The Celtics Offseason

Euclis20

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It'll take a few days, but I think some perspective is needed here. The top 3 teams in the east this year are likely to be the top 3 teams in the east next year. The Sixers have Embiid entering his 30s and (if they're lucky), Harden entering his mid 30s, then a relatively mediocre crew of roleplayers (their only hope of improvement is that Maxey turns into an all-star level guard). The Bucks' key players outside of Giannis are showing their age - Middleton hasn't been healthy in over a year, is about to turn 32, and will either be a FA this summer or next, plus Holiday has been quietly brutal in the playoffs for awhile (and he's talking about retiring soon). Outside of the top 3 (and Miami)maybe Cleveland steps up, but Mitchell has his own recent history of playoff disasters, and ultimately their team design is off. The Knicks have Randle and Thibs, the epitome of an 82 game player and his 82 game coach. Maybe Miami is better next year, if Jimmy doesn't age and Miami's roleplayers' performance this postseason are somehow legit. Anyone think Boston doesn't open up the offseason as the betting favorite to win the East next year? The sky isn't falling.

Running it back isn't what anyone wants to hear fresh off of a disappointing loss, but two things can be true:

-Tatum and Brown are 25 and 26, and still super rare for title teams to have their two best players be that young. It feels like they've been this close forever and they have (5 ECFs in 7 years is insane), and they've got more playoff experience than just about any other duo at the same age in recent NBA history, but a bad loss now doesn't mean it will always be bad.
-Mazzulla was absolutely overwhelmed at times this year, AND for a variety of reasons (he'll have a full offseason to prep, he'll no longer be a rookie, he'll actually have a full and well rounded coaching staff) he can still be the right coach for this team going forward.

Change for change's sake is not necessarily a good thing. It sucks that they missed a golden opportunity this year, and we can feel the prime's slipping away from a couple of key role players (mostly Smart/Brogdon, plus Horford could collapse at any moment and Grant may be gone), but the core two are still young and only now entering their primes. Don't overthink it - super max Jaylen, and in 12 months, super max Tatum. That gives them a half decade to try to break through and win the title, or if one of them demands out, they can collect a bounty in that deal.
 

kazuneko

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It'll take a few days, but I think some perspective is needed here. The top 3 teams in the east this year are likely to be the top 3 teams in the east next year. The Sixers have Embiid entering his 30s and (if they're lucky), Harden entering his mid 30s, then a relatively mediocre crew of roleplayers (their only hope of improvement is that Maxey turns into an all-star level guard). The Bucks' key players outside of Giannis are showing their age - Middleton hasn't been healthy in over a year, is about to turn 32, and will either be a FA this summer or next, plus Holiday has been quietly brutal in the playoffs for awhile (and he's talking about retiring soon). Outside of the top 3 (and Miami)maybe Cleveland steps up, but Mitchell has his own recent history of playoff disasters, and ultimately their team design is off. The Knicks have Randle and Thibs, the epitome of an 82 game player and his 82 game coach. Maybe Miami is better next year, if Jimmy doesn't age and Miami's roleplayers' performance this postseason are somehow legit. Anyone think Boston doesn't open up the offseason as the betting favorite to win the East next year? The sky isn't falling.

Running it back isn't what anyone wants to hear fresh off of a disappointing loss, but two things can be true:

-Tatum and Brown are 25 and 26, and still super rare for title teams to have their two best players be that young. It feels like they've been this close forever and they have (5 ECFs in 7 years is insane), and they've got more playoff experience than just about any other duo at the same age in recent NBA history, but a bad loss now doesn't mean it will always be bad.
-Mazzulla was absolutely overwhelmed at times this year, AND for a variety of reasons (he'll have a full offseason to prep, he'll no longer be a rookie, he'll actually have a full and well rounded coaching staff) he can still be the right coach for this team going forward.

Change for change's sake is not necessarily a good thing. It sucks that they missed a golden opportunity this year, and we can feel the prime's slipping away from a couple of key role players (mostly Smart/Brogdon, plus Horford could collapse at any moment and Grant may be gone), but the core two are still young and only now entering their primes. Don't overthink it - super max Jaylen, and in 12 months, super max Tatum. That gives them a half decade to try to break through and win the title, or if one of them demands out, they can collect a bounty in that deal.
Can't disagree with much of this. As long as Brown takes the Supermax he should be back, and I think we should all want this to happen as you don't want the Cs to be in a situation where they are forced to trade him. A core of Tatum and Brown should be at the center of this team for a while to come and that's something to be happy about. Changes can and probably should be made but these changes should be centered on maximizing the talent/fit around the two stars.
The one big question is whether or not Mazzulla should be brought back and I think the answer is no. He just didn't show enough to be trusted with this team going forward. As you point out, he has looked overwhelmed at-times. He also has looked rigid. Playoff basketball is about about recognizing problems and making adjustments, and Joe Mazzulla appears to be as rigid in his coaching style as his face is during press conferences. He just isn't the best option going forward and I don't care if it's fair to judge him based on the situation he was thrown into this year. Nobody cares about fair; what we do care about is championships and I just don't think he is the best candidate to take them there...
 

nighthob

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I need to see examples. Like not JB so who are the two archetypes of players that replace him?
Well, ideally a deal built around Brown/filler for Bridges/Johnson is what I’m thinking of, but the new CBA might make that untenable (well, for mere mortals, I’ve no doubt that Zaren can figure out how to make it work). Someone brought up Houston as a possibility, and if the deal involved Jabari Smith Jr and #4 (and finding a way to use #4 to get Mikal Bridges) that might be a good retooling point. JSJ is all potential so far (of course, he played in a tire fire last year), but his upside is ultra high end 3&D forward. And he’d allow Boston to play more two big while still spacing the floor.

