2017 Celtics Offseason: News and General Discussion

snowmanny

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They are, but internally, they follow the trend. Their projections say 44 wins, their people are predicting 50+. Projections do not like the Boston Celtics for some reason or another. We'll see who is right.
Yes, thanks for clarifying their rankings. Their "Real Plus Minus" had them at 44 wins which was around 12th overall, and their "Summer Forecast" by their writers was 54 wins which was at the top of the East.
 

CreedBratton

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I'm predicting 50-55 wins. If forced to pick one number, I'd go with 53.
This sounds right. I feel some of those projections are underselling how terrible most of the east is. Knicks, hawks, pacers, bulls are all easy 3-4 wins from each. Add in the nets and magic and you’re looking at around 24 wins that should be locks (injuries, back to backs stuff like that I know could skew this) but The Celtics should be good for 53 for sure.
 

bosox79

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I think Bowiac was saying the disparity was because of depth and I'd have to agree. Going into preseason I was pretty meh on the bench, but now I'm pretty bullish. The team is 9 deep and then filled with hungry rookies who have shown flashes of what they can do. I know it's not logical, but it almost feels like one of the lesser known rookies is bound to be a steal just through quantity alone. Add in Ainge's penchant for getting useful players in the 2nd round, and it seems a recipe for success. Even if it doesn't happen, we are still 9 deep. That's fine, come playoff time.

edit: To clarify, Semi, Yabu, Theis and Nader have impressed me at points this preseason.

double edit: Tatum too, obviously, but I don't group him in with the rest of the rookies.
 

Montana Fan

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I'm predicting 50-55 wins. If forced to pick one number, I'd go with 53.
I'm in the mid-50's camp as well. I think people are discounting how good a shooting team this is going to be and how weak the east is. I think a top 5 scoring team and a top 10 defensive team in a weak east will easily win 50 games. My window is 53-58.

The thing I'm most looking forward to this season is the shooting. Brad turned a bunch of bricklayers into a very good 3 point shooting team. Irving, Hayward and Tatum are going to get more open shots than they ever have and that's going to translate to W's.
 

JakeRae

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Statistical systems are going to peg the Celtics around 47 or 48 wins. That's a very reasonable number, but there are also significant reasons for optimism about the odds of exceeding that projection.

First, Kyrie Irving may be a significantly better player in a real offense. He has shown signs of adjusting to Steven's system and playing differently already.

Second, Smart, Rozier, Brown, and Tatum are all guys who have potential to significantly over perform projections. If Smart has figured out how to contribute offensively and Brown has learned how to play NBA team defense, those are both things the numbers aren't capturing that might be real.

On the downside, the projections probably aren't accounting for the impact of this team needing to learn to play together. That could cost wins early in the season.

The projection systems are correct to not expect the Celtics to have several players take their games to new levels this year and, if they don't, we are a mid to upper 40 win team. Analysts are also overrating our talent though. Splitting the difference of the analysts and the statistics and expecting about 50 wins is probably about right with reasonable health.
 

nighthob

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The first half schedule is going to be brutal, the London game is the 44th game of the year, during the 12 week run-up to London I expect them to play .600 ball and have 24-26 wins. The upside is that the roughness of the schedule is going to mean a lot of time for the bench and the 10-12 guys in the rotation in order to keep everyone fresh.

But I expect them to be a .700+ team the rest of the way, so I put them in the 52-54 win range overall.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Jayson Tatum likely to start the opener for the Celtics, as Marcus Morris has some knee soreness and may miss the first week or so.
 

nighthob

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I don't think 5 is happening, since I think you can only have one of those 5 year extensions per team? I imagine they'd be saving that for Tatum or Brown if one of them hit his upside.
Just to play devil's advocate here, Brown and Tatum, if they hit their upsides, are inarguably max players. So there's actually a good argument to be made for giving Smart the five year extension (assuming that it doesn't come with an ETO).

I think that barring injury Tatum, just due to his insane level of skill, is guaranteed a max deal in restricted free agency (and Boston shouldn't screw around with him and force an outside offer to save a few bucks). Honestly there's a decent chance that when he finally achieves UFA status that he's eligible for the DVPE supermax (the premature bump to 35%). Again, barring injury I think that by the time his second post-rookie contract takes place he'll be a 24/8 performer and have made some All-NBA teams. So, for all intents and purposes, I think it quite likely that by the end of his seventh season he'll be eligible for a 35% max extension and Boston gratefully sign him to it.

