (wow, that still seems weird to say!) Tom Brady, the Blowhard really wasn’t losing a whole lot of sleep on Rob Gronkowski’s status.

I mean, this is not even considering the nonsense Gronk has been into since he “retired”.  Wrestling, “acting”, pimping CBD oil, disastrous Fox pregame appearances…ugh…off the field, I’ve been wanting him to go away for quite some time.

None of that matters at all at this point, now that he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

How do we feel about him returning to the field now?  And not back in a Patriot uniform?

Glad you asked!!

I don’t care.

I really don’t.

Listen, I LOVED Gronk when he was playing here.  Didn’t necessarily love some of his antics off the field when he was playing, similar to what he has done during his year off.  But while he was laying his body on the line, making huge plays and helping the Pats win games and ultimately Super Bowls, I just dealt with the silliness like everyone else.

Could he have helped presumptive new QB Jarrett Stidham this upcoming season?  Absolutely.  No question about it.

But let’s also face some facts.  He will be 31.  Seemingly not that old.  But he has taken an absolute beating over the years.  Amazing he has lasted this long, what with his back problems that started when he was in college and then the surgeries he has had as a pro.  Not to mention the other injuries he had, including the ones we probably never even knew about.

On a team that is retooling on the fly, with only one definitive other viable receiving option right now (a 34 year old, similarly banged up Julian Edelman), with Gronk once again facing double and triple teams (perhaps based on reputation as well), how enticing would a return to New England be for him?  And how effective would he be as a result?

In Tampa, he may be the third or fourth option.  More enticing for him for sure.  He also may be asked to not work as hard, as they have other capable tight ends on the roster.  Two for now, but at least one will be there in September.  The Pats have no other capable tight ends.  Hard to believe they will add anyone else there either.  A draft pick maybe.  But how reliable will that guy be this current season?

The beatings would continue if he came back here.

Let’s also face this:  Gronk was done with playing in New England.  And that’s ok.

Rumors have it that he was indeed dealt to Detroit for a first round pick before the 2018 season.  But threatened to retire.  So the deal never happened.

He only wanted to play with Brady.  So now he is unretiring to play with Brady.

And I am ok with that too.

I do wish, for the betterment of the team, that if Bill Belichick felt that trading Gronk for a first rounder was the best way to go, that it was allowed to happen.  But it wouldn’t have been the first time a higher up squashed something an underling wanted to do.  So be it.

I also don’t believe that Gronk is that unstoppable force anymore that he was throughout his career.  Injuries have taken their toll for sure.  Looked like throughout during the 2018 season anyway.  He will be an asset to the Bucs, no question.  And maybe win a game for them next season.  He will also most assuredly be better than any Patriot tight ends this year as well.  But it is hard to believe he will be an All-Pro again.  Time will tell.

Jason Witten took a year off and came back.  No great shakes in his return.  Yes, he is also much older than Gronk.  But I think we can draw some parallels.

I would have liked to have gotten more than a fourth round pick for him (while also trading a seventh rounder).  But he wasn’t playing for the Pats anyway.  Under any scenario.  And he could have unretired first, had his remaining salary go up against the cap to cause the Pats to have to frantically cut someone, trade someone or restructure one or more deals.

So there were a couple of sides to that story.

It seems to me that the end result made everyone happy.  We will just have to see how it plays out.  But I am not fretting the departure of Gronk.  Things will be ok.

Though I guess Bill would have taken that first rounder a couple of years ago over the fourth rounder now…

As for the draft, what will the Patriots do?

WHO THE HELL KNOWS?!

Haha…seriously though, what do I think?

Again, glad you asked!!

You’ve heard all the rumors:  Trade up for Tua, trade down for picks, trade picks into next year because the coronavirus will limit the offseason programs and perhaps even training camp itself, trade Joe Thuney, trade for O.J. Howard, take a quarterback high to compete for the job…etc.

Oh and “Bill never takes a running back in the first round”, then he takes Sony Michel in 2018.  And “Bill never takes a wide receiver in the first round”, then he takes N’Keal Harry in 2019.