Every NBA writer that I respect is saying that the best option for the Celtics is to sign Brown to a Supermax and keep this group together for another year or two. Until I see a compelling article stating otherwise, I am pretty sure that this is the route Brad wk take.

The questions are what assistants we will bring in to help Joe and what moves Brad will make on the margins
From everything I’ve read the penalties for going past the second apron are quite onerous. I’ve no doubt that they give JB his 35% extension for a year. But don’t be shocked if he’s outbound after next year before he and Tatum are eating up 50%+ of the space beneath the second apron.

Can you explain this more. Why do you think the new CBA is going to crush teams built around two supermax guys?
It’s the penalties for going past the second apron, and when you have two 35% guys there’s no way to surround them with middle class type contracts without blowing past that line. Your draft picks become worthless and you have fewer to trade. You don’t get TPEs for trading your own players into someone else’s cap space. No aggregating salaries in trade, even if you’re reducing payroll. This core, I suspect, has one chance to win. After that will come major retooling to get beneath the line and a build around Tatum.
 
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kazuneko

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This was very helpful for understanding this:
It’s the penalties for going past the second apron, and when you have two 35% guys there’s no way to surround them with middle class type contracts without blowing past that line. Your draft picks become worthless and you have fewer to trade. You don’t get TPEs for trading your own players into someone else’s cap space. No aggregating salaries in trade, even if you’re reducing payroll. This core, I suspect, has one chance to win. After that will come major retooling to get beneath the line and a build around Tatum.
There are some interesting quotes from that article that could be relevant to the offseason discussion.
Most notably: "it might be an ownership imperative to get under the luxury tax for the next two years if you’re preparing for that future. If that were the case, the team would have to either trade one of Brogdon, Marcus Smart, or Derrick White, or choose to not re-sign Grant Williams. They would also have to find a new home for probably Danilo Gallinari and possibly cut Mike Muscala’s non-guaranteed contract."
That would seem to suggest that Grant won't be back (as that seems the most palatable of the options listed).
Also of note" if they decide that the new CBA forces them to move off Brown and they want to act quickly, an unexpected team like the San Antonio Spurs could get involved. They have the cap space to renegotiate-and-extend him and will be adding Victor Wembanyama via the draft. If Wembanyama lives up to expectations he’ll be an All NBA caliber player between “immediately” and a few years from now. He’ll also be on rookie scale and then a 30% max extension and so set up a manageable cap sheet with a second star like Brown making 30% of the cap. Would trading Brown for a package centered around Devin Vassell make sense for both sides? The Spurs have an excess of future picks and other good young and/or reasonably priced players. Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and picks for Brown and Brogdon could realign your future cap sheet and solve the new CBA’s repeater tax problem at the same time."
Not sure that's what most of us were looking for in a Brown trade but it's interesting at least..
 
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Nick Kaufman

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Make PBS CBS again.

I don''t understand why he ever left. Mazoulla might be good or might become good, but there's no reason for the Celtics to be placing bets on coaching development when they are trying to win a championship right now. Go with the proven commodity that inspires confidence.
 

lovegtm

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Predictions for the offseason:

- they keep Mazzulla. He showed a lot of growth, and anyone else they bring in would be a proven non-adjuster (Bud, Doc, Monty) or another assistant you're unsure about.

- they re-sign Grant at a lower number than Grant wanted, to keep the salary slot and because there's not a big offer for him in RFA.

- they offer Jaylen a 5-year contract, but use the Heat series as justification for making it more like 5/270 than 5/295. If he balks at that, he gets to name re-sign destinations and is dealt to one of them. If he re-signs and they don't win next year, he gets dealt with 5 years of control remaining for a large haul.

Caveat: if they think that lowballing Brown even by a small amount will irreparably piss off Tatum, Brown probably gets full max. If the cap starts to rise at 10% with the new TV deal, the last few years of Brown will be under 35% anyway, making the deal still tradeable.

- They deal the 2024 pick and Brogdon or Smart to upgrade somewhere. The other candidate for this is TL, depending on salary to be matched.
 
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nighthob

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Draft picks have a lot less value going forward as that pick falls at the end of the first round. Honestly seeing the penalties has changed my thinking on the draft (as far as Boston goes). Given their spot they absolutely need to convert picks into role players, so I’m now officially hoping that Boston picks Keyontae Johnson at #35 (if he’s still there). His ceiling isn’t terribly high, but the floor is. And going forward they need guys like that.
 

Boston Brawler

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I have a lot of thoughts on less than 2 hours of post game sleep.

1. I think it's good that the team battled back from 0-3 to get to game 7, but we also never should have been there in the first place. Based on rosters alone, the ATL, PHI and MIA series all went too long. A lot of that is on the players, but it's also on coaching/preparation. Perhaps the absolute roller coaster of a season this has been was too much (Ime getting suspended three weeks before the season started, playing the first half of the season as the best team in the league, hitting a rough patch and regressing a bit in the second half, and then not being as focused in the playoffs as they should be). Ime fucked us.

2. Anyone placing blame on Tatum is insane. He's young, he twisted his ankle in the first minute of this game, and he still played better than basically everyone on the C's. The dude is a star and what he needs is....

3. Leadership. CJM has to go. He is not ready for this after 3 years of assistant coaching and then this year as HC. The team has a window, and the HC can not be learning how to be a leader. I'm sure he learned a lot this year, but surrounding him with experienced assistants doesn't change that he can't be learning while the core of the team hits it's prime. Who do you replace him with? I don't know, but I don't really think Brad Stevens is the guy either. Do you look at someone like Monty Williams or Dave Joerger? Most on the board obviously want to avoid Doc, and a lot want to avoid Budenholzer too.

