Celtics

Bean: Everything is turning up Celtics this week

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Bean: Everything is turning up Celtics this week

There have been a lot of great days in Celtics history: The day they won their first title. The day they won their 17th title. The day they got the 76ers to draft Markelle Fultz. The day a brave fan first yelled at Ben Simmons to shoot a 3, coward. 

June 18, 2018 might not be on the same level as any of those, but damn, it was good. I really only needed to see two things happen this offseason: for the C's to keep restricted free agent Marcus Smart and for Kawhi Leonard to end up anywhere for Philadelphia. 

Check and check. What a day. 

Actually, I suppose the stars getting healthy would also be a biggie for the Celtics. 

What a day. 

Let's focus on the Kawhi thing. If he had gone to the 76ers and made friends with some of those goofballs -- enough that he'd want to re-sign at least -- the Celtics would be in trouble. Kyrie Irving could theoretically leave in free agency next summer, and a big three of Kawhi, Simmons and Embiid would likely trump a Kyrie-less Celtics roster longterm. 

But that's not going to happen. Kawhi is in Toronto, perhaps for a year before he goes to the Lakers. In the immediate future, the Raptors are no threat to the Celtics, or perhaps even the 76ers. Longterm, there's a good chance he won't even be in the Eastern Conference. 

So the Celtics' path to the NBA Finals remains clear. As long as everyone -- or really even mostly everyone -- is healthy, they'll get there easily. 

A big part of that will be due to them being the deepest team in the conference, a status that should remain with Marcus Smart banging out a four-year deal with the Celtics for $52 million. (He officially signed on June 19, yes, but the two sides got close to the finish line on June 18.)

It wouldn't have been the end of the world if Smart just came back on his $6.1 million qualifying offer and then walked in free agency next summer, but paying more to have him around for what could be championship runs should have always been the better option. 

Yes, the Celtics are kind of negotiating against themselves because Smart is an RFA and hasn't received an offer sheet, but if after Dante Exum signed for three years at $11 million per, didn't it make sense for Smart to get something similar? 

So Smart got four years and $52 million. That's $2 million more a year to have him for four years. More importantly, it isn't the $16 million some team could have given him to get the Celtics to either overpay or walkaway. Smart isn't one of the Celtics' five best players, but he's one of the better defenders in the league. The Celtics seemingly don't have to pay through the nose to get him for four more years, so they'd be smart to wrap something up for the numbers that have been reported. 

Also, a picture surfaced of Jayson Tatum cropping Stephen A. Smith out of a picture with Denzel Washington. What a day. 

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Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Even with three All-Stars in Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge and the Celtics knew that, in order to win a championship, the team needed a strong supporting cast of role players.

Episode Four of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” takes a look at how Ainge constructed the rest of the roster and how one word, “ubuntu,” set the tone for a memorable season.

Giving the team a shooter off the bench, as well as another veteran presence in the locker room, Eddie House was perfect for the 2008 Celtics.

“I remember going to a practice when he was a young player,” said Ainge regarding House. “Just watching him shoot, and shoot, and just amazed at what a great shooter this kid was.”

“I saw him have his 56 and 60 back-to-back point games in the Pac-10 and it was amazing.”

Long a fan of House, Ainge went out and got his guy, but he wasn’t finished yet.

James Posey, a veteran wing who had experience both starting and coming off the bench, was nearing a deal with the Nets, but one call changed everything.

“I actually told my agent, I’ll just go to New Jersey,” said Posey. “Then Eddie House called me.”

House convinced Posey to spurn the Nets in favor of the Celtics, giving Boston another veteran off the pine.

With the roster taking shape, what the team needed now was an identity.

Ubuntu.

Mentioned to Doc Rivers at a trustee meeting at Marquette University, the word that means “I am who I am because of you,” became the team’s mantra.

“I looked this word up and I spent, no exaggeration, hours and days on this word,” said Rivers. “Everything about the word epitomized what we had to be.”

Ubuntu was the rallying cry of the 2008 Celtics and it all started with a Board of Trustees meeting at Marquette.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.

Report: Knicks given slight edge over Celtics as Kyrie's free-agent destination

Report: Knicks given slight edge over Celtics as Kyrie's free-agent destination

Those pesky Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around even before Yahoo's Chris Mannix mentioned the Celtics were "scared" of Kyrie Irving heading there next summer. They picked up steam this week with another report of The Big Apple as a destination for Irving and Jimmy Butler to join forces.

Now, ESPN's NBA Forecast Panel gives the Knicks a slight edge over the Celtics to land Irving, 46.9 percent to  43.8 percent.

Here's part of the panel's explanation on ESPN's "The Jump": 

It would take some salary-cap machinations for New York to lure Irving to play close to where he grew up in West Orange, N.J. They would likely have to risk losing Kristaps Porzingis in free agency next summer by not giving him a big-money extension this season. 

There's also a potential pursuit of Kevin Durant in free agency next summer as the Knicks - playoff-less since 2013 and title-less for 45 years - make another attempt to spend their way back to relevance. 

Irving has made it clear he's not going to cost himself millions by signing an extension with the C's this season ("Contractually, financially, it just doesn’t make any sense”) and is headed to free agency, so, with training camp more than a month away, get used to a season full of questions about his future. And expect the Knicks speculation to heat up before the four C's-Knicks games (Oct. 20 and Feb. 6 in New York and Nov. 21 and Dec. 6 in Boston). 

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