We could go on all day.  The only thing that is certain is that Bill will take a guy that will really only be able to play special teams in the NFL in the 5th-6th round.  That doesn’t include the kicker that will likely be drafted in the middle rounds.

Nothing would surprise me.  Nothing.

Another hot take is that “releasing Cody Kessler is a real sign the Pats will definitely take a QB in the draft”.

It is??!

Why?

They have like 24 open roster spots.  They could go sign a Cam Newton or Jameis Winston eventually if they wanted to.  Or trade for Andy Dalton.  Or…gasp…re-sign Kessler eventually if nothing else materializes.  They could re-sign Kessler as a fourth arm, even if they do sign, trade or draft another dude.

But I don’t see them taking a QB as automatic.

If they take someone high, it may be an admission that the team does not believe that Stidham is the long term guy.  And what would that do for his confidence?

I could see them taking a QB late, a Danny Etling type.  Practice squad type guy to roll the dice on.  But I don’t see them trading up for anyone.  Or taking a guy relatively high.  Jake Fromm?  Perhaps.  But what is that, 4th-5th round?  Unlikely a threat to Stidham.

I really do think they are rolling with Stidham and Hoyer this season.  For better or for worse.

As for the actual picks, my opinion?  As it stands, the Patriots have 12 draft picks.  They will wheel and deal like they normally do.  Even with everyone drafting from home, fantasy football style.  Might not be as easy.  But I bet a lot of the legwork has been done already (e.g. the deal will likely happen only if a player is still available in that certain spot).

It will be fascinating to watch.  Mainly because it is the first “post-Tom Brady” draft.  Also because, well, there is nothing else going on in sports.

Specifics?  Best I can do is:

They WILL draft a kicker.

They MAY draft a QB, but mid to late rounds.

They WILL draft a lot of fat guys on the line, on both sides of it.

They MAY trade a pick or two into next years’ draft.

They WILL not trade up in the first round.

They MAY stand pat in the first round (instead of trading down) and take a non-skill position player.

They WILL entertain offers for G Joe Thuney, but won’t give him away.

They MAY make a real player deal or two (Howard?  Another veteran on the outs with another organization?)

That about sums it up.  About as an expert analysis as you will get East of Mel Kiper Jr.!

One last thing, there WILL be some technical difficulties during the draft.  May be minor, as the NFL did a trial run the other day to work out the kinks.

But seeing that this event is going to break television records apparently, would anyone be surprised if the hackers were heavily involved?  People are talking about coaches or team reps losing internet access, blue screens, miscommunications with Roger Goodell and issues along those lines.

Wouldn’t shock me to see a little porn being thrown up on the screen at some point during the telecast.

Just sayin’…

Chaim Bloom??!!

Been about six weeks since we last wrote about the Boston Red Sox.  But why would we?  The season ended with a whimper, so there was nothing really worth talking about, to be honest.

What went wrong?  Whether it was the babying of pitchers during the spring, no closer, awful bullpen, expensive and mediocre (bad?) starters, bringing back basically the whole team from last season, therefore being complacent (though they will never admit it), questionable managing at times, a noncommital President of Baseball Operations at the trading deadline, etc…well, we’ve been through all of this before.  MANY times.

There was no joy in following this team last season.  We never felt good about the squad, right from the beginning.  So there is really no need to rehash it at this point.  In my opinion anyway.

Time to move on.

So where does the team go from here?

By the way, it feels like a good time to talk about next season, what with it being about the one year anniversary of their 2018 World Series win…and with the 2019 World Series just wrapping up the other night.  Nationals…wow!  But good for them.  Also, any year the Yankees don’t win makes it a good year for the Sox anyway.

But no need to talk about the Nats.  Or the Yanks.  As Bill would say, we are on to 2020!!  And a year after winning the World Series, now we are possibly talking about tearing the Red Sox team apart.

Seriously?

Well, that’s not my call.  Ownership has already said that they want to (read:  WILL) be under the luxury tax number of 208 million next season.

Being north of 240 mil last year will make that a pretty good challenge.  And tells me we could be looking at significant turnover.

