Let's take the Mo Bamba Celtics rumors with a grain of salt

Let's take the Mo Bamba Celtics rumors with a grain of salt

The Celtics didn't reach the NBA Finals and we've grown accustomed to them being gifted high picks from other teams (no one in particular; rhymes with "Mets" though), so it's only natural to talk about top prospects out of habit. 

Of course, the Celtics don't have a high pick this year because they traded their last pick from Brooklyn to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving. They're slated to pick 27th, but they have the assets (as usual) to basically make any move they want. If they wanted to get into the top 10 or even top 5, they could. 

So it should come as no surprise that the "they love this player!" murmurs began Wednesday with Mohamed Bamba out of Texas. Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported Wednesday that the Celtics have "expressed interest" in the gigantic center and interviewed him at the combine in Chicago. Bamba is expected to go anywhere from No. 3 overall to No. 6 overall. 

This is not to discredit Deveney's report -- he was told this information and it's correct -- but here's the thing about these pre-draft "interest" reports: Everyone talks to everyone, especially when it comes to combine interviews. After, reporters check in with agents to see which teams they met with, and the answer's always the same with specific teams. It's either "haven't met yet" (shout out Michael Buble) or "yep; they met and they love the player." 

The Celtics should obviously do their homework on all the big men at the top of this draft. DeAndre Ayton is almost certainly Phoenix-bound, but Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter and Bamba should at the very least receive looks from a team that could use a big man and, should they love one, move up to get one. 

Deveney simply did his diligence and conveyed that they gave Bamba a look. He also correctly pointed out that, if they wanted to, they could trade up in the draft. This will certainly turn into "the Celtics want to trade up for Mo Bamba," which Deveney did not report. Let's try not to get carried away just yet. 



Cedric Maxwell 'absolutely loved' seeing Celtics players step up, lead call for change

Cedric Maxwell 'absolutely loved' seeing Celtics players step up, lead call for change

Several Boston Celtics players have been leaders in calling for change and participating in peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week.

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to his home state of Georgia to lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, as well as guard Marcus Smart also took part in peaceful protests Sunday in Boston.

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Cedric Maxwell played for the Celtics from 1977-78 through 1984-85, and he's spent most of the last two decades as a radio analyst for the team. He's very happy that these Celtics players are stepping up in this crucial moment.

"I absolutely loved it. It was fascinating to see," Maxwell said on "Arbella Early Edition" on Tuesday night. "Jaylen Brown -- I love what he did, to drive down 15 hours going to Atlanta. The only thing that disappointed me about Jaylen Brown was the fact that he did not have a mask on. If you're going to lead, you've got to lead on every aspect.

"I have just marveled at that, the fact that you have our players, like my family, my kids, are doing something that's so positive that they don't have to do. And they're showing the fact that they're connected to this community. That to me, is just -- that's what it is supposed to be about. Players during my era, we weren't connected like that. Now that these guys live in a city, they live and breathe and do the same things the city does."

NBC Sports Boston Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely isn't only impressed with the players doing their part to bring about change, he's encouraged by the message from coaches like Brad Stevens on how they can play their own role in fighting racial injustice.

"The thing that jumps out to me about the Celtics isn't so much the players who are stepping up, but those around them, the Brad Stevens' of the world," Blakely said. "On his call with reporters earlier today, the one thing he talked about that really kind of resonated with me were the conversations that he was having with other white coaches in the NBA. He talked about how they can't just have empathy for players -- the black players and black coaches and the assistants.

They have to be part of what drives change throughout this time. I thought that was really important for him to acknowledge that, that they can't just be on the sidelines saying, 'We feel so bad for you guys, we're so sorry.' No, you have to be part of the process that brings about change, and I think the simple acknowledgement of that being their role, that to me is the beginning of things turning around.

"When you look back at the Civil Rights movement back in the 1950s and 1960s, as much as Dr. Martin Luther King was at the forefront of that, there were a lot of white people who helped elevate that platform to another level. I think if we're going to get the kind of systemic change that we're talking about, that has to happen among the NBA family as well." 

Brad Stevens, NBA coaches have 'power and platform to affect change and will use it'

Brad Stevens, NBA coaches have 'power and platform to affect change and will use it'

NBA players have been the most outspoken group of professional athletes when it comes to raising awareness following the killing of George Floyd by ex-police officer Derek Chauvin last week.

Their voices and their platforms — while helpful — won’t be enough. 

They need allies and the league’s head coaches are ready to do their part in bringing about systemic change. The National Basketball Coaches Association has formed a committee on racial injustice and reform.

“We have the power and platform to affect change, and we will use it,” the group said via statement. 

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Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said all 30 NBA coaches were on a call recently.

“One thing that I heard from a number of coaches, as white coaches we have a lot of responsibility here,” Stevens said. 

Like the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, bringing about the kind of wide-ranging, systemic change that so many are now championing can’t be done by one person or one group. 

“We may not be able to know the depth of the pain of colleagues that are black or players that are black, our assistants that are black, but we have a responsibility to not only be empathetic but also help drive change,” Stevens said. “You saw in the coaches association statement; you saw in the Celtics statement. We have all been in these conversations before. And you’re moved to drive change and sometimes actionable steps lead to what you think is progress but this sure doesn’t look like progress."

Stevens added, “What we need to do is play our part and make sure we’re part of long-term, sustainable change.”