That leaves us with Brown, if Boston signed him to a five year extension coming off his rookie deal, he would be a tenth year player when the contract was up. With a four year extension, he'd be coming in to year nine, so the odds of getting him to sign an extension are higher, and they could possibly squeeze a 30% max season out of him if he hits his ceiling.

In Smart's case, if they could get him to sign a 5/80 extension and he showed progress towards hitting his ceiling, it would become the most valuable contract in the NBA overnight. So, combined with the extra leverage they'd get with Brown, if they believe that the Smart they've seen in the preseason is who he's going to be going forward, then the five year extension might not be a bad idea.
 

the moops

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I get the Tatum love. I do.

But 24/8 is a super ridiculous high bar for him to reach. There have only been 12 players to do that in the past 10 years.
 

moly99

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I get that the analytics don't "like" the Celtics that much.
It's not so much that they don't like the new Celtics as they love several of the guys we lost. We have gone from having an all-time great collection of role players to relying on a bunch of rookies and sophmores to provide a huge chunk of minutes and maybe even start.
 

Cellar-Door

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If Ainge decides to fill the last roster spot... Bolomboy who the Jazz just cut is an interesting young big
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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lovegtm said:
don't think 5 is happening, since I think you can only have one of those 5 year extensions per team? I imagine they'd be saving that for Tatum or Brown if one of them hit his upside.
New CBA allows 2 per team. See #24 in http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm

Just to play devil's advocate here, Brown and Tatum, if they hit their upsides, are inarguably max players. So there's actually a good argument to be made for giving Smart the five year extension (assuming that it doesn't come with an ETO).

I think that barring injury Tatum, just due to his insane level of skill, is guaranteed a max deal in restricted free agency (and Boston shouldn't screw around with him and force an outside offer to save a few bucks). Honestly there's a decent chance that when he finally achieves UFA status that he's eligible for the DVPE supermax (the premature bump to 35%). Again, barring injury I think that by the time his second post-rookie contract takes place he'll be a 24/8 performer and have made some All-NBA teams. So, for all intents and purposes, I think it quite likely that by the end of his seventh season he'll be eligible for a 35% max extension and Boston gratefully sign him to it.

That leaves us with Brown, if Boston signed him to a five year extension coming off his rookie deal, he would be a tenth year player when the contract was up. With a four year extension, he'd be coming in to year nine, so the odds of getting him to sign an extension are higher, and they could possibly squeeze a 30% max season out of him if he hits his ceiling.

In Smart's case, if they could get him to sign a 5/80 extension and he showed progress towards hitting his ceiling, it would become the most valuable contract in the NBA overnight. So, combined with the extra leverage they'd get with Brown, if they believe that the Smart they've seen in the preseason is who he's going to be going forward, then the five year extension might not be a bad idea.
Are you are arguing that giving Smart a 5 year extension would help negotiate against Tatum or Brown? That seems counterproductive since the idea of the five-year extension is to allow for more money to be offered to make it more attractive to stay. Without a five-year extension to use for Tatum/Brown, the Cs lose one advantage.

I'm pretty sure that Smart isn't getting 5 years. DA has only signed extensions when it's helpful to the Cs.
 

lovegtm

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New CBA allows 2 per team. See #24 in http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm



Are you are arguing that giving Smart a 5 year extension would help negotiate against Tatum or Brown? That seems counterproductive since the idea of the five-year extension is to allow for more money to be offered to make it more attractive to stay. Without a five-year extension to use for Tatum/Brown, the Cs lose one advantage.

I'm pretty sure that Smart isn't getting 5 years. DA has only signed extensions when it's helpful to the Cs.
He's saying that by doing Smart for 5 years at sub-max, you can tell Jaylen your hands are tied and have to do 4 for him. Then when Jaylen hits FA, he does it as a 9 year rather than 10 year guy, and is correspondingly cheaper. I think nighthob wants to give Tatum the 5-year since he anticipates that he'll be very obviously worth it.