Sure, contracts such as Rick Porcello’s 21+ mil, Steve Pearce’s 6.25, Mitch Moreland’s 6.5, Eduardo Nunez’ 5, Brock Holts’ 3.6 and Pablo Sandovals’ 18+ (??!!) are coming off the books.  Maybe even J.D. Martinez’ 23+, which by the way is not necessarily a good thing.  Wait, Panda will still be on the books for 5 million next year…SMH…

But then you factor in Xander Bogaerts going from 12 mil to 20.  Chris Sale going from 15 to 30 mil.  Certain significant arbitration raises for Mookie Betts (if he is still here), Jackie Bradley Jr. (ditto), Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and perhaps even Brandon Workman.

Ssssssoooo…there is some work to be done.

Which brings us to…Chaim Bloom!

Bloom is the Red Sox’ new “Chief Baseball Officer”.  A nice new title…whatever that means.  The degree in classics I particularly love.  I know, Yale.  But still an interesting nugget.

Bloom comes from the Tampa Bay Rays.  So he has experience with shaving significant payroll…or not having any payroll in the first place, more accurately.  Let’s hope John Henry doesn’t plan on matching that Ray budget of like 50 million or whatever minuscule figure that may be.  Red Sox Nation would not stand for that.

But no, I don’t believe Bloom will slash that much.  But there will be significant changes.  How can there not be?

Senior advisor Bill James is gone.  Is that good?  Perhaps.  But I am sure Bloom will continue to carry his torch.  You know, the “nerd” torch.  Which is not a good thing, again, my opinion.  But this is the era we live in…

In any event, what will the team look like next year?

Not sure.  But here’s what I think they will do…with the current roster anyway.  I’ll, of course, be adding some colorful commentary on whether I think what they will do is something I would do.  In typical fashion, let’s take a look by positional group.

40 men on the 40-man roster at the end of the year (go figure!).  Plus 4 on the 60 day injured list (sigh…I will finally cave on calling it this instead of “disabled list”, as Major League Baseball did to start the 2018 season).  So we will look at 44 players.  Invariably, the Sox will have to add some players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule V draft this winter.  But we don’t know who those guys are at this point, so we will leave them out for now.  And I am not anticipating any of them, or any other minor leaguers, making an impact with the major league club next season.  And yup, that includes outfielder Rusney Castillo, who will likely be buried in AAA again next year.  There has already been some roster movement as well.

So let’s get to it:

Catcher:  Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon, Juan Centeno

Free Agents:  None

Already Gone:  None

Comments:  Vazquez is the unquestioned starter.  Had a great offensive year (for a catcher anyway), including a career high (by far) 23 homers.  His salary bumps up about 3 mil.  Speaking of 3 mil, Leon could get that in arbitration, amazingly enough.  Centeno had 15 at bats as the third guy in September.  He really doesn’t count.

The pitchers love throwing to Leon.  But when the team panicked early and got rid of Blake Swihart in order to bring Leon back up from the minors, Sandy sure as heck didn’t help the staff ERA.  And he can’t hit.  You can pay a guy like that the league minimum.  And I suspect that they will.

By the way, Arizona dumped Swihart too, after playing him like once every ten days…and maybe that once was a pinch hit at bat.  So maybe I was wrong about him too.  But it’s not like anyone has exactly given him a chance though.  And that ship may have sailed.  That is too bad.  I always thought he could at least hit.  But who knows?

It would not shock me at all if the Sox tried to capitalize on Vasky’s career year and tried to move him.  This position could be completely different next season.  And…would it matter?  But I am going to assume that Vazquez will be back with another random backup.

Infield:  Bogaerts (SS), Rafael Devers (3B), Michael Chavis (INF), Dustin Pedroia (2B), Marco Hernandez (INF), Sam Travis (1B/LF), Tzu-Wei Lin (INF).

