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Great vibes, past trades, and TPE options: Mailbag answers (Part 2 of 3)

You had questions about the Boston Celtics and I have a few answers (results may vary)

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Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Continued from Part 1.


A subjective one for you: Besides the winning, what’s your favourite thing about watching these Celtics this year? What’s the thing that puts a smile on your face the most when you see it happening during a game?

I actually think my favorite thing has been the Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis budding bromance. Jaylen has always been a little hard to read and I’m not close enough to the team to know what the dynamics are between him and the rest of the team. But seeing him obviously click with KP has been a lot of fun. You can see the chemistry on the court as well, in particular with their pick and roll connection. That’s just a lethal option to turn to.

Beyond that, it also makes me smile to see the way the team seems to have bought into the concept of sacrifice and making the next right play. Much easier said than done.

Mitch’s Dad

I haven’t seen any reporting on the work that Jeff Van Gundy is doing for the Celtics. Do you have any information or insights on what he is accomplishing?

I’m with you, I haven’t seen any reporting on this either. He’s obviously available as a resource for Mazzulla to reach out to. For one thing, coaches are always talking to other coaches to soak up more information and perspective.

My best guess is that he’s been most valuable as someone who’s very well versed in how a coach communicates with the media. At times last season Joe was either defiant or defensive or outright aggressive toward the media. The year he seems a lot more comfortable in his own skin. Perhaps Jeff helped in that regard.


Okay, first a basketball question. We all know that the Celtics will have a number of contact decisions to make over the next couple of years with Tatum, Holiday, White and Hauser in particular. I assume Tatum is a lock to be extended, but what are the chances that the others are all playing with the Celts on their next contracts? Who would we be most likely to lose? Do we look to trade any of them after this season?

This team is set up to become very, very expensive very soon and for the foreseeable future. If they win a title, everyone will be happy paying the bill (at least for a while). If not, then you could see some more changes to the roster, perhaps fundamental changes. It really might be that simple (even though it seldom is). The most likely thing is that they keep this core together, but you might see Brad look aggressively for cheaper options to replace players as they age (Horford, Jrue?) or look to cash in on their next contract (Hauser?).


In the past twenty years, what Celtics front office moves did you like a lot in the moment and then soured on as they aged? And vice versa - didn’t like in the moment, and then liked more and more as they aged.

The obvious one that I didn’t like initially was trading Marcus Smart. I could see the thought process but I was worried about the fundamental shift in the team’s chemistry. Turns out it was a needed change and (so far) a great fit.

On the other end of the spectrum, I thought adding Dennis Schröder for the MLE was an obvious win for Boston and he ended up being a bad fit all around. Hats off to Brad for seeing that quickly and not being shy about moving on.


Can this team keep this starting five together and stay under the 2nd apron in the coming years?

Nope! They are already over the 2nd apron and I don’t know how they get under it any time soon.


Do you think T.J. Warren could be a good addition for the 15 spot?

Also, Do you think they’ll sign Queta to a regular contract? (I rather have have him than Svi if we add a free agent)

I don’t know where Warren is at in terms of his health and game at this point in his career. I think it is telling that Brad signed a guy like Svi instead of Warren this offseason. Might be a good reason for that.

As I mentioned, I’m ok keeping the team as it is in tact. If they do add another free agent, I’m not sure if they’d have room on the roster to convert Queta without letting someone else go.

Honestly, at this point I don’t have very strong feelings either way for the deep bench guys. If any of them has a significant impact in the postseason, something has gone very sideways. Any and all of them have ways they can contribute throughout the rest of the regular season.


Another question - Do you think the Celtics should change anything or not?

I do think they make some kind of move, but I very much doubt it would be anything impacting the top 8 guys in the rotation. Maybe Brad will find another “big wing” or another live body to play at center. Don’t be too surprised if they aren’t a household name though.


Other than Smart (heaven forbid!), what player you absolutely don’t want to see traded to Philly or Miami (or NY to some extent)? And what player, however good, you think won’t move the needle much for those teams?

[Donovan Mitchell] would be the nightmare. I hope that they’ll eventually trade him in the summer, which could also prevent most of the other contenders to make significant moves at the deadline.

This is my least, aside from Spida.

Most feared: Siakam, Derozan, Caruso (especially to Miami).

Mild Fear: Rozier (to Miami), Bogdanovic (both Bogdan and Bojan), Murray, maybe Finney-Smith, maybe Lavine to the Heat (they could “Heat-coltured” him)

Almost no fear: Lavine to the Sixers (they might “Sixers-coultured” him, in the opposite sense of the Heat), plus any other serviceable but not worrisome role player

I think you largely answered your own question. Before the season began I might have guessed that Karl Anthony Towns would be available, but with the Wolves rolling they won’t want to mess with what’s working.

Lauri Markkanen is the other All Star level guy that theoretically could be available (but not if you believe Danny Ainge). Kuzma is another name not mentioned that could be a difference maker. Also, don’t sleep on old friend Malcolm Brogdon.

I think the Sixers might just wait till the offseason to load up, but that would be a waste of another Embiid MVP level year. So I could see them making a move now. I’m hoping that the Cavaliers don’t fully figure out whatever it is that’s holding them back. And of course I’m now conditioned to worry about the Heat forever and ever.

Update: Since I wrote this the Pacers traded for Siakam, which is an absolute perfect fit for them. That makes Indy even more dangerous in the playoffs for anyone that draws them in the first couple of rounds. I still don’t see them as serious contenders though. So back to the original question, I think we can see this as a “win” that Siakam didn’t go to the Sixers or Heat.

Ruben Wolkowyski

Brad Stevens mentioned a trade is likely before the trade deadline, who is it likely to be and what positions are the Celtics in need of?

As I mentioned earlier in the mailbag, I would expect the Celtics to look to use the Grant Williams TPE (or a portion of it) to add a player. It would add salary and tax but if there’s a year to go all-in for a title it would be this year.

I’m bad at coming up with names, so I’m going to blatantly steal ideas from Jay King at the Athletic. Saddiq Bey would be a welcome addition as the big wing that Brad Stevens is looking for. Jay also mentions Corey Krispert, Kris Dunn, and John Konchar as options. Not sure how available any of these guys are and what kind of draft capital it would take to land them, but if we can get something done with the TPE and 2nd round picks, I think Brad would have to consider it (and Wyc and company would have to deal with the tax bill).


Blake Griffin is still frequently mentioned as a late season addition. Has there been any indication that he’s been staying in shape or that he is at all interested in coming back? If so, do we really need him or is there a better option out there?

I haven’t seen anything reported about what Blakes mindset is right now. If he’s really just waiting till the buyout season to try to latch on to a contender, I say more power to him. I don’t know why more athletes near the end of their career don’t find a way to play only half a season. I mean, Roger Clemens had a deal near the end of his career to only have to show up for pitching days (or something like that).

In terms of his ability to help the team, I wouldn’t mind having him just for his locker room presence and his elite ability to draw charges. Of course, I could see there being younger and better options available as well, so I guess we’ll see. Don’t forget that we have to see who becomes available after the trade deadline.

I need to pause here and answer the rest in Part 3!

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