First things first we need to make something clear. I despise sports team owners. In general they are some of the most corrupt and exploitative people in the world. MLB owners have in the past actively colluded to keep free agent contracts low and short while they can get away paying MVP candidates under $1M, all while allowing minor leaguers to waste away only earning poverty wages. NFL owners actively hid life changing medical information regarding concussions for years and NFL contracts being non guaranteed mean that players have almost no long term security in the sport with the shortest career span. Soccer owners in Europe are actively trying to break away with over a hundred years of history in a cash grab that’d potentially dismantle the current structure of the sport. With all that said, I personally see NBA owners as the lesser of all evils in professional sports ownership. They still are incredibly exploitative of players and make huge profits despite doing zero work. I suppose I see them as a lesser of evils because they don’t actively harm the players/sport like the other owners do, but that’s a pretty low bar.
Point being I legitimately despise owners and think they do absolutely nothing for the game. We pay for the league, they just steal the profits.
With that said... this is Celtics Blog. People come here to discuss the Celtics: team building, game strategy, discussion on players... etc. Within this discussion we all acknowledge some things that we prefer weren’t true. Opposing teams aren’t just gonna bend backwards to help us out, outside players aren’t going to make it their mission to come and win in Boston at all costs, and most important for today *all ownerships have a budget.*
Now I know that if they truly wanted to, they could have $200M payrolls every single year and be fine financially. But at the same time I know that there is a 0% chance of that ever happening. There’s a better chance of Beal signing with us on the minimum next year than there is of ownership paying that much every year. That sucks... it really does. But at the same time it’s a universal truth that it’s never going to happen. No matter how much we cry about it, that’s not going to change.
Now ownership has been adamant that they’d pay for a contender. I legitimately believe them when they say this... they’ve proven it true in the past. Now I know people will say we went to the ECF and only paid the tax once... to me this is a bad point. For starters the 2017 and 2018 teams both go through a pretty easy East. Kinda like how I’m not gonna put much stock into the Hawks getting there this year, 2017 was more of a fluke than anything else. 2018 was like that too, except with Kyrie and Hayward coming back, it was clear we had enough talent to contend (this was under the assumption that Hayward wasn’t gonna suck at first... oops). Now there’s no reason to rehash the 2018-2019 season, it was a train wreck for multiple reasons and is one of the biggest wastes of overall talent on a team in recent memory. But the one thing you can say about that team, is that if everything would’ve broke right chemistry wise, there was 100% enough pure talent to win a title. That year ownership paid the tax.
We all know what happened that following off season. Some people claim hindsight and say we should’ve just gone in on TRoz, the front office decided the guy coming off the all nba season was a better use of resources than a guy coming off a terrible season looking for high level starter money out of his best position. Regardless how you feel/felt about this decision... one thing that can’t be said is that ownership cheaped out there. They saw someone near the top of his game and decided to invest heavily in him. People talk about how bad losing Mook was... you’d be laughed off this site for saying this during that offseason. Also, letting him go was necessary to fit Kemba’s deal iirc. People now say that ownership cheaped out on Al (people talk themselves back into players when they rejoin the team). There was 100% agreement back then that Philly was making a stupid mistake (they were) giving him such a big and long contract to play out of position. Even ignoring that him leaving was necessary to sign Kemba, it would’ve been reckless to give Horford that deal. We’d already be in the repeater just in time for Tatum’s extension. It’s not cheaping out to push spending money down a couple of years to maximize your time in the tax. This is the same argument I’ll use for the decision to let Hayward go. If teams want to give our FAs huge over market deals then we need to let them. Side note on the Hayward situation... I am thrilled that we didn’t get Myles Turner... he’s paid $20M AAV (7th among centers) and isnt good outside of chasing weak side blocks. By the time Hayward left the FA market was slim picking. The team made such an effort to stay under the tax in the regular season because it’s clear the team wasn’t a winner yet. Yea it sucked losing Theis, but at the end of the day Theis wasn’t gonna be the reason we won or lost in the playoffs. Extending the tax one more year is more valuable than he was offering us to finish that season.
So now we’re at this offseason. A lot of moves going on, hard to analyze them all. One thing I think we all can agree on is that this team is not a true title contender with or without Fournier. I was a big supporter of Fournier and really wanted him resigned (especially given the contract he got). I am certainly not happy about losing him... but if he’s not gonna make us title contenders then why bother going into the tax for a small upgrade.
All of this is to say that I do still legitimately despise sports owners and that Wyc should have no problem having a continually huge budget.* But there’s absolutely no use in just whining about it over and over again.* They’ve spent when they’ve felt we’ve had a chance, can’t ask for much more. Our front office just operates under the realistic scenarios that ownership has given them a flexible budget... there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s how it should be done.
*But doing nothing but complaining about ownership isn't productive at all and just distracts from the positive content that we come to the blog for.*