4. I think the time has come for Marcus Smart to head out. His value as an asset may not net much, but I believe his play/ego impacts the J's and the game more than he's worth. He gives you grit, sure, but his D isn't what it was two seasons ago, and it seems he puts himself on the same level as Tatum and Brown. Tatum can't be the alpha with Smart on the team. Keep White, obviously, and maybe keep Brogdon as sixth man again. The team needs to find a PG to run the offense through, maybe it can be White with the right coaching.

5. Not sure how qualifying offers really work, but I think it's also time to move on from Grant. He's too inconsistent and I just don't see his role if the main players are JT, JB, Al, White, PG upgrade, Timelord, and Brogdon.

6. I hope we find out what was up with timelord, because his minutes were lower than expected and he was real effective whenever he was out there. Fucking Grant played more minutes last night. So there was either something wrong with TL injury wise, or it was bad coaching. Really curious about that.

7. Jaylen Brown is really hard to discuss. You have to give him the contract and you have to believe that he and JT get over the hump at some point. He can't be trusted to handle the ball, but his talent is also too much to let walk. Get a real facilitator on the team and hopefully this works itself out.

I really think the only option is to run it back with largely the same core. Lose Marcus and Grant, and get a more experienced coach.
 

Eddie Jurak

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7. Jaylen Brown is really hard to discuss. You have to give him the contract and you have to believe that he and JT get over the hump at some point. He can't be trusted to handle the ball, but his talent is also too much to let walk. Get a real facilitator on the team and hopefully this works itself out.
Do you have to believe it? This core has been at it for 6 years and they have stagnated and even regressed at times. Even if you call Tatum's rookie year a fluke, they seem to have established a level... that isn't good enough.
 

lovegtm

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Do you have to believe it? This core has been at it for 6 years and they have stagnated and even regressed at times. Even if you call Tatum's rookie year a fluke, they seem to have established a level... that isn't good enough.
Agree. I think the only sure thing about this team is that Tatum can be a superstar, and that he probably can raise his game to even further levels if pushed. Everything else is up for grabs.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Agree. I think the only sure thing about this team is that Tatum can be a superstar, and that he probably can raise his game to even further levels if pushed. Everything else is up for grabs.
That's fair. I would add White as a guy I'd keep before anyone else.
 

lovegtm

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That's fair. I would add White as a guy I'd keep before anyone else.
Good point. I'm heated after getting robbed of seeing Game 7 Tatum, so missed that. I also think that, barring an obvious trade, you keep Horford for contract value and shrink-wrap him a bit more.
 

Jimbodandy

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Don't quite get the "blow it up" perspective, but venting is understandable.

Both Brown and Tatum have an average season of "Eastern Conference Finalist". Aside from the abysmal 2021 season and last year's finals, it has been what they do.

We want progress and championships of course, but they didn't just get swept in the first round. They're not a shitty team.

I have faith in CBS et al.
 

lexrageorge

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I have a lot of thoughts on less than 2 hours of post game sleep.

1. I think it's good that the team battled back from 0-3 to get to game 7, but we also never should have been there in the first place. Based on rosters alone, the ATL, PHI and MIA series all went too long. A lot of that is on the players, but it's also on coaching/preparation. Perhaps the absolute roller coaster of a season this has been was too much (Ime getting suspended three weeks before the season started, playing the first half of the season as the best team in the league, hitting a rough patch and regressing a bit in the second half, and then not being as focused in the playoffs as they should be). Ime fucked us.
Bolded is correct. But this core group of players has had a lot of the same issues under 3 different head coaches. They may be hitting their ceiling.

2. Anyone placing blame on Tatum is insane. He's young, he twisted his ankle in the first minute of this game, and he still played better than basically everyone on the C's. The dude is a star and what he needs is....

3. Leadership. CJM has to go. He is not ready for this after 3 years of assistant coaching and then this year as HC. The team has a window, and the HC can not be learning how to be a leader. I'm sure he learned a lot this year, but surrounding him with experienced assistants doesn't change that he can't be learning while the core of the team hits it's prime. Who do you replace him with? I don't know, but I don't really think Brad Stevens is the guy either. Do you look at someone like Monty Williams or Dave Joerger? Most on the board obviously want to avoid Doc, and a lot want to avoid Budenholzer too.
Well, there's absolutely zero chance of Doc coming back. Anyway, I do think you understate the value of having an experienced staff of assistants in the various decision making processes.

4. I think the time has come for Marcus Smart to head out. His value as an asset may not net much, but I believe his play/ego impacts the J's and the game more than he's worth. He gives you grit, sure, but his D isn't what it was two seasons ago, and it seems he puts himself on the same level as Tatum and Brown. Tatum can't be the alpha with Smart on the team. Keep White, obviously, and maybe keep Brogdon as sixth man again. The team needs to find a PG to run the offense through, maybe it can be White with the right coaching.
I've felt that Smart is not good enough to be the 3rd banana on a team headed by Tatum and Brown. His DPOY years are behind him, and he may not age well.

5. Not sure how qualifying offers really work, but I think it's also time to move on from Grant. He's too inconsistent and I just don't see his role if the main players are JT, JB, Al, White, PG upgrade, Timelord, and Brogdon.
I'm personally done w/ Grant, but Brad does not have great options to work with. He will likely be given a qualifying offer; otherwise, the team will lose his salary slot with nothing to show. And there are restrictions on trading resigned RFA's, and sign-and-trades are almost impossible to pull off, especially with TPE's restrictions for high-payroll teams under the new CBA.

