Celtics

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

You’re probably thinking the summer fireworks are finished after the Celtics brought back Tyler Zeller, added ex-Celtic Gerald Green, and signed rookies Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. It’s true, these moves do lower the likelihood of a multifaceted trade, but it doesn’t totally extinguish the odds of something seismic happening.

The Celtics still retain their flexibility, since none of these deals have actually been finalized. Even after they are, they’d still have the pieces required to make a deal work for a superstar like Blake Griffin. It’s not hard to make a valid trade for one player, but it is difficult if it’s a multi-step process like a Russell Westbrook renegotiate-and-extend trade.

“This is not necessarily what the team will be,” a source told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “There’s probably changes coming.”

Well, yeah. Changes have to come. The Celtics don’t really have a choice here.

Assuming Jaylen Brown is signed, they’ll have 18 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts. So at least three players will have to be exported before the season, since the NBA requires a maximum of 15 players on a roster.

Here’s a look at the Celtics’ current projected depth chart:

  STARTERS BENCH RESERVES ON THE BUBBLE
FRONT COURT Amir Johnson Kelly Olynyk Tyler Zeller  
Al Horford Jonas Jerebko Jordan Mickey Ben Bentil*
Jae Crowder Jaylen Brown* Gerald Green James Young
BACK COURT Avery Bradley Marcus Smart RJ Hunter John Holland*
Isaiah Thomas Terry Rozier Demetrius Jackson  

So, something has to happen. It’s just a matter of what. You can choose to believe the Celtics aren’t actually trying to make a blockbuster move. Or you can choose to believe the signals that have been firing off this month from the Celtics themselves indicating they’re “not done.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to get closer to 15 players by completing a blockbuster trade for a player like Griffin.
 
Perhaps some combination of veterans (Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jonas Jerebko) with youth (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young) and draft picks (2018 Nets pick) could bring in Griffin and Paul Pierce.

Saturday’s moves make sense regardless of any transactions to follow.

Zeller is a bargain at just $8 million as a steadying presence on both ends of the floor. But, if Johnson were dealt, he’d be able to slide right up the depth chart as the team’s backup center.

Green shot 37.2 percent on spot up threes, per SportVU, over the past three years, so he provides spacing as a scorer who can catch fire. Considering Brad Stevens’ track record of sapping every ounce of talent out of each of his players -- hello, Jordan Crawford! -- it’s possible the Celtics will be getting the Green who scored an efficient 15.8 points per game just two years ago in Phoenix, and not the subpar Green who struggled to stay on the court last year in Miami.

If one or two of Boston’s young wings were dealt, Green, on a mere veteran minimum contract, would have an even easier path to playing time as a spark off the bench.

It’s difficult to read into the signings of second-round picks Jackson and Bentil, but either way the should both spend the season developing with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The Celtics haven’t made a move yet, but they also haven’t done anything to suggest they’re entirely done. These moves could be precursors to something significant, or not. But at the least they provide depth to an already impressive roster.

Boston Celtics release touching statement on the passing of Kobe Bryant

Boston Celtics release touching statement on the passing of Kobe Bryant

On Sunday afternoon, the NBA world was rocked by the devastating news that Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, 41, had died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter, Gianna, 13.

In the immediate aftermath of his death, tributes came pouring in for Bryant. Countless Boston-based athletes took to social media to honor Bryant. The Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs took consecutive 24-second violations to start their respective games, as Kobe's jersey number was 24 for the second half of his career.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

And ahead of their game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Boston Celtics took time to release a statement about Bryant's untimely passing.

Here's a look at the full statement from the team:

There are no words that can convey the heartbreak the entire Celtics organization feels in the wake of the terrible loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was one of the greatest talents and competitors to ever play basketball, and his love of the sport inspired countless fans and players around the world. Our fans were fortunate to watch him as he contributed many memorable chapters to the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, which he treasured. We extend our deepest condolences to Kobe’s family, fans, and the entire Lakers organization, as well as all of the victims and families affected by this horrible tragedy.

This is a decent gesture by the Celtics ahead of a trying time for the Bryant family. We'll soon see if the team has any more tributes in store before and during their game against the Pelicans.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics' Jayson Tatum reacts to death of 'hero, idol' Kobe Bryant

Celtics' Jayson Tatum reacts to death of 'hero, idol' Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant touched the lives of an incredible number of people both during and after his legendary NBA career.

Among those people was Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

Tatum grew up idolizing Bryant, who later would become his mentor and friend. The 21-year-old worked out with Bryant during the summer of 2018 and maintained a close relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers icon.

Watch highlights from Kobe's final game at TD Garden

Upon hearing the tragic news of Bryant's death, Tatum took to Instagram to share an emotional tribute to his idol:

Heart broken. My Hero. My Idol. The reason I started to play this game, the reason I fell in love with this game. Growing up wanting to be just like you, to you becoming a mentor, beyond thankful for everything you’ve done for me. “I didn’t have a plan B I put all my eggs in one basket and I knew I was going to make it happen” hearing you say that stuck with me everyday of my life. You inspired me and I am forever grateful more than you know! Love you Bean 🙏🏽❤️! Sad, sad, sad day RIP Kobe and Gianna! Praying for the family!

Other Celtics players and athletes around the world shared similar sentiments on social media.

Bryant was 41 years old.

Blakely: Respect for Kobe outweighed rivalry