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Grant Williams, trade talk, and buyout ideas (mailbag answers - Part 1)

I’m handing out high marks for the questions I got from you. Well done folks!

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

A quick aside from me on the state of the blog. Vox Media announced layoffs yesterday and several of their NBA sites are being impacted with cuts. My heart goes out to those that were impacted and I very much hope that they can find homes elsewhere in this brutal industry/economy. That said, CelticsBlog remains largely unaffected and will continue on as we have been for the foreseeable future (knock on wood). Thanks once again for being the best fans and the best communities anywhere.

No on to your questions! Remember, these are being graded.


What do the C’s have to do to make sure Tatum wins MVP when it really counts in the finals?

Question grade: B (thanks for going first)

My sarcastic answer is “win.” But I think there’s a deeper answer here. Clearly everyone has to step up and contribute. Everyone has to play unselfish basketball, moving the ball, giving up good shots early in the clock to find great shots, and playing within their roles. Tatum and Brown are professional scorers but they can’t do it on their own. They need guys like Robert Williams cleaning up on the offensive glass. They need shooters stretching the floor. They need Brogdon slicing through the lane to bend the defense. And of course they all need to be playing elite defense when it matters the most.

On a grander scale, the NBA has tilted toward favoring offense this season. But that just means it is so much more important for the defense to step up in the postseason.


Do you think wings and/or bigs will try out the buyout market for a shot to be picked up by the Celtics or am I overly hopeful about the appeal of Boston?

Question grade: B+ (very self-aware, I appreciate that)

I think you need to understand the market as a whole. Impact wings are one of the most sought after positions in the game right now. Teams that have them are not inclined to give them up cheaply and the guys that are available are likely on the market for some deficiency in their game. Now, there’s always a chance that someone decent will spring free on the market for one reason or another. Sometimes a lopsided trade will require a team to cut someone that they normally wouldn’t. That’s pretty hard to predict though.

I could see more bigs become available though. There’s a few elite bigs that get paid the big bucks, and then there’s a large population of guys that are available at much lower prices.

In terms of being motivated to take the buyout in order to sign on with the Celtics or another contender, I think that’s very real. Especially for players on the back end of their career.


Do you think Grant has done enough to warrant anyone pricing us out of re-signing him?

Question grade: B- (predictable but a reasonable question)

I’ll admit that I’m not as knowledgeable about the market as someone like Keith Smith, but I’m still very hopeful that we’ll be able to sign him to a fair deal. He’s certainly earned himself a nice payday and he could even earn some more money with another solid playoff run.

The hope here is that enough teams will understand that the Celtics will match any reasonable offer. As great as Grant is, paying him like a superstar would be a mistake for any team.

Then again, it only takes one team to offer him a huge number that would make the Celtics blink. Still, even in that situation, I could see the team being motivated to work out some kind of sign-and-trade deal, if only to preserve the salary slot on our books (we’ll be over the tax).

I’m cautiously optimistic that Grant and the Celtics will figure things out.


This year, will the Celtics organization take responsibility, along with TD Garden, to remove audience members when they shout racist insults at players of opposing teams?

Last year in the finals, there were several reports of people shouting abusive language and nothing was done about it.

Question grade: B- (heart is in the right place, but a little unnecessary to assume negligence)

I don’t think it is fair to say that “nothing was done about it” without knowing all the facts. I’m reasonably sure that if someone pointed out the people making the slurs, the Celtics would be quick to act accordingly. Of course they wouldn’t want to falsely accuse someone without proof either. These things are extremely hard to police in a crowd of hundreds of thousands but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

Bottom line though: If you are racist or using stupid racial slurs in any way, shape, or form, then you should be ashamed of yourself and rethink your life immediately.


Three questions:

1. Is Poeltl worth either PP and a first rounder or 2 firsts (I assume Galinari would have to be included in a 3 team trade)? It seems like if he can be resigned, he would add much needed insurance this year and be a long term replacement for Al.

2. Is it just me or is White playing better defense than Smart this year?

3. What happened to Hauser’s shot? And have the Celtics lost confidence in him (at least for the moment)?

Questions grade: A- (all relevant and worth discussing)

1. Poeltl is likely going to fetch the Spurs a first rounder and a player with potential (on par with Payton Pritchard) so that might be a reasonable price. I’m not sure that I would want the Celtics to pay it though. To me, the wing position is a bigger need and you might be able to find a big on the buyout market that could provide some emergency minutes. In the playoffs you’ll likely see a lot of Rob and Horford and Kornet is a reasonable backup in case either has to take a game or two off.

2. I think White is a better off-ball defender and perhaps one of the best rim-protecting guards in the league. Smart is better on the ball and perhaps all around just because he’s got the size advantage over White. Teams have nobody to target on the Celtics most of the time so they occasionally pick Derrick just because he’s smaller. Smart started off slowly on defense but he’s picked it up lately. At the end of the day I don’t care who’s better, I’m just happy to have them both on our team.

3. Just goes to show that so much about shooting is confidence. It seems like Sam has lost his confidence and is pressing to make those shots. I think the team believes in him and wants to see him work his way through it. Especially over the long term.

Right now, however, it just isn’t falling. Some of that probably has to do with teams being more aware of him after his hot start. Keep in mind that he was an undrafted rookie last year and this is his first real NBA season.

I think he’ll get another few chances to get things right, but if/when the rotation shortens, he’ll be the first one to find himself on the bench more.


What happened to Blake Griffin, and why isn’t he playing anymore? There’s talk of trading for another big, but wasn’t he supposed to be in that role?

Question grade: B- (some guys are more name than game at this point in their career)

Father time is undefeated. Blake just isn’t what he used to be and that’s ok. His main role was to be a solid veteran on the bench who could give us time when both Rob Williams and Al Horford weren’t available. Rob is back now and there’s a good rotation going with him, Horford, and Kornet. No reason to go back to Blake if you don’t have to.

By the way, for those setting their hopes on a buyout guy: Blake’s right about the level of guy that you could reasonably expect to pick up in that market. Good enough to be an option when there are players missing, but not likely a rotation guy in the playoffs.


So, which one of the players listed below should we expect the Celtics to sign in the buyout market?

Luka, Giannis, or Jokic? Of the three, who would you prefer?

Question grade: A- (for the sarcasm)

I suppose that’s a fun 2K type of hypothetical you could debate. Who would you add to the Celtics if you could? Obviously you’d take any of them and make it work. But I’m partial to Jokic if only because he work make everyone around him better without needing to dominate the ball.

c’s the day

When will Brad finally sign Isaiah Thomas?

Question grade: A- (for the nostalgia)

I wouldn’t be opposed to adding him on a 10 day at some point, but we clearly don’t need more help at guard this year. Always hoping for the best for The Little Guy.

I’m running out of steam at this point so I’m going to break this mailbag into two parts. Stay tuned for Part 2 soon.

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