Celtics

Did Celtics take advantage of 76ers again with latest NBA draft trade?

Did Celtics take advantage of 76ers again with latest NBA draft trade?

The Boston Celtics' excellent 2017 trade with the Philadelphia 76ers finally wrapped up Thursday night in Brooklyn during the 2019 NBA Draft. 

Celtics fans have fond memories of when team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge traded the No. 1 pick in 2017 to the 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a future first-rounder. The Sixers took Washington guard Markelle Fultz at No. 1, and he's no longer on Philly's roster. It's easily one of the worst top picks in recent memory. The Celtics took Jayson Tatum at No. 3, and he's a rising star with franchise-cornerstone potential. Boston completed the trade by taking Indiana wing Romeo Langford with the No. 14 pick Thursday. This pick was the future first-rounder given to Boston in the Tatum/Fultz deal.

Well, it appears Ainge might have taken advantage of the 76ers front office in another draft trade Thursday. ESPN's Jonathan Givony listed the Celtics among his winners of the 2019 draft, and his reasoning was the trade Boston made with Philadelphia.

In 2014, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie was able to sniff out the Orlando Magic's interest in drafting Elfrid Payton, selecting him at No. 10 and forcing Orlando to give up an additional first-round pick to get its target.

Five years later, it appears that the Boston Celtics were able to do the same, taking advantage of the 76ers' very clear interest in Matisse Thybulle early on in the pre-draft process. The Celtics picked Thybulle at No. 20 and flipped him to Philly while moving down to No. 24 and extracting the No. 33 pick. The Celtics then turned around and auctioned off that pick to the Suns for a 2020 first-round pick, doing some nifty business considering where they started from.

And when it came time to make that 33rd pick, the Celtics reportedly snatched Carsen Edwards away from Philly, who was looking to take him at 34.

The 76ers' front office has been a mess since the end of the 2017-18 season, and Elton Brand hasn't performed a whole lot better than his predecessor, Bryan Colangelo. Brand went all-in this past season, giving up nearly all of the 76ers' remaining assets to acquire star forwards Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. The result was arguably the best starting unit in the league, but the bench was a real weakness and it showed in the team's second-round playoff loss to the Toronto Raptors. Brand and/or his staff apparently made the team's interest in Thybulle too obvious, and Ainge, one of the smartest executives in the league, pounced on the opportunity to acquire some nice assets as a result.

It's possible Thybulle becomes a really good player and the Celtics don't hit on their future first-rounder or receive much production from Edwards, but you cannot let a chief rival take advantage of your situation in this manner.

Click for our biggest winners and losers of the 2019 NBA Draft>>>

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Celtics Spotlight: Daniel Theis flew under the radar, but can make an impact

Celtics Spotlight: Daniel Theis flew under the radar, but can make an impact

Amid the frontcourt makeover that the Boston Celtics underwent this offseason following the departures of Al Horford and Aron Baynes, the re-signing of Daniel Theis flew quietly under the radar.

The addition of “Plan A” big man Enes Kanter, the importation of French big man Vincent Poirier, and the progress of second-year rim-rocker Robert Williams drew most of the headlines. Theis, who quietly re-signed to a two-year, $10 million deal, was a bit of an afterthought.

Spotlights: Walker | Smart | Brown | Hayward | Kanter |

Tatum | Fall | Wanamaker | Ojeleye | Edwards | Williams

But it was Theis who played the most consistent two-way ball of the preseason, positioning himself to be a potential starter even if coach Brad Stevens elects to mix and match his bigs based on matchups.

It’s a successful season for Theis if… 

… Stevens leans on the German's versatility. One of the few bigs capable of both rim running and popping beyond the 3-point line, Theis can complement mosts players he’s paired with. Theis shot 38.8 percent beyond the 3-point arc last season and, further removed from the meniscus injury that ended his rookie campaign, he seems springier when lobs come his way. Now in his third season in Boston, Theis has a head start on the rest of the big-man stable and might just parlay that into a workload that exceeds the 900 minutes he’s played each of his first two seasons.

It’s a disappointing season for Theis if… 

… he doesn’t make the sort of strides that allow Stevens to play him against the beefier bigs like Joel Embiid, who often bullied Theis last season. Theis is a solid positional defender but he can’t allow himself to get pushed around near the hoop. Ultimately, that defensive consistency might just dictate his playing time.

2019-2020 Outlook

It’s Theis, Theis, baby. His defensive rating last season was similar to Baynes in comparable minutes. Even as Stevens toys with the idea of playing his bigs in short bursts, Theis will have an opportunity to assert his claim to a much bigger role this season. It’s easy to forget how good he was playing before the meniscus injury in 2018. But he won’t be overlooked this season with the Celtics eager to find a consistent two-way option at the big-man spot.

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Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Kemba Walker hasn't been Jaylen Brown's teammate for very long; the two players haven't even played a regular-season game together yet.

But after getting an up-close look at Brown during FIBA World Cup play, training camp, and the preseason, Walker likes what he sees from Brown, who inked a four-year contract extension worth up to $115 million on Monday afternoon.

The deal comes just three and a half months after Walker signed a $141 million contract with Boston — and to Walker, this latest deal reaffirms the franchise's commitment to winning.

“I know what these guys are all about, man, and this organization, they want to win,” Walker told Jared Weiss of The Athletic Monday afternoon. “You have to invest in the players, and Jaylen, he deserves it. I’m super, super happy for him.”

Had Brown not signed on the dotted line Monday, he would've been a restricted free agent next summer. But now he can play out the season with job security instead of potentially getting distracted by questions about playing for a new contract.

“I’m not saying Jaylen would do it, but it can be hard for a guy to be playing for a contract just for one year,” said Walker, who marveled at Brown's intelligence on the court. “He could’ve not took it and played the year out to showcase himself to other teams or even the Celtics again. Now it’s just less pressure. Now he really can just play basketball, work on his game and just continue to get better without worrying about his contract situation. I think it’s a huge burden off his back.”

It sure looked like there was a burden off both Brown and Danny Ainge's backs when the pen was put to paper Monday. Brown posted a picture of the big moment on the Instagram page for 7uice, his official brand. 

Brown's big week continues Wednesday when the Celtics open the season against the 76ers — and then on Thursday, when he celebrates his 23rd birthday.

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