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Back from vacation: scattered Celtics thoughts from afar

Sometimes you need some time away to clear your mind.

2022 NBA Finals - Game Six Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

I’m going to start with Bill Russell. I don’t really know what to say. Nothing does him justice, no words suffice. The best I can do is my own meager memories. Bill was before my time. I was raised on Larry Bird. But at the height of his greatness, Bird pointed to Russell and said, “he’s the best ever,” so even early on I had to respect the original legend.

Just a few weeks ago, I spent time with my son looking at old YouTube clips of Russell blocking shots (usually to himself or a teammate) and explaining what made him so special on the basketball court.

I think it might be time for me to explain to both my kids what kind of impact Bill Russell made off the basketball court as well. His legend will live on.

The NBA never sleeps, but the rest of us do. So, it helps to take some time away. I just got back from a two-week vacation in Hawaii and I enjoyed every minute of it. Truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

I brought my phone with me of course, so I was following along with the Durant/Brown drama like any fan. In fact, I may have been one of the few that got the WojBomb in real time instead of waking up to it the next morning.

My first reaction was “ugh, now we have to deal with this rumor.” My second reaction was “actually, the staff has to deal with it, I’m going to the beach!” (They did a great job I must say!)

I won’t bore you with a rehash of the whole debate. I’ve read most of the pros/cons and listened to the podcasts that you all have. I understand the rationale behind making the offer that the Celtics reportedly did. I also understand the Nets perspective and why they leaked the rumor when they did. Ultimately, I don’t think they make any deal (yet) and try to run it back. If a KD deal happens, I’m sure I’ll talk myself into it in about 18 seconds. With that said, I’m still rooting for Jaylen Brown to stay on the Boston Celtics.

Jaylen is a phenomenal star that has improved aspects of his game every year. He’s grown up in the same weird rollercoaster that we’ve all been following these last several years. I just want to see him continue growing here. I want to see Jayson and Jaylen take the next logical step next year while raising an NBA championship banner. I want to see him advance his own social reform issues in Boston.

I get that Brad Stevens and the Celtics have to do what is best for the team. I get that Jaylen and his representatives should do what is best for him in his career. I just want to root for Jaylen Brown in a Celtics jersey.

One thing that hasn’t changed since I’ve been away is the Celtics roster. There are still roster spots open and (in my humble opinion) there’s still a need for a backup big on the roster. If the initial plan is to roll with Luke Kornet (mixing in small ball units) and see how things play out, I can roll with that for a few months. But if that’s not working out, I would hope that Brad Stevens will figure out some way to give Ime Udoka some more help before the trade deadline.

All of which reminds me. If our biggest concern is the 3rd big man, we’re in pretty good shape. We just saw this team in the NBA Finals and they added two pieces without subtracting anything significant (sorry, Theis) from the rotation. Tatum and Brown will come back that much better, the league-best defense will be back, and the offense projects to be better. There are never any guarantees, but I like our chances as much as anyone next year.

I haven’t been this excited since the summer of 2018 when the team was fresh off an ECF run and we were getting a “healthy” Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving back. Yeah. So, a healthy dose of “anything can happen” perspective is necessary as well.

I just want to see how this team looks in the fall. I’m all for giving them the time they need to recover and recuperate for another long season. But I’m looking forward to seeing them all back on the court together.

They’ve learned what it takes to play in Ime’s system. More than that, they’ve seen how playing in his system works. We don’t have to spend the first two months of the season figuring things out (beyond incorporating Brogdon and Gallo). There’s a real chance this team hits the ground running next season. There’s a real chance that Tatum is in the MVP discussion. There’s a real chance at another banner. This is exciting. This is what we root for and follow and hope and pray for. Let’s not forget to enjoy the ride.

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