Blakely: What's next for Celtics now that Bogut chose Cavaliers?

Blakely: What's next for Celtics now that Bogut chose Cavaliers?

BOSTON – Even though the Boston Celtics struck out on landing Andrew Bogut, that doesn’t change the fact that they need to make some serious changes between now and the playoffs.

Bogut has reportedly chosen to sign with the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, the most likely path to the NBA Finals coming from the East.

This Celtics franchise is beyond being happy and thankful to make a team’s short list of possible landing spots.

Bogut was the bonus that Boston would have loved to add to the mix, but knew going in that the odds of landing his services were slim.

So where does that leave the Celtics?

Back to their original plan when they opted to stand pat at the trade deadline, and that is to hope that there’s growth from within.

That growth can come in many forms.

But more than anything else, the Celtics need to shift from being such a finesse team to one that plays with greater force, more consistently.

It’s great that Boston shoots 3’s with the best of teams in the NBA. But that shouldn’t prevent them from banging a few bodies around the paint from time to time, or close out under control to either force a missed shot, a bad pass or a turnover.

It’s the little things like setting firm screens or sealing a big man off so a guard can swoop in for a rebound, that Boston needs to do with more consistency.

And with the Celtics losing out on the Bogut sweepstakes, no longer will Celtics players have to worry and wonder about whether they will get traded away or waived and replaced by a player picked up off the buyout pile.

Having that peace of mind can do nothing but help a team that failed to add a player to address what’s clearly their biggest need.

And while they have done a fine job this season in terms of success, they want more than just make the playoffs.

They want to be there for a while, something that has little to no chance of happening unless they make some type of adjustments in how they rebound the ball and defend the paint.

Success for Boston in both areas is possible.


Because we’ve seen this team defend and rebound at an elite level this year. At one point, Boston had either won or tied an opponent in the rebound battle in eight of 11 games.  

They’ll need more of that going forward, especially from one another now that Bogut is no longer a consideration.

Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Remember those rumors of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up in free agency next year? Well, that buzz is back and Boston isn't the rumored destination.

Two league sources told Business Insider that the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players, with one source saying the chatter is "substantial."

"It wouldn't surprise me if either New York team or potentially both New York teams hit it big next summer," one source said.

That echoes a Chicago Sun-Times report from July which said the Celtics and Timberwolves stars had been talking about how they could team up. Each player can opt out after this season and Irving has made it known he'll be heading to free agency. The Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around for a while. 



Paul Pierce says if Celtics learn to sacrifice, they'll win title

Paul Pierce says if Celtics learn to sacrifice, they'll win title

If there's anyone who knows what it takes to be a champion, it's Paul Pierce. So when the Celtics legend speaks, it would be best for the current team's young stars to heed his words.

According to a report from Boston.com, Pierce touched on what this current squad needs to learn if they want to hang the team's eighteenth championship banner from the rafters of TD Garden.

"When you have that type of talent, they're going to have to learn to sacrifice," Pierce said at a charity event in Brookline on Friday morning. "Not everybody is going to be able to accomplish maybe the individual goals they want to accomplish, but the team's greater goal should be all that matters."

The Celtics, who have made the Eastern Conference Finals the past two seasons but were vanquished both times by LeBron James' Cavaliers, saw perhaps their greatest obstacle in competing for a championship disappear when James signed with the Lakers in free agency. With one of the most talented rosters in the NBA, Boston has built a team capable of getting over the hump and winning a title.


"You have to sacrifice if you are truly committed to winning a championship," Pierce added. "They're going to win a lot of games, but unless they sacrifice--because we know they're going to be better than probably what their numbers show--if they can sacrifice they'll win a championship this year. Because the talent is definitely there."

If there is one player on the current roster who can show that championship mentality to young stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it's Kyrie Irving. However, much of the talk surrounding Irving, who won a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016, this offseason has been about him potentially leaving Boston after the season in free agency.

"Kyrie is a competitor," Pierce said. "He's won a championship. He knows -- if they win again he'll get whatever contract he wants. He's an extraordinary talent and he knows that winning trumps everything. If you win, everybody wins."

The Celtics start their quest for their eighteenth title on October 16 when they host Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.