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Draft needs, trade ideas, and Brad Stevens (mailbag answers)

I have answers and they are all right. Alright?

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Four Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

I love this blog and I love this community of Celtics fans. You always come through with thoughtful and creative questions. I’ll continue to do my best to give you thoughtful and creative answers. Like these!


Which players, if any will be on the Celtics team next year (Kanter, Edwards, Green, Poirier, Wanamaker, Ojeleye)?

To be consistent with my SWAGs I’ll have to say ...none of them. But to make this slightly more interesting, I’ll rank them.

Least likely: Semi Ojeleye

I don’t feel great about this because I like Semi. He seems like a really high quality guy who works his tail off and has proven he can play defense at a really high level. I think we need more guys like that, not less. But the Celtics have a finite amount of roster spots and the team owns the option to just walk away from his $1.7M salary. Since Grant Williams provides a lot of what Semi brings, there’s just no reason to bring him Ojeleye back.

Most Likely: Carsen Edwards

Carsen is cheap, has no trade value (would likely take a pick to dump him), and the best version of him is exactly the kind of player the Celtics could use. A microwave scorer off the bench. That doesn’t mean that he’ll be back, but I can see a path to him sticking around.

Wanamaker is probably the best player on this list. He’s useful and could provide the Celtics with point guard depth. Kanter could still pick up his option and might not get traded. Green has proven he’s at least a fringe NBA player. I just feel like all of them will likely find new homes this offseason. But I’ve been wrong before.

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Replacement questions

What do you think of the following players as replacements for Semi Ojeleye on the roster, in terms of how likely we are to sign them and how much better they make us? Harry Giles, Christian Wood, Dario Saric

What do you think of the following players as replacements for Brad Wanamaker on the roster, in terms of how likely we are to sign them and how much better they make us? Reggie Jackson, Jevon Carter, Frank Jackson

When I say sign them, I mean “one of” them.

Sign me up for Harry Giles if only because he’s apparently best buds with Jayson Tatum and anything we can do to keep him happy for the next few years is ok with me. Also, Giles seems like a buy low, low risk guy worth taking a shot on. Not sure if we could afford Wood or Saric. Run away screaming from Reggie Jackson.


Missing Pieces?

Theis is a great rotational piece, but I still think we’re in the market for a starting big and scorer off the bench.

Do you think that Danny would look at bringing in DMC and I.T.?

Do you believe bringing back I.T would cause chemistry issues?

Cousins just doesn’t seem to be worth the risk (in all senses of the word).

I’m all in on Isaiah Thomas though (depending on the physical and timeline). I don’t think you can count on him being “the answer” anymore. He’s certainly never going to be that MVP candidate player that take over 4th quarters for a whole month. But he could be a great change of pace scorer off the bench that the Celtics could use. He needs one more chance to prove himself and would likely be ok coming off the bench behind Kemba at this stage of his career. It would be a low risk, low cost play and if that hip gets right there could be a decent amount of upside. Plus it is a feel good story that would sell well with fans.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


What are the expectations for next season?

Finals appearance? Best record in the league? Best record in the East? What is the standard that Ainge and ownership are going to use to measure the team’s progress/status?

The Celtics have made the ECF three of the last four seasons while totally remaking their roster but the last two years have ended in a much more disappointing fashion than the first two How is management going to judge whether this team needs minor adjustments, significant changes, or to blow it up and just rebuild around the two Js?

If you listen to Brad Stevens, the only goal is continual improvement.

If you listen to Danny Ainge, the only goal is Banner 18.

Of course they are both right and I think they both agree with each other. It is all in how you frame it and how they year plays out.

They could show tremendous growth, develop several key players, and make great additions only to hit some bad matchup and injury luck in the playoffs. That would likely be a “win.”

On the flipside, they could stagnate, swing and miss on some players, and generally underperform only to back into some lucky wins in the playoffs and find themselves back in the Eastern Conference Finals. To me that’s a “loss” despite a similar result to this year.

In terms of team building strategy, I think the team needs to continue walking the fine line between rebuilding/retooling and contending. We have two young cornerstones that need to be developed around, but we can’t punt the next few years when we have a legit shot at contending. It is hard to do both but that’s the challenge.


Will danny offer Kemba and Jaylen in a deal for Giannis ?