I'm not sure I agree with trying to plan this far ahead, but if you get two 5-year extensions now, I can see a good case for getting Smart at 5/80 rather than 4/68, just because if he pans out, those final 2 or 3 years are ridiculous value at a time when that value will really matter.
 

lovegtm

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All that said, I expect that 1 of Jaylen/Marcus/Tatum will end up getting moved even if they all hit their upsides, because it's just too cost-prohibitive to pay them all along with Kyrie. I'd imagine the hope is that one of them is the centerpiece for an AD-type deal, or get rolled over into a king's ransom of future assets.

This is all mostly head-wanking anyway: having all 3 hit their upsides would be a great problem, and is unlikely to happen. But as OKC showed, it *does* happen sometimes, and you get really poor value for hitting a once in a generation jackpot if you aren't prepared to handle it.
 

nighthob

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Are you are arguing that giving Smart a 5 year extension would help negotiate against Tatum or Brown?
No, I'm saying that it will almost certainly have no bearing on Tatum's situation and there's an advantage to having Brown hit unrestricted free agency while he's still a 30% player than when he's a 35% one.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I'm not sure what this means for the future, they're going to need to dip well into the tax to stay competitive
Just a guess, but I think it means 'we're happy to write the check for rare guys who really help us win, but if you can't hit your jumper enough and stay slim you aren't quite enough for the size check you want'

They can match whatever he gets as a RFA, so this is really about whether their current valuation of him is close enough to his own.
 

Cellar-Door

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Just a guess, but I think it means 'we're happy to write the check for rare guys who really help us win, but if you can't hit your jumper enough and stay slim you aren't quite enough for the size check you want'

They can match whatever he gets as a RFA, so this is really about whether their current valuation of him is close enough to his own.
Also could be a timing thing. They might be willing to go up to the number he wants if it's as a match this summer after they've made other moves (his cap hold will only be like 9M I think?) but not now when it might hamper them from doing things for fear of getting hard capped.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I wish a deal had been made, but I can't fault either side for not getting one done. Just too much distance between the sides. I don't blame the Celtics for not giving up their RFA leverage or Smart for recognizing that he has a great chance to raise his value this year.
 

mcpickl

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Also could be a timing thing. They might be willing to go up to the number he wants if it's as a match this summer after they've made other moves (his cap hold will only be like 9M I think?) but not now when it might hamper them from doing things for fear of getting hard capped.
This shouldn't matter.

Any extension would've kicked in next season, not immediately. Next summer they'll be over the cap assuming they haven't moved any of their big contracts. Smart being signed now, or his cap hold(it's 11.3M), wouldn't make a cap difference.

I think it's just as simple as they couldn't agree on a price.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Oh well. I would be shocked if Smart was back with the Cs next year. Some team is going to give him a max or near-max contract that the Cs just can't afford.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I'm not sure what this means for the future, they're going to need to dip well into the tax to stay competitive
Right......but do you want to commit $15-17m pre-tax to a 4th option when you have other potential 4th options coming up on cheap rookie deals? Smart could grow into more than a high-end role player elsewhere but on a team with the ball in Kyrie and Gordon's hands as Horford initiates sets as well his contributions are pretty maxed out as they are now.
 

JakeRae

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Right......but do you want to commit $15-17m pre-tax to a 4th option when you have other potential 4th options coming up on cheap rookie deals? Smart could grow into more than a high-end role player elsewhere but on a team with the ball in Kyrie and Gordon's hands as Horford initiates sets as well his contributions are pretty maxed out as they are now.
We'll never know, but I doubt that $15-17 million was Smart's ask. There was no point in even engaging on an extension if the Celtics wouldn't go to about $15 million.

I also would not be confident they won't reach a deal in the summer. RFA heavily favors the team and Ainge knows this. He was surely bargaining against that backdrop.
 

DrewDawg

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Inside Story on the Celtics Offseason: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/celtics/2017/10/16/the-inside-story-celtics-crazy-offseason/Jf3aPGVyVYygzSwpMkwloK/story.html

On the Kyrie trade:

“I know Koby pretty well, so I called and said, ‘Hey, is this real?’ ” Zarren said. “And he said he didn’t think everything that was reported was right, but that they might look into moving Kyrie if the right trade came along, but that it would depend on the situation. And, also, they probably didn’t want to trade him to us. He said that right away.”
 
