Celtics

New-look Cavs come into Garden still getting to know each other

New-look Cavs come into Garden still getting to know each other

BOSTON – This isn’t how the Celtics envisioned their third go-around against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Instead of locking in on trends and specific matchups that worked in the past, the Celtics are back to the preparation drawing board, courtesy of the Cavs’ massive overhaul of their roster at the trade deadline heading into Sunday's matchup.

“All the film goes out of the window, I’ll tell you that,” said Kyrie Irving, the former Cavs star whose intimate knowledge of the Cleveland franchise doesn’t do him much good now. “I think everyone is at a high anticipation of what they’ll look like.”

For those who missed all the Cavs-related comings and goings at the trade deadline – and there were a lot of them - here’s a rundown of what transpired on Thursday, a deadline day absolutely dominated by Cleveland.

Former Celtic Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and Cleveland’s 2018 first-round pick were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., whose father was one of the all-time greats for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland was also part of a three-team trade that landed them George Hill from Sacramento and Rodney Hood from Utah, while sending ex-Celtic Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz and Iman Shumpert to Sacramento.

The Cavs also traded Dwyane Wade back to Miami for a heavily protected second-round pick that Cleveland immediately sent to Sacramento.

While it remains to be seen how the new-look Cavs will work together, Cleveland has already accomplished one of its primary goals. which was to become younger, more athletic and more versatile.

"It's not about what the other guys didn't bring or what these guys bring," Cleveland’s LeBron James told reporters following Cleveland’s win over Atlanta, a game in which Cleveland only had nine players in uniform due to all the physicals among the traded players not being completed. "We're all professionals and we were happy with the guys that we had, and we're going to [be] happy with the guys that we have now. That's the way the league is. It's a business. There's no shade on anybody."

Boston didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline, but earlier they did pick up center Greg Monroe after he was bought out by Phoenix.

The 6-foot-11 veteran has played in two games for Boston, averaging 3.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game.

In Boston’s 97-91 loss to Indiana on Friday night, Monroe did not play (coach's decision) in the second half.

“I thought I could have gone with anybody in that group at the big spots,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “But with the desire to really execute at a high level, I felt like we had to go with the guys that have been here. And then when we had to play small after our starting group, I felt like, because speed was an issue in the first half for our team.”

Cleveland may find itself grappling with a similar dilemma on a much larger scale today. While the new additions have had a couple days to familiarize themselves with the play calls and various sets, it’s not the same as actually doing it in a full practice.  

There’s another difference between the Celtics adding Monroe and the changes made by Cleveland.

Boston acquired Monroe to provide added depth to a frontcourt that only has one true center in Aron Baynes.

The deals made by Cleveland were done to bolster the Cavs’ starting unit (Hill is slated to start at point guard) as well as their bench, which only enhances the likelihood that with so many new faces, the Cavs won’t be quite as sharp as they will likely be later in the season once the newcomers get a few games under their belt.

Cavs GM Koby Altman knew he had to make some significant changes to the roster for the Cavs to best compete for another trip to the NBA Finals.

“Just like it’s been a tough year for everybody, we’re all disappointed in our production on the floor,” Altman said in a conference call. “From myself to T-Lue [coach Tyronn Lue] and the players, this is not sort of what we envisioned and to sort of see the players’ eyes light up with some of these deals, it was great to see some of the coaches’ eyes light up with some of these deals.”

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Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

A story earlier this week from Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes calling burgeoning young Celtics star Jayson Tatum one of the NBA's five most overrated players has expectedly ruffled some feathers in the Boston sports stratosphere. 

But Tatum himself is taking the high road. In a conversation with ESPN's Chris Forsberg centered around his recent workouts with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, the 20-year-old forward, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting this past season, said he wasn't bothered by the article:

While Hughes acknowledged that Tatum could be a franchise player, his reasoning for inclusion on the list was that he could be a victim of the stacked team for which he plays, saying, "Kyrie has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover."

As for the session with Kobe? Tatum clearly absorbed a lot:

Hughes also named Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Bulls