Free Agents:  Holt (INF/OF), Pearce (1B/OF), Moreland (1B)

Already Gone:  Chris Owings (INF)

Comments:  This one may be easier than we think.  Bogey and Raffy will man the left side of the infield.  Chavis will probably play first, with Pearce and Moreland likely gone…unless Mitch comes back on some sort of really discounted deal.  Then Chavis would presumably play 2nd.  But…

…are we ready for another spring of Pedroia nonsense?  Sigh…

I really think that Pedey had that late season surgery to be able to play next season.  As silly as that sounds.  So I am expecting him to report to Spring Training to try to play.  Ugh.

Hernandez would be the utility guy in this scenario.  If Pedey truly is done, Marco will be given a chance to win the 2B job.  At a salary of less than 1 mil, it would fit with the plan.

Believe it or not, I honestly expect someone to give Holt decent dough.  And therefore not be back.  Travis and Lin aren’t really worth spending any time here…or real life playing time on.  Same is true for Owings, who was a waste of time last year already.

Outfield:  Mookie Betts (RF), Andrew Benintendi (LF), Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF), J.D. Martinez (DH)

Free Agents:  None

Already Gone:  Gorkys Hernandez

Comments:  Quite the opposite of the infield.  We could be looking at three of these four being gone.  Well, not counting Gorkys here.  Along with Owings, he was a complete waste of time in September.

Mookie.  What’s going to happen?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Well actually, I think he is gone this offseason.  He wants to test free agency after next season.  Has no interest in re-signing here beforehand.  We have no idea if he even would WANT to re-sign here when he goes through the free agency process.  Even if the Sox back up the Isaiah Thomas Brinks truck.

If that is the case, don’t you HAVE to deal him this offseason?  And get some sort of decent return?  I think it’s a no-brainer.

Some may argue that the team should keep Betts and trade him at the trading deadline next season.  But what if the Sox are in the race?  They are going to give up their best player at that point in the year?  Doubtful.

Dealing him with one year of arbitration left you would think would get the best package from another team.  Without dealing with a sticky situation at the trading deadline.  And also without losing him for nothing at the end of the season.

Again, hate to say it, but I think Betts is gone.  And I think that was one of the reasons the Sox moved on from Dave Dombrowski.  Get someone in here that SHOULD be a better fit for planning for the future that includes rebuilding the farm system.  DD did what he had to do here.  But he was probably not the right guy to move the team to the next stage.

As for J.D., I feel like the team wants him to opt out and move on.  Reports indicate that the Sox have not approached him about anything.  J.D. didn’t have as good a year in 2019 as he did in 2018, but he still had a damn good year.

But as pretty much a DH only and having assorted minor injuries throughout the year and at 32 years of age…you wonder if they hope he leaves.

They would miss his bat, but you’d have to imagine that there will be some other options available for cheaper dough on the free agent market?  I have not studied any prospective free agent lists.  But that line of thinking would not surprise me.  Oh wait, Edwin Encarnacion’s 2020 option was just declined by the Yanks.  So he may fit in nicely on a shorter deal…at smaller dollars.

Bradley?  You all know how I feel about him.  I HOPE he is gone.  His salary will reach 8 figures next season.  No thanks.  But what is the market for him?

I think they will try to move him.  But unfortunately for me, I am thinking he will be back after all the other salary is cleared and then his new salary all of a sudden looks “reasonable” and fits in the budget.

Benny ain’t going nowhere.  He will get a nice raise in his first year of arbitration, despite his very average year.  They’d be presumably selling low on him.  Hopefully, he can bounce back at least a little next year.

Starting pitchers:  Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez

Free Agents:  Rick Porcello

Already Gone:  None

Comments:  Welp, everyone wanted to blame the bullpen last year.  No doubt about it, they played a huge role in the teams’ struggles.  But we may want to point the fingers squarely at the starters instead.  Sale, Price and Eovaldi gave them 59 starts.  And a mere 322 1/3 innings.  Oh…and a 15-17 record.  Awesome return for 63 million…roughly a quarter of the payroll.  Porcello did give them his usual 32 starts.  And actually was 14-12…I didn’t remember that.  What I did remember was a bunch of those starts being horrendous, leading to his 5.52 ERA.  E-Rod was the saving grace here.  200 plus innings and 200 plus strikeouts to go with his 19-6 record…which would have been 20-6 if Matt Barnes didn’t blow the lead in the 162nd game of the season.  But we will get to him.

So between giving the likes of Hector Velasquez, Brian Johnson, Ryan Weber, etc 37 starts and having the bullpen have to regularly pitch 4-6 innings a night…it’s no surprise the bullpen struggled.

So what do we do here?  Sale’s ridiculous 5 year, 145 million dollar extension kicks in next year, with what appears to be a no-trade clause.  Combine that with the uncertainty of his elbow, he ain’t going anywhere.  (Editor’s note: please remember, we had no problem with AN extension for Sale, despite his fragility.  BUT the one he GOT was silly.  3/80-90 would have worked for us.  But 5 years?).

Would not be shocked if the team tried to deal Price or Eovaldi.  Perhaps both.  They will have to eat some salary.  But it still wouldn’t surprise me.  3/96 left for Price, 3/51 for Nate.  If they could unload that colossal baby Price, I think Sox fans would rejoice.  All the goodwill earned by Price after the 2018 World Series, where he should have been MVP, was lost during the 2019 season.  He reverted to his previous Red Sox form in so many ways.  It’s exhausting to even think about it.  Too bad he opted in, but you knew he would.  You would have to for that dough.  I hope he’s gone, but I honestly don’t expect it.

Porcello will undoubtedly be gone.  He actually wants to stay.  And I’ll be honest.  If they can get rid of Price, I would take Rick back.  Something like 1 year, 10 mil or less would be a no-brainer in my opinion.  But no more than that.  I don’t know what other options will be out there.  And there will no question be better ones.  But at least we know Porcello can handle the environment.  And usually can give you 200 innings.  Worth considering anyway.

In any event, there will have to be some additions here.  Innings guys for sure.  I know Bloom comes from Tampa.  Birthplace of the “bullpen game”.  But for these to take a regular turn in the rotation in this market?  I can’t see how that would go over well.

Bullpen:  Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Josh Taylor, Marcus Walden, Ryan Brasier, Colton Brewer, Travis Lakins, Darwinzon Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, Brian Johnson, Hector Velasquez, Ryan Weber, Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Kelley, Mike Shawaryn, Denyi Reyes

Free Agents: Andrew Cashner (Not a free agent yet, but he has a 10 mil club option, so he will be one soon)

Already Gone:  Steven Wright, Josh A. Smith

Comments:  Just a colossal bag of garbage.  There needs to be some huge turnover here in the offseason.

Workman had an excellent year, ending it as the closer.  But I’m not sure anyone wants to see him close games next year.  Barnes and Hembree are major league pitchers, but likely more suited for the 6th & 7th innings.  Barnes maybe the 8th, but I’ve honestly seen enough of him there.  Walden had a pretty good year, but like Brasier in 2018, can we depend on him in 2020?  There’s a reason guys are in the minors for over 10 years.  You can’t count on relievers from year to year in a general sense.  Less so for guys of Walden’s and Brasier’s ilk.

Darwinzon flashed some stuff at the end of the year.  But walked way too many dudes.  He’s 22 years old though, so let’s get him back in the rotation next year in the minors and continue to develop him.  Reyes will be 23 tomorrow and he hasn’t been up yet, but let’s see about him in the minors too.

Taylor is lefty and throws high 90’s.  So he’s worth keeping around.  I don’t know if Lakins will be any good.  But he got some hype at the end of 2018.  I’d like to see more.  Kelley was unhittable in the minors.  But sidewinders that make it are few and far between.  Poyner?  Whatever.

Pretty much no use for the rest of the lot.  But the reality is, some of those dudes will be back.  Some will take the shuttle between Pawtucket and Boston regularly.  There will be a handful of more arms with similar talent that will be added.

But I think we all hope they add a couple of quality arms over the winter.  Quality bullpen arms will cost money…but when they shave all that money we talked about above, there should be some room.

Whew…that was quite a bit of words there.  Sorry about that.  But I think we covered everything?

It’ll be an interesting offseason, any way you slice it.  Can’t wait!!

What Now?

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?

Nevermind…

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.

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