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bowiac

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Right......but do you want to commit $15-17m pre-tax to a 4th option when you have other potential 4th options coming up on cheap rookie deals? Smart could grow into more than a high-end role player elsewhere but on a team with the ball in Kyrie and Gordon's hands as Horford initiates sets as well his contributions are pretty maxed out as they are now.
Calling Smart a 4th option really misses the point of the value he brings to a team. You're not paying him $17M for his ability to create his own shot with 3 seconds left on the clock - you're paying for his defense and versatility. I think it's an open question whether his defense on the perimeter is actually as good as his reputation, but if you think it is, then the fact that he's a 4th option on offense shouldn't be a stumbling block. Offense remains only (about) half the game.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Calling Smart a 4th option really misses the point of the value he brings to a team. You're not paying him $17M for his ability to create his own shot with 3 seconds left on the clock - you're paying for his defense and versatility. I think it's an open question whether his defense on the perimeter is actually as good as his reputation, but if you think it is, then the fact that he's a 4th option on offense shouldn't be a stumbling block. Offense remains only (about) half the game.
I wasn't only meaning offensive option moreso in how much value your 4th best player is to the team and how steep is the dropoff to his replacement. You also have Rozier and Jaylen who can replace him defensively as well.

I don't feel the dropoff to them is worth paying the large contract along with the extra tax now and beginning the repeater tax next season. There would be consequences to this contract down the road when we are contending for championships.
 

Eddie Jurak

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That game 1 was maybe the strangest NBA game I've ever seen. Thoughts:

1. The Hayward injury was nothing less than heartbreaking. Thank God the early reports are optimistic, if you can call "almost certainly done for the season" optimistic.

2. The Celtics, save Jaylen, were understandably in a funk throughout the rest of the first half. Down 16 after being up 3 when Hayward went down.

3. Jaylen Brown, with 10 first half points, was almost the only Celtic who did anythign at all in the first half after the injury. Looked strong in the second half, too. Lebron abused him at the end of the half, but that's to be expected. Ended playing 40 minutes and scoring a team leading 25 points, albeit on an ugly overall stat line. Still, I give him high marks under the circumstances.

4. Kyrie. Would have loved to see him hit that typing three at the end. Nice game with 22 and 10, and 3 steals. For this game he was more a PG than a ballhogging volume scorer, though they also had success when Smart came in and Kyrie moved off ball some. Looks like someone who will fit nicely into Stevens' plans.

5. Tatum. Missed everything in the first half, kind of like the first preseason game, but still contributed some rebounding. Early in the second half, Kyrie hit him with a nice lob for a dunk and that seemed to get him going, scored in a variety of nice smooth plays, even picking up an and 1 after Lebron fouled him on his way to the hoop. Double double with 14 and 10, leading team in rebounds. Very polished player, skill wise, and underrated athleticism. He's a guy you want to have the ball in his hands in transition.

6. Rozier. I put him here because he is the the anti-Tatum. Great athleticism and potential to be a decent shooter. But beyond rebounding, where he is terrific for a guard (especially one of his height), he is less than the sum of his skills and athleticism. This is a mind-numbingly bad player with the ball in his hands in transition. Almost the best that you can hope for is that he gets fouled, because, like Antoine Walker before him, he can neither finish a break at the rim nor make the right pass. Good bench player, but lack of feel for the game limits his upside severely.

7. Smart. This game was a tale of 2 Marcus Smarts. He entered the game for Hayward and proceeded to spend the next 24 minutes or so of game time playing as hard but out of controla s he ever gets. It was like he was out of phase with the game, and all of his hard work was going for naught. Was 2-11 from the field at one point. Brad put him back in late in the third and he was fully in phase and domainated the game for a short stretch during which the C's took the lead. Almost a double-double with 12 and 9. Abused Kyle Korver in the post and successfully posted up other guys they tried to put on him.

8. Horford. Not much of an impact on the stat sheet in this one. 9-7-5. Yet he led the Celtics in +/-.

9. Baynes. Mixed bag. Good on the boards and shooting, but picked up 5 fouls in 19 minutes and had a terrible stretch midway through the third where he made bad plays on D, then on O, then back on D.