He should.


who in the east will be the biggest obstacle for the c’s in order for them to win the conference finals? what effect will doc have on the sixers?

Doc is going to get a lot of attention as the star-whisperer in Philly. Maybe he can get them to play harder and more as a unit. The underlying issue of floor spacing and poor fit aren’t going away with a dramatic pregame pep talk though.

Not sure if you’ve heard this a few thousand times yet, but the Nets are expecting Durant and Irving back on the floor next year. Of course, we’ll have to see if either one is back to being fully healthy and how the rest of the roster fits around them.

All of which brings me to the Bucks. Sure the Heat beat them in part because they have great matchups to combat Milwaukee’s roster and scheme. The Celtics don’t (yet) have that kind of matchup advantage yet. So if the Celtics draw the Bucks in the playoffs that’s going to be a tough go.

Gotta give a big head nod to the Heat and Raptors as well. We found out this year how dangerous both teams are. I think depending on how the offseason plays out the Celtics could very well be in the Finals next season. But the East is no cakewalk anymore.


How much of a leash does Brad have?

What does Ainge have to see before he decides to move on from brad?

Brad Stevens just got a contract extension, so I think Danny is still a big fan. As he should be.

Think about how the previous season went. The team underperformed massively, had locker room issues, and was an all around mess by the end of the playoffs. And yet Danny still showed his coach support.

Remember that Doc Rivers went through years of rebuilding and several iterations of wanna-be contenders before the KG trade happened. Yet Danny Ainge stayed with him and was rewarded with a championship.

I’m not saying that the same thing will happen with Brad Stevens, but it speaks to Danny’s long term vision. He’s not going to make a knee-jerk decision to fire the coach if he isn’t happy with the results of a playoff series.

Brad Stevens isn’t perfect by any means, nor is Danny Ainge. I do not have blind faith in either one. I do, however, consider Brad to be one of the best coaches in the league and consider Ainge to be one of the best execs in the league. Happy to have both of them in place and supported by a solid ownership group. A lot of teams around the league would love to have that kind of leadership.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


Is there any chance to get Myles Turner

Without giving up Gordon Hayward?

To Portland: Enes Kanter, Semi Ojeleye, and Brooklyn’s 2nd

To Indiana: Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards, Vincent Poirier, #14, and #26

To Boston: Myles Turner

Part of me thinks that we’d have to substitute Robert Williams in place of Semi with him going to Indiana

I’ll give you points for creativity. Just understand that 3 team deals are very hard to pull off. Lots of competing interests at play. It is also very hard to cobble together several players to take back just one. The other team needs to have enough roster spots to take in those salaries.

In general I’m not sold on Myles Turner anyway. He blocks shots and shoots 3 pointers but that might be a bit of fools gold. He’s not a good defender and hasn’t really differentiated himself beyond the perimeter shooting. But he’s still pretty young though (24 yrs old), so maybe he’ll develop more of an all-around game with good coaching.

So I guess, I’m saying probably not, ...but you never know (in the Lloyd Christmas sense).


Hey Jeff!

Of our serious long term needs, which of these seems most important to you?

A successor at the lead ball handler position to replace Kemba.

A successor at center for Theis (only one year left on that deal)

Another big wing to play alongside the J’s since Hayward could be gone this summer or next (he could stay longer, but it’s a worry).

So I guess which is the biggest long term need, ball handler, wing, or big?

Do we emphasize any of this in the draft?

Good question, especially since Ainge hinted at drafting for need this year. I think a lot depends on how you view the young players in those roles currently. Putting the injury stuff aside, the team seems to have high hopes in Romeo Langford as a solid wing option for the future. Robert Williams has some potential at center, but they might want to fortify that position further (in particular if Kanter leaves). A backup guard would be welcome as well since Tremont Waters isn’t going to grow 3 more inches anytime soon.

Ultimately I still think we should still go with the “best player available” since we have needs all over the place on the bench. Then again, we might look to fill those needs through free agency and trades, so we’ll see.

I’ve been a vocal supporter of trading ALL the picks to either move up or move out of the draft. But it all depends on what you get in return.

With all that said, if you make me pick one spot I’d like to improve in the draft I’d probably default to a big man (because you can find guards anywhere and we have depth on the wings).

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