Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens met with the media on Tuesday morning for the first time this offseason. He touched on many things from the Celtics NBA Finals run, as well as some of the things he’s looking for this summer.
The main takeaway, and it’s one that should get Celtics fans excited, is that Stevens had the go-ahead from ownership to spend this summer.
When asked about the ability to use Boston’s Traded Player Exceptions and the Mid-Level Exception, Stevens said, “We’ve got the ok to do whatever we need to do.”
That’s welcomed news, considering there has seemed to be a reluctance for Celtics ownership to go into the luxury tax at times. It seems as if the commitment from Wyc Grousbeck to “pay the tax for a contender” rings true.
It’s too early, and not a strategic advantage, for Stevens to get into specific targets. But he did say that Boston needs to add more scoring, shooting and playmaking off their bench. While saying that, Stevens expressed that he thinks that could also come through some internal development.
As a former coach, Stevens is also very conscious of fit. He said, “It’s not about blindly acquiring talent. It’s about fitting a team together. We did a pretty good job of that this year I think we have an ability to take off running next season, because now we have a foundation and understand who we are as a team.”
Stevens also talked about a need for Boston to not stray too far from what makes them special. When saying how to make new additions fit, Stevens said, “We have a unique identity with our size and our versatility. We can play big but do a lot of things. We have to think about how we add to that without taking away from what makes us unique.”
When touching on the status of current players, the head of the front office said that no players have offseason surgeries planned. He specifically touched on Rob Williams and Marcus Smart, who both dealt with injuries in the latter part of the season and throughout the playoffs. Stevens said the team’s medical staff has said that both “just need some rest” this summer to let everything “settle down”.
Nothing was mentioned of Jayson Tatum dealing with a specific injury, but Stevens did say he told Tatum to “go on vacation, get some rest” after the season. Stevens referenced Tatum’s desire to play every day, and that he’s played a lot of basketball over the last few years, as reasons for him to take some downtime.
Overall, Stevens was happy with the progress the Celtics showed this season but added that “There should be a bitter taste, even after a great season. That can propel you into next season. I don’t think anyone is satisfied with where they are. We have to take those individual improvements and add them to the team.”