All in all, I'm calling what happened in this game, aside from the Hayward injury, a moral victory. They lost one of their stars 5 minutes into game 1 with a horrific looking injury, played out the rest of the half in a fog, had to toss all of their planned rotations, etc, into the trash, and still battled back into the game and nearly knocked off the Cavs. That shows some character and talent.

Going forward without Hayward, the biggest concerns (not necessarily in this order) will be perimeter shooting, team defense, and overall depth. But we are still looking at a talented team.

Getting Marcus Morris back will help some. Semi Ojeleye played some, but most if not all of his minutes were in the first half and it is hard to read too much into that given the state of the team. But, FWIW, he didn't look anywhere near ready.
 

bosox79

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Jaylen's overall line wasn't ugly at all, at least if you mean box score. 25 points on 11-23 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 steals. 2-9 from 3 is ugly.

I'm also glad the Celtics held off on Smart to see if the shooting improvement is real.

Re Rozier: I think his main problem is consistency. That and the whole finishing thing that you mentioned. He is pretty good from 16 feet+ out and a decent FT shooter, so as you noted, it's possible he improves his 3 point range too but ultimately he's a bench player. He did improve a bit last year though and if he makes similar improvements this year, he'd be an incredibly valuable piece. With the Hayward injury, he's going to see an increase in minutes to show us what he can do. If he can hit 35-36% of his 3's, he's like an Avery Bradley with a worse shot but better ball distribution skills.
 

DrewDawg

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Tatum first Celtics rookie since Bird to go double-double in first game. Oddly enough, Bird also went for 14 and 10.
 

nighthob

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Tatum first Celtics rookie since Bird to go double-double in first game. Oddly enough, Bird also went for 14 and 10.
Woo hoo, Tatum for Hall of Fame, baby!

But, seriously, once he settled down in the second half he flashed some really nifty footwork that allowed him to even take LeBron off the dribble. There were the growing pains plays, too, like a couple of those missed (rushed/forced) treys and that premature post entry pass to Marcus. But all in all he's looking a star in the making. Once he finishes filling out he should be a monster.

Brown is a tougher case, last year playing off people he shot better than I expected, last night he did not, though he flashed the ability to get to the tin at will. In transition he can be a killer, for better and worse (that 1 on 3 drive late in the fourth, it was impressive all the way until the left handed finish attempt went awry). But it's still hard to see what the finished product will look like with him.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Re Rozier: I think his main problem is consistency. That and the whole finishing thing that you mentioned. He is pretty good from 16 feet+ out and a decent FT shooter, so as you noted, it's possible he improves his 3 point range too but ultimately he's a bench player. He did improve a bit last year though and if he makes similar improvements this year, he'd be an incredibly valuable piece. With the Hayward injury, he's going to see an increase in minutes to show us what he can do. If he can hit 35-36% of his 3's, he's like an Avery Bradley with a worse shot but better ball distribution skills.
I think his problem is lack of feel for the game. His success in the NBA will be a product of his athleticism (speed, rebounding) and skills (shooting). But he is so gawdawful on the fast break, whether he tries to score or to pass, that he'd almost be better off just hurling the ball into the stands - at least that would stop the clock and not lead to a break in the other direction. With his talent, he should be elite in the transition game, but instead he just isn't even good.

But, seriously, once he settled down in the second half he flashed some really nifty footwork that allowed him to even take LeBron off the dribble.
Exactly. He'll have his growing pains, but with his size, athleticism, and feel for the game he'll be an immediate contributor who can help on defense, offense, and on the glass.

Brown is a tougher case, last year playing off people he shot better than I expected, last night he did not, though he flashed the ability to get to the tin at will. In transition he can be a killer, for better and worse (that 1 on 3 drive late in the fourth, it was impressive all the way until the left handed finish attempt went awry). But it's still hard to see what the finished product will look like with him.
I liked the agressiveness he showed, despite missing a dunk and shooting poorly from deep. What I wonder is how much of that was a product of the Cavs, who are loaded with older, poor defensive players. He's a work in progress, and I don't see Tatum's upside, but I shudder to think what the halftime score would have beenlast night without Brown's effective play in that half.