Celtics

Bean: The NBA offseason is here. Let's party

Bean: The NBA offseason is here. Let's party

The NBA Finals kind of stunk, but fortunately for the NBA, the Finals don't need to be the best part of its year. Not anymore. 

Last offseason was a damn party. In addition to the usual free agent shuffling, you had the first overall pick being traded before the draft for the first time since 1993 and one of the best players in the league on one of the best teams in the league deciding he no longer wanted to play with the best player in the league. And after a lopsided trade involving the aforementioned player was agreed upon, the team being hosed realized it and held up the trade so they could get . . . a second-round pick.

It seemed like every single thing that happened became a meme. "Tatum better" became the cry of a generation. There were so, so many bad Photoshops. By the time all was said and done, major moves like the Jimmy Butler and Paul George trades seemed like afterthoughts. 

The Celtics, of course, were in the thick of a lot of the big moves. They pried Gordon Hayward from Utah, stole Kyrie Irving from Cleveland (can't help but miss that second-round pick, though) and bamboozled the 76ers. What a blast. 

Just as wild as last offseason is the fact that this summer could provide nearly as much drama. Let's look at the areas to see where this offseason could give the last one a run for its money second round-picks. 

THE DRAFT

Last year's draft will probably go down as more exciting than this one simply because the No. 1 pick isn't often traded it and it almost certainly won't be this year. Unless something unexpected goes down, the Suns will take DeAndre Ayton (above) on June 21. 

What this draft does have on last year's draft is that it's both considered way stronger at the top and less predictable after the No. 1 overall pick than last year's. Everyone knew it was going to be Fultz first, Ball second last year. The first real question come draft night was whether it would be Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson next. 

The Kings picking at No. 2 don't have that obvious selection the way the Lakers did with Lonzo Ball. Luka Doncic could seemingly go anywhere from second overall to sixth. Sacramento will have to determine whether Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. or Mo Bamba will be their guy. 

As for the Celtics, they don't pick till No. 27. They certainly have the pieces to move up, but it's a stretch to think they would do so for Bamba just because they interviewed him at the combine. 

LeBRON

So this is where this offseason will definitely be . . . louder than the last one. Until LeBron chooses where he's going, that will be the main focus of the offseason. Then, after he chooses, the rest of the offseason will be spent reacting to LeBron's choice. That will consist of the team that gets LeBron getting decent roster filler to follow and way too many people calling LeBron selfish or something. 

LeBron doesn't need to end up in Boston for him to take over the news here. Remember how much people freaked out around here when the Celtics got a meeting with Kevin Durant? If the Celtics get a meeting with LeBron, it would be like that, just with more angry people. 

FREE AGENCY 

This could be tied in with the LeBron thing, as the possibility still exists that he could team with Paul George, who's a free agent, with the Lakers. 

While George is the top unrestricted free agent set to hit the market, we'll also find out who's willing to roll the dice with Boogie Cousins potentially on a max contract and whether Isaiah Thomas has gone from the Brinks truck to an ice cream truck. 

AND FURTHERMORE . . . 

Those are the biggest storylines, but there will be plenty more. How the hell is Philadelphia going to move on from the Bryan Colangelo mess and eventual firing? Is somebody going to pay Marcus Smart? Will Markelle Fultz (above) play Summer League? If he does, will he have a cool party for the kids who are too young to drink the way Jaylen Brown did? 

We don't know the answers to these questions. We'll learn them eventually, with plenty of other noise along the way. Let's party.  

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

Robert Williams III (lower back contusion) out for rest of Celtics game vs. Hornets

Robert Williams III (lower back contusion) out for rest of Celtics game vs. Hornets

Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III has been ruled out for the remainder of tonight's game against Charlotte after a hard spill in the second quarter. 

According to team officials, Williams suffered a lower back contusion. 

It is unclear how long Williams will be out of action with the injury. 

He joins a growing list of Celtics centers with less-than-ideal health at the moment. 

Aron Baynes remains out with a foot injury, and the Celtics opted to rest Al Horford who is suffering from some soreness in his knee. 

With the team's injury-riddled frontcourt, Williams III was making his first NBA start tonight and finished with two points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. 

The injury occurred with 1:37 to play in the second quarter and Boston trailing 60-59 when Williams III landed hard on his lower back after attempting a put-back dunk. He would lay motionless on his floor for several seconds before a time-out was called and he eventually went to the locker room for further examination. 

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Brad Stevens: 'We are in evaluation stage on who's reliable'

Brad Stevens: 'We are in evaluation stage on who's reliable'

There’s more on the line in these final days of the regular season for the Boston Celtics than simply winning games and going into the postseason with momentum. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had a straight-no-chaser conversation with his players earlier today with a very simple message. 

“We are in evaluation stage on who’s reliable,” Stevens told NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine. “Like when we get to that moment when we have to know if everyone is going to be on one page doing the exact same thing, who is reliable? Ultimately that’s the end of the story."

Stevens added, “If you don’t have that reliability; If you don’t have that toughness. If you don’t have the ability to move on to what’s next you don’t last very long.”

MORE CELTICS

Having that quality has been a challenge for the Celtics all season, a big reason why Boston came into tonight’s game against Charlotte fifth in the Eastern Conference despite being seen by most as the team to beat in the East.

“We haven’t always shown that this year,” Stevens admitted.

Which is why this final stretch of games is so vital, not only to the team’s overall record but also to who Stevens will lean on when the postseason arrives in less than a month. 

“We need to win as many games as we can,” Stevens said. “And every night, whether somebody’s available or not, it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up.”

Tonight it’s rookie Robert Williams III who got his first NBA start tonight in place of Al Horford who was out to resting a sore knee.

Regardless of how tonight’s game plays out, Boston has to show the ability to accept the results and move on to the next game in a relatively seamless manner. 

Stevens knows this has been an issue with the Celtics all season. 

“So we need to prove it over the next 10 games so we know it going into the playoffs,” Stevens said. 

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