Celtics still lobbying for free agency before NBA draft

Celtics still lobbying for free agency before NBA draft

The Boston Celtics’ front office has long been a supporter of the idea of shuffling the NBA draft after free agency and, given the uncertainty surrounding the team's roster this upcoming summer, director of player personnel Austin Ainge again championed the idea after Monday’s draft workout.

The Houston Rockets officially made a proposal to flip-flop the draft and free agency in April 2018, which the Celtics firmly backed, and there is hope that it will gain further momentum moving forward.

“I have been a big proponent of switching the draft and free agency,” said Ainge. "I think that most teams build from veteran players first. If you have a top-5 pick, you’re most likely a rebuilding team so free agency isn’t affecting that. If you have a top-5 pick, you’re probably going to pick with that first but free agency doesn’t affect you much. 

"And then, all of the other teams, you more likely are fitting in draft picks in and around a veteran core group. So I think the calendar should follow our decision-making tree. So I think it should be switched.”

The Celtics find themselves particularly hamstrung this offseason. Boston owns three first-round picks and could be forced to pick players without any idea how its roster will look after free agency. It’d be easier to target a point guard in the draft if, say, you knew Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier were not going to be back in Boston.

It’d also give teams the ability to more easily discuss pre-draft trades. If the Celtics are to push for an Anthony Davis deal this month, they’ve ideally got to have something in place before draft night so New Orleans can select its desired players with any 2019 picks it might receive in such a swap.

It simply makes more sense for free agency to come before the draft and the Celtics have never quite gotten a good answer about why it doesn’t.

"It’s something I think we should look at very strongly,” said Ainge. "When I ask why it is the way it is, no one has a great answer. Just inertia. Just history.”

The NBA has been open-minded to changes that make more sense, even something as simple this year as the start of free agency shifting to 6 p.m. on June 30 instead of midnight on July 1, affording East Coast general managers a bit more convenience at the frenetic start of when teams can formally contact free agents.

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Kendrick Perkins: We just have to continue to use our voices

Kendrick Perkins: We just have to continue to use our voices

Over the last few days, we've seen several notable athletes take to the streets to protest George Floyd's murder and the racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown led the charge on Saturday, driving 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to organize a peaceful protest with fellow NBAer Malcolm Brogdon.

Brown's Celtics teammates Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter, and Vincent Poirier followed suit on Sunday with a peaceful protest in Boston, showing the tremendous impact athletes can have on their communities when they let their voices be heard.

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Monday on Early Edition, former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins discussed how Brown and other athletes affect social change when they decide to speak up.

"We just gotta continue to use our voices. We can't change racism overnight, but we can change the system, and our voices need to be heard. It don't matter what race you come from. It's just speak what's right, and stand on what you believe in. It's leading by example.

"When you look at even a guy like Stephen Jackson who I think set the bar, and then all of a sudden Jaylen Brown who's a younger guy in this league say, 'Oh, if Stephen Jackson is out here, a retired player, and he's standing on the frontline, then let me do it. And then all of a sudden, guess what, Jaylen Brown, he influenced Enes Kanter. It's a chain reaction, so whether you're a veteran or a young guy, that don't matter. It's just about taking a stand and taking a trend."

As Perkins notes, when one player finds the courage to speak up, it starts a chain reaction. Some may hesitate to use their voice in fear of the backlash they may receive, but now more than ever it's important to put that fear aside and stand up for what's right.

There's no doubt Brown's admirable actions influenced other athletes and public figures to take a stand, and that's something we should start to see more of in our society.

You can watch the full interview with Perkins below:

Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death


Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death

Brad Stevens isn't very active on Twitter. In fact, his last tweet before Monday came during March Madness in 2017 when his former team, Butler University, was making its NCAA Tournament run.

Stevens broke his three-year Twitter silence Monday morning with two tweets, both of which stressed the importance of making real change to combat racial injustice in America following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

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The first tweet from Stevens was his support of the NBA Coaches Association's statement on Floyd's death.

The second tweet was a message from Stevens regarding former President Barack Obama's article that he wrote for Medium titled, "How to Make This Moment The Turning Point For Real Change.” 

Boston Celtics players have taken an active role over the last week in calling for change and engaging in peaceful protests.

Celtics guard and Georgia native Jaylen Brown made the long drive from Boston to Atlanta to lead a peaceful protest Saturday. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, and guard Marcus Smart also joined protesters in Boston on Sunday.

The Celtics released their own statement Sunday, which included the following passage: "We stand with our players, employees, partners, and fans in being committed to championing the change we need.”