Brad Stevens joined Chris Mannix on the latest Yahoo Sports NBA Podcast, discussing everything from Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward’s health, to the reports that Isaiah Thomas had reached out to the Boston Celtics about returning to his former team.
New @YahooSportsNBA Pod on Tuesday: Brad Stevens (@BCCoachStevens) on Game 7, LeBron going west, Boston’s battle for starting spots, playing with expectations, more.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) August 6, 2018
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Stevens had plenty of interesting thoughts regarding the team’s 2017-18 playoff run, while also looking forward to the upcoming season. The Celtics’ head coach noted that Irving and Hayward look good and should be fully cleared prior to the start of training camp. I’ll list some of the podcast’s highlights below, but if you’d like to listen for yourself, follow the link in the tweet above.
- Stevens said that he felt Jay Larranaga did a great job with the Celtics Summer League team. Now that their roster is set, they’ll turn to the “deep planning of the offensive, defensive practice plans.”
- Asked about Game 7, Stevens pointed out that the Celtics held the Cleveland Cavaliers to 87 points. He said they were defending well, but not converting. “There’s no question we’re itching to get started. As good as that run was, it was a bad taste in our mouth at the very end.”
- Stevens was asked if he knew about Isaiah Thomas reaching out to the Celtics about returning to the team: “I love Isaiah. I knew. He’s one of the hardest workers, one of the most dedicated pros that I’ve been around. Like everyone else, I’d love to see him have an unbelievable year (in Denver). He meant a ton to Boston. He meant a ton to all of us. ... I think he really had fun here. ... Hopeful that he has an incredible year.”
- One of the Celtics trainers went to see Gordon Hayward along with Danny Ainge last week. “He looks great. They say he’s looking great and progressing well. I think he and Kyrie will be fully cleared by the time training camp starts and probably well before. ... They’re both in really good spirits and health wise, really good.”
- Stevens saw Uncle Drew with the Summer League team in Vegas. He said he hadn’t been to the movies in a while and didn’t realize that theaters now have the comfortable reclining chairs. “I could see where you could just go and watch a couple movies, get a good dinner and desserts, some popcorn, looks like a great night.” He said he enjoyed the movie and thought Irving was great.
- When asked how he’ll approach Irving’s upcoming free agency, Stevens said, “I’m not going to talk to him at all. One of things I want to do is give everything I can to all these guys while they’re here. Hopefully the people that are here recognize that it’s a really good environment with a high upside for a long time. ... There’s no real discussion to be had. We can’t wait to get to work. ... When that time comes for any free agent to look over what their options are, you hope that you’ve separated yourself with the everyday relationship and the work there. ... He’s been so good to me, and everybody around here likes him so much, we don’t even think about it to be real candid.”
- Stevens was asked about potential lineups next season: “Marcus Smart has come off the bench for two years and I’ve never considered him a non-starter. We’re fortunate enough on our team that we’ve got 8, 9, maybe 10 guys that are starters. We’ll figure that out as the time comes. ... We’re pretty fortunate to be in this position, we need to take advantage of it.”
- Stevens praised Jayson Tatum’s season and his efforts this offseason. “He just has it.” The Celtics head coach focused on his work ethic, habits, and maturity when discussing his young career. Tatum recently worked out at the team’s facility in Brighton and will be heading to China with Nike in the coming weeks.