6. I hope we find out what was up with timelord, because his minutes were lower than expected and he was real effective whenever he was out there. Fucking Grant played more minutes last night. So there was either something wrong with TL injury wise, or it was bad coaching. Really curious about that.
Several media reports had him going to the locker room in significant pain.

7. Jaylen Brown is really hard to discuss. You have to give him the contract and you have to believe that he and JT get over the hump at some point. He can't be trusted to handle the ball, but his talent is also too much to let walk. Get a real facilitator on the team and hopefully this works itself out.
An extension does allow the team to kick the can down the road a year. But that contract could be problematic under the terms of the new CBA.
 

BigSoxFan

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Don't quite get the "blow it up" perspective, but venting is understandable.

Both Brown and Tatum have an average season of "Eastern Conference Finalist". Aside from the abysmal 2021 season and last year's finals, it has been what they do.

We want progress and championships of course, but they didn't just get swept in the first round. They're not a shitty team.

I have faith in CBS et al.
Brad will have this team better on paper. That much we can be sure of.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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1) Hope that Tatum recovers in a timely fashion
Gabe Vincent took one game off after a similar ankle roll. I don't think Tatum's ankle going forward is anything to be concerned about unless they were actually playing Denver which... yeah.
 

PRabbit

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If I'm Stevens/Zarren, Brown has to go. Guy commits too many TOs and plays inconsistent D too often to justify 5/295. Otherwise, they'd have to really get lucky with hitting on role players at the draft and UDFAs, because that contract is going to gut the rotation otherwise.

Bridges/Claxton would be my target for Brown if Brooklyn bites and it makes sense under the new CBA.

I'm iffy on Smart being traded because Brogdan isn't exactly an ironman and the guard rotation would be very thin beyond White.

As for coaches? I don't see anyone available who isn't a retread. I don't know.
 

Toe Nash

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The only big change I would make is considering trading Brown. He is good at creating his own shot and you need that but Tatum is better and when healthy the offense should be going through him and not JB. He has a huge weakness in handles which hasn't seemed to improve even though it was a big vulnerability in the playoffs last year as well. And he's going to be insanely expensive.

I don't think the team is much worse right now if he's dealt for roughly equal value, even if it's multiple players. And Stevens found White so...do that again.

Coaching is fine, just add some assistants. The only thing i really disagreed with Mazzulla on was playing Brogdon last night at all, and not immediately pulling him after the airball on his first shot, but it didn't make the difference.
 

BaseballJones

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Sign Brown to the super max. A core of Tatum and Brown is going to win you a hell of a lot of basketball games in the NBA for a very long time. As we say in other sports, what you want to do is give yourselves as many legit shots as you can, and that core will give you a lot of legit shots. Hopefully one (or more) of them finally hits the target.
 

Ed Hillel

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Here’s the problem with trading Brown. You better hope this guy is on board:
View: https://twitter.com/ByJayKing/status/1663393087412994055


If he is, I’d look to trade Brown for a player who is 80-90 cents on the dollar scoring wise, but a better defender and offensive facilitator, with some role players/lottery tickets mixed in. Brown is a top tier scoring talent and 1 on 1 talent, but he is a bad team basketball player on both sides of the court who makes his teammates worse. A lot of the scoring talent discrepancy can be made up for there and you can save tons of money doing it and avoid some of the hard cap issues. I don’t have an exact answer as to what the best deal for Brown is, but I’m confident enough there would be a return somewhere worth taking if he was shopped.

I’d also look to move Smart. The culture needs to change and he’s starting to decline already, and with him that process might get ugly fast. I want this to be Tatum’s team and identity, with Al there to help along for another year or two. Thanks for the memories, loved watching the guy, but when it’s time it’s time. You should be able to get a pretty decent return for him, as well.
 

JM3

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Here’s the problem with trading Brown. You better hope this guy is on board:
View: https://twitter.com/ByJayKing/status/1663393087412994055


If he is, I’d look to trade Brown for a player who is 80-90 cents on the dollar scoring wise, but a better defender and offensive facilitator, with some role players/lottery tickets mixed in. Brown is a top tier scoring talent and 1 on 1 talent, but he is a bad team basketball player on both sides of the court. A lot of the scoring talent discrepancy can be made up for there and you can save tons of money doing it and avoid some of the hard cap issues. I don’t have an exact answer as to what the best deal for Brown is, but I’m confident enough there would be a return somewhere worth taking if he was shopped.

I’d also look to move Smart. The culture needs to change and he’s starting to decline already, and with him that process might get ugly fast. Thanks for the memories, loved watching the guy, but when it’s time it’s time. You should be able to get a pretty decent return for him, as well.
This pretty much mirrors my current thoughts which I was trying to decide if I wanted to post or not lol

If Tatum wants JB, he can have him. If Tatum wants JM, he can have him.

I've always thought the idea that Tatum/Brown couldn't co-exist & that we needed to trade one was crazy... but Jaylen coming up so small yesterday was awful & has me rethinking if he's really that guy. I'm almost certainly overreacting to a small sample size, but it seems pretty clear if they can get enough back for him, they should be able to form a more formidable playoff core. Whether Tatum is ok with it & whether there is a good enough package out there are the only real sticking points.
 

Salem's Lot

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As I noted in the game thread, Wyc is not going to open the wallet just to win conference finalist banners.
You keep repeating this in this forum, and I don’t understand the basis for it. Wyc has never shown an unwillingness to retain top talent, especially when the alternative is to make a pennies on the dollar trade, and most likely end up back in the lottery. About 26 owners would love to be in Wyc’s situation right now.
 

BigSoxFan

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This pretty much mirrors my current thoughts which I was trying to decide if I wanted to post or not lol

If Tatum wants JB, he can have him. If Tatum wants JM, he can have him.

I've always thought the idea that Tatum/Brown couldn't co-exist & that we needed to trade one was crazy... but Jaylen coming up so small yesterday was awful & has me rethinking if he's really that guy. I'm almost certainly overreacting to a small sample size, but it seems pretty clear if they can get enough back for him, they should be able to form a more formidable playoff core. Whether Tatum is ok with it & whether there is a good enough package out there are the only real sticking points.
Fair or not, Jaylen is now the face of this season’s failure, both locally and nationwide. Since Tatum wants him back, he’ll be back. But he’ll have to own that decision because it will severely limit what Brad can do to improve the team. You’re basically going all-in with a group that time and time again falls short due to the same recurring mistakes.
 

lovegtm

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You keep repeating this in this forum, and I don’t understand the basis for it. Wyc has never shown an unwillingness to retain top talent, especially when the alternative is to make a pennies on the dollar trade, and most likely end up back in the lottery. About 26 owners would love to be in Wyc’s situation right now.
Yes, the roster constraints of the super tax will clearly be a bigger factor than will Wyc's wallet.

Also, these last few years haven't been 2017 fool's gold conference finalist stuff. They legit could have won the title in 2020, 2022, and 2023 with some better injury/gameplay breaks and minor upgrades between the ears.

The Bucks are seen as vindicated because of that 2021 title, but they've been worse in the postseason than the Cs outside of that, and needed a lot of breaks of their own to get that one.
 

RoDaddy

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Another sad end of the season result - most of them are no matter what team you follow - but I got my Paul Pierce number 34 jersey on now headed to the Y to play bball as Celtics nation will still forever bleed green
 

PedrosRedGlove

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Do you have to believe it? This core has been at it for 6 years and they have stagnated and even regressed at times. Even if you call Tatum's rookie year a fluke, they seem to have established a level... that isn't good enough.
You don't have to, but I think you'd be really hard pressed to find a better alternative.

The main issue might be our expectations. They haven't been at it for 6 years like that. The 2018 Cinderella run to the ECF makes it feel like it's been forever, but this group didn't really become the actual "core" until the bubble. Until that point Tatum and Brown were developing role players supporting Kyrie/Kemba+Al+Gordon. The level they've established as the core is one of the youngest perennial conference finalists the league has ever seen.

Brown especially has almost been a victim of their "contending" rosters. He could potentially be at an even higher level now (perhaps a slightly better ball handler or team defender) had his individual development not been subjugated in the name of "winning culture" under earlier cores. How many #3 picks only get 17 minutes a game with a very short leash defensively so Isaiah Thomas can "compete" for a title? Then in Year 3 have to take a backseat to a rehabbing Gordon Hayward, again because of totally fruitless title aspirations? It's not surprising that his handle still lags behind where it should be, he wasn't really given those in-game opportunities as other top picks are until recently.

That's a tangent but my point is we're holding these young kids to very high standards, and I don't think it's fair to hold them accountable like that for the team's failures in their early years, when the roster was constructed much differently.

Kliq had an excellent summary at the beginning of the thread, narratives aside, we're holding Tatum and Brown to standards that only LeBron has been held to previously.
Well, while they came up short in the Finals last year, they were also two games short of winning the whole thing. They aren't that far away, and slightly better three point shooting in a few Finals games and they are world champions. This is different to me than a team like Philly, that has never even made the conference finals.

Re: Tatum and Brown, and especially Tatum since he is our best player, I think because they were extremely competitive at such a young as a team people maybe expect them to have won something by now, but that isn't really true. Tatum is 25 years old, here is how old a bunch of great players were when they won their first title as the best players on a championship team:

LeBron - 27
Curry - 27
Durant - 28
Giannis - 26
Kawhi - 27 (younger on the SA team and probably their most complete player, but also shared the court with a bunch of hardened post season killers)
Dirk - 32
Kobe - 30 (obviously not the best player on the Shaq teams)
Shaq - 27

It's very frustrating since the title window feels open and the Celtics have been in the mix for a few years now that they haven't been able to get it done, and potentially getting swept by a Miami team is extra salt in the wound. It sucks super, super hard. But Brown and especially Tatum are really too young to be rushing to any judgements on what they can and cannot accomplish. When ace playoff killer Jimmy Butler was 25, he was making his first all-star game and getting bounced in the second round.
Supermax Jaylen. I'm not sure what to do with Smart, or the best direction to go with Joe Mazzulla, but the only way I'd break up Tatum and Brown is if one of them asks for it.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Thoughts in no particular order.

1. Last year's Celtics had an identity as a defense-first team. Rob's injury limited them, but that was enough to carry them into the finals. This year's team has no identity. The defensive intensity they showed under Ime came and went. There were early season signs of developing the offense but they did not establish an offensive identity to ofset abandoning the defensive one.

2. The team's halfcourt offense is slow, stupid, and not hard to play against. The team has shown that it can generate open threes by driving and kicking out, but its efforts to do that come and go. It is pretty common for the Celtics to have whole sets where only one player touches the ball and ends up taking a constested shot. Mazzulla has defended the team's habit of early clock threes by saying that the defense gets tougher as the clock winds down. But if that is true, why is the team so slow about setting up in the halfcourt? It's as if they do not play fast or slow as a matter of principle, but just do whicher is easier in the moment.

3. To offset not having a competent offense, they rely on star play from their stars and hitting threes. Against a team with a smart, committed, defense, that's not enough innthe playoffs. Or, at least, it wasn't enough for this team.

4. Whether the fault lies with players or coach, it seems as if minutes and playing time decisions, esepcially in the 4th quarter, are made by a pecking order rather than asking what is best for the team in the moment. Derrick White was the lowest non-big in the pecking order, so until the Brogdon was hurt White had few crunch time minutes and he was the guy who lost minutes when Mazzulla went with 2 bigs. And most of his offense was opportunistic - they don't let him run the offense much because he is behind all the other rotation guards and wings.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Brown especially has almost been a victim of their "contending" rosters. He could potentially be at an even higher level now (perhaps a slightly better ball handler or team defender) had his individual development not been subjugated in the name of "winning culture" under earlier cores. How many #3 picks only get 17 minutes a game with a very short leash defensively so Isaiah Thomas can "compete" for a title? Then in Year 3 have to take a backseat to a rehabbing Gordon Hayward, again because of totally fruitless title aspirations? It's not surprising that his handle still lags behind where it should be, he wasn't really given those in-game opportunities as other top picks are until recently.
I think this is absurd. Around the All Star game, Brown was quoted as saying he had sacrified in order to be on this team. Sacrified what, exactly? Status, I guess. But, Brown was:
  • 14th in the league in points, despite missing 15 games
  • 9th in points per game (Tatum was 6th)
  • 8th in field goals (Tatum 2nd)
  • 8th in FGA (Tatum 1st)
He's clearly getting plenty of touches, shots, and points.

Some of his struggles relate to individual skills. Why doesn't a driving athlete like him get to the line? Why can he not improve the ballhndling?

I just think he is overrated and he is a beneficiary of the attentioon paid to JT.
 

Jakarta

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1) Resign JB for the supermax. Running it back with JT and JB seems like the best starting point.
2) Let Grant find an offer he likes and match it assuming it’s reasonable.
3) Move Smart, ideally for a long-term big man or another wing to rebalance the roster. Someone mentioned Nurkic which I think would be reasonable although isn’t particularly long-term.
4) Trade PP for a big man or wing (whichever position Smart doesn’t bring back). He seems like he wouldn’t be happy being back here, although perhaps without Smart there would be enough minutes for him in the regular season.
5) Lean into Tatum as point forward. His play making has gotten good enough that this seems like the best way to maximize the rest of the roster. Makes acquiring the best player available in future trades easier.
6) Get a veteran assistant coach or 2 to help CJM grow.
 

jezza1918

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Do you have to believe it? This core has been at it for 6 years and they have stagnated and even regressed at times. Even if you call Tatum's rookie year a fluke, they seem to have established a level... that isn't good enough.
I push back on this in two minor ways - I really dont view the core of this team being together for 6 years. I think Danny recognized he had a chance to capitalize on young Jays and brought in the Kyrie and Haywards of the world, then Kemba when Kyrie left. I dont view it as being the Jays lead team until the post bubble year when Kemba and Hayward were gone. The other thing is while I agree the established team level hasnt been good enough, Tatum ultimately drives this train and continues to level up. Extreme hypothetical question - do you think the 2024/2025 version of Tatum on this years team is good enough to close out Philly a game sooner, and figure out a way to close out at least one of the opening two games of this series? I do.
I still dont just want them running it back, so to speak. But I think you could make the argument they should solely based on Tatum reaching another level.
 

Devizier

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I am generally on board with the run it back strategy. The basic calculus is that the team is relatively young (Horford excepted) and most moves are going to be lateral moves at best. Looking at the teams in the finals and last year's champions is another argument in favor of this strategy. There's going to be year to year variance and it pays to bank on a breakthrough.

However, if there is a deal to be had, it's probably going to be centered around Jaylen. And the prospect of a massive extension is definitely something that might give Brad et al. pause going forward. Teams are clearly interested and unlike the other players that folks are ready to throw overboard there is an outside chance that the Celtics could get equal or better value in return. I would certainly listen to offers but I wouldn't be rushing out to make them.

One thing I'd like to see is more run from the deep bench in the regular season. Not just to preserve the main guys but to see if they can get something from those guys in the playoffs. It's an approach that's paid off for the Heat and the Warriors whereas the Celtics have been running out their top 7 (sometimes 8) the last few playoffs even as guys wear out/break down.
 

kazuneko

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Thoughts in no particular order.

1. Last year's Celtics had an identity as a defense-first team. Rob's injury limited them, but that was enough to carry them into the finals. This year's team has no identity. The defensive intensity they showed under Ime came and went. There were early season signs of developing the offense but they did not establish an offensive identity to ofset abandoning the defensive one.

2. The team's halfcourt offense is slow, stupid, and not hard to play against. The team has shown that it can generate open threes by driving and kicking out, but its efforts to do that come and go. It is pretty common for the Celtics to have whole sets where only one player touches the ball and ends up taking a constested shot. Mazzulla has defended the team's habit of early clock threes by saying that the defense gets tougher as the clock winds down. But if that is true, why is the team so slow about setting up in the halfcourt? It's as if they do not play fast or slow as a matter of principle, but just do whicher is easier in the moment.

3. To offset not having a competent offense, they rely on star play from their stars and hitting threes. Against a team with a smart, committed, defense, that's not enough innthe playoffs. Or, at least, it wasn't enough for this team.

4. Whether the fault lies with players or coach, it seems as if minutes and playing time decisions, esepcially in the 4th quarter, are made by a pecking order rather than asking what is best for the team in the moment. Derrick White was the lowest non-big in the pecking order, so until the Brogdon was hurt White had few crunch time minutes and he was the guy who lost minutes when Mazzulla went with 2 bigs. And most of his offense was opportunistic - they don't let him run the offense much because he is behind all the other rotation guards and wings.
Not sure how Mazzulla doesn’t deserve a lot of the blame for all of these points. Number 4 (minutes being decided by a pecking order) has been particularly maddening and seems like it’s entirely his fault.
It is the coach’s job to decide who plays and when each player gets their minutes. One of the best stories of the season was White emerging as a potential star, and that has come despite Mazz’s hesitancy to trust him. White has consistently deserved more crunch times minutes and Mazz has consistently ignored that in favor of Smart and Brogdon.
 

JM3

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Fair or not, Jaylen is now the face of this season’s failure, both locally and nationwide. Since Tatum wants him back, he’ll be back. But he’ll have to own that decision because it will severely limit what Brad can do to improve the team. You’re basically going all-in with a group that time and time again falls short due to the same recurring mistakes.
Well..I don't think we can possibly know if JT actually wants JB back. His messaging should be that he does regardless of what he says behind closed doors because having a teammate's back publicly is the right thing to do & to increase trade value if he actually is traded because you aren't creating the sense that he needs to be traded for whatever the best bag of balls offered is.

But yeah, he probably does, but we'll see.
 

lovegtm

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Thoughts in no particular order.

1. Last year's Celtics had an identity as a defense-first team. Rob's injury limited them, but that was enough to carry them into the finals. This year's team has no identity. The defensive intensity they showed under Ime came and went. There were early season signs of developing the offense but they did not establish an offensive identity to ofset abandoning the defensive one.

2. The team's halfcourt offense is slow, stupid, and not hard to play against. The team has shown that it can generate open threes by driving and kicking out, but its efforts to do that come and go. It is pretty common for the Celtics to have whole sets where only one player touches the ball and ends up taking a constested shot. Mazzulla has defended the team's habit of early clock threes by saying that the defense gets tougher as the clock winds down. But if that is true, why is the team so slow about setting up in the halfcourt? It's as if they do not play fast or slow as a matter of principle, but just do whicher is easier in the moment.

3. To offset not having a competent offense, they rely on star play from their stars and hitting threes. Against a team with a smart, committed, defense, that's not enough innthe playoffs. Or, at least, it wasn't enough for this team.

4. Whether the fault lies with players or coach, it seems as if minutes and playing time decisions, esepcially in the 4th quarter, are made by a pecking order rather than asking what is best for the team in the moment. Derrick White was the lowest non-big in the pecking order, so until the Brogdon was hurt White had few crunch time minutes and he was the guy who lost minutes when Mazzulla went with 2 bigs. And most of his offense was opportunistic - they don't let him run the offense much because he is behind all the other rotation guards and wings.
There are different possible reasons for finding fault, but I generally agree that they need to find some fault.

Running it back identically doesn't feel like the answer.
 

bosockboy

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11-12 at home over two postseasons is a symptom of SOMETHING. They’ve had so many elimination games because they can’t win at home. Suggests something that’s less about play and more between the ears.

They need a shift in leadership and to put Jaylen in better spots to succeed. Letting him facilitate and expecting teams not to trap him is the definition of insanity.

Move Marcus, it’s time.
 

Auger34

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I think this is absurd. Around the All Star game, Brown was quoted as saying he had sacrified in order to be on this team. Sacrified what, exactly? Status, I guess. But, Brown was:
  • 14th in the league in points, despite missing 15 games
  • 9th in points per game (Tatum was 6th)
  • 8th in field goals (Tatum 2nd)
  • 8th in FGA (Tatum 1st)
He's clearly getting plenty of touches, shots, and points.

Some of his struggles relate to individual skills. Why doesn't a driving athlete like him get to the line? Why can he not improve the ballhndling?

I just think he is overrated and he is a beneficiary of the attentioon paid to JT.
He’s talking about his career development. Which, if you read after the part you bolded, isn’t really that tough to figure out.

Everyone but the star of the team has to sacrifice something.

And weren’t you talking about how Tatum wasn’t an alpha as recently as like a week ago?
 

Eddie Jurak

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There are different possible reasons for finding fault, but I generally agree that they need to find some fault.

Running it back identically doesn't feel like the answer.
I also wonder what went on behind the scenes this year. Some of the player comments in the wake of the loss kind of have the feel of players who are ready to be done now. Have no idea what the issue might be but I think there is something there.
 

PedrosRedGlove

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I think this is absurd. Around the All Star game, Brown was quoted as saying he had sacrified in order to be on this team. Sacrified what, exactly? Status, I guess. But, Brown was:
  • 14th in the league in points, despite missing 15 games
  • 9th in points per game (Tatum was 6th)
  • 8th in field goals (Tatum 2nd)
  • 8th in FGA (Tatum 1st)
He's clearly getting plenty of touches, shots, and points.

Some of his struggles relate to individual skills. Why doesn't a driving athlete like him get to the line? Why can he not improve the ballhndling?

I just think he is overrated and he is a beneficiary of the attentioon paid to JT.
I mean you could've just read what I wrote after the bolded. I wasn't referring to what he has sacrificed this year.

You're complaining that they've been at this for 6 years. Well, 5 years ago, in what could have been a huge break out year 3, Jaylen took a cut in minutes AND shots for Gordon Hayward. Seven years ago, he was treated like a project subordinate to a feel good run with a 5'9" point guard.

He has sacrificed a tremendous amount of on court development as a primary option for the sake of this team's contention. The numbers you point out are purely a testament to Jaylen's ability to develop and grow as a player. Just imagine where he might be individually if he had taken say the SGA route, 35 minutes and 15 shots a game starting Year 2.
 

Auger34

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One of the most annoying parts of the result yesterday was knowing how the narrative around Brown would shift and people would come out of the woodwork to try and rewrite history.

He was absolutely fucking awful yesterday. Full stop. No defending that performance.

Jaylen is a top 20-25 player in the NBA. He made 2nd team All-NBA this year. That was because of injuries to KD, LeBron and AD, but hes still in the top tier of players.

His major weakness is his handle. That part is undeniable. He took meaningful steps as a playmaker/distributor this year but it’s hard to distribute the ball or make plays for others when you’re getting stripped of the ball.

All of the recent talk about how he’s such a bad defender is bullshit and people latching onto something they’ve read a few times here and amplifying it. He was an absolute stud defending on ball all playoffs. The talk about how bad he is off ball has really gone off the rails. He’s not good off ball but to act like he’s some death knell to team defense is a joke. He’s below average. If you want to talk about bad off-ball defense, pull up clips of Malcolm Brogdon getting back cut.

One more thing I want to add to this, we all saw that he was having issues with his hand and then Bam fell on his arm and fucked up his elbow/wrist/shoulder. It was mentioned on the broadcast consistently how he looked in pain and it was effecting him. Maybe let’s give him a little bit of the benefit of the doubt there?
 

kazuneko

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11-12 at home over two postseasons is a symptom of SOMETHING. They’ve had so many elimination games because they can’t win at home. Suggests something that’s less about play and more between the ears.

They need a shift in leadership and to put Jaylen in better spots to succeed. Letting him facilitate and expecting teams not to trap him is the definition of insanity.

Move Marcus, it’s time.
I love that shifting leadership means trading Marcus..lol.
I’m actually not opposed to trading Marcus (because of White’s emergence and pressing needs elsewhere) but if leadership is the problem wouldn’t they also want to can Mazzulla?
 

Mooch

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The issue with trading Smart is that he's far more valuble on this team than any other and I bet that most NBA teams know this also. If you trade Marcus, you probably don't get equal value in return, even as he starts the decline phase of his career.
 

JM3

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The issue with trading Smart is that he's far more valuble on this team than any other and I bet that most NBA teams know this also. If you trade Marcus, you probably don't get equal value in return, even as he starts the decline phase of his career.
What about the way the Celtics are constructed makes Smart more valuable to them than he would be to another team?

Was just skimming the on/off #s for the Celtics this past season & it seems to line up pretty good with my desired off-season outcomes...

White +9.8
Tatum +5.5
TL +4.5
Horford +2.5
Smart -1.4
Brogdon -2.7
Grant -2.7
Brown -3.8
 

mostman

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The issue with trading Smart is that he's far more valuble on this team than any other and I bet that most NBA teams know this also. If you trade Marcus, you probably don't get equal value in return, even as he starts the decline phase of his career.
I’m pretty worn out on Smart, especially with his defense starting to slide. However, I don’t think he needs to be traded. He just needs his role reduced. I’d put him behind White on the depth chart at this point.
 

JM3

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What about the way the Celtics are constructed makes Smart more valuable to them than he would be to another team?

Was just skimming the on/off #s for the Celtics this past season & it seems to line up pretty good with my desired off-season outcomes...

White +9.8
Tatum +5.5
TL +4.5
Horford +2.5
Smart -1.4
Brogdon -2.7
Grant -2.7
Brown -3.8
Here are the playoff #s...

Tatum +5.7
Brogdon +4.8
Horford +2.4
Smart +2.3
TL 0.0
Jaylen -6.5
White -7.1
Grant -9.6
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Smart in a reduced role coming off the bench where he can save his legs and return to form on defense would be ideal. Having to tell him that's the plan going forward is less than ideal.
 

jablo1312

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Sep 20, 2005
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Brad is not going to coach the team again. Ship has sailed.

I think it's going to take a while to fully understand the ramifications of this CBA, but the impacts on teams w/ highly paid vets can't be overstated. Milwaukee is gonna pay 91% of the projected cap to Giannis-Middleton-Holiday in 23/24. It really will be difficult to build a champ roster around someone making 35% of the cap unless they're a top 3 player in the league. More difficult to do so around 2 guys making 35% each. Difficult doesn't mean impossible though, and you'd rather be dealing w/ that problem then not dealing with it in most cases (i.e. they're obviously going to give Tatum the super max next off-season).

There are trade offs here- you trade Smart you probably lower your defensive ceiling, which we all want the team to raise back to 2022 levels. Brogdon was great all season, and uneven in the playoffs but had huge moments before he got hurt this series and was completely ineffective. You move him you need to find a facilitator (and maybe even need to do so anyways). Let Grant walk, and then who replaces him/what do you do when Horford is finally cooked?

I don’t know the answers here but it’s also true that every other contending team will be dealing with these issues shortly. Unless we have a situation where something like Franz/Banchero/player X all become All-NBA caliber within their first 5 years in the league you most likely won’t be dealing with super teams in the playoffs. Gun to head I think you try to extend Brown and run it back another year.
 

bigq

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There are different possible reasons for finding fault, but I generally agree that they need to find some fault.

Running it back identically doesn't feel like the answer.
Running it back identically is not really possible though when taking into consideration the full roster and coaching staff but it would not be a bad play in my opinion. The objective is to give the team the best chance of advancing to the Finals and winning. I think this team as currently constituted gives you an excellent chance at a championship despite its warts and limitations and is as good or better than any roster in the NBA.

Tatum and Brown remain a fantastic young 1-2 combo that any other team in the league would love to have. And the supporting cast is quite strong as well. They were unable to advance to the finals this year and that is disappointing but it seems unlikely that this is their last bite at the apple.

I am interested to see what PBS does in the offseason however a reasonably safe approach with relatively high probability of success would be to give Mazzulla the summer to build out his coaching staff and implement his playbook while bringing back largely the same roster. Grieving fans may disagree however that feels like a logical path.

I also wouldn't be surprised if PBS pulls off some form of substantial trade however I feel it is unlikely that Jaylen Brown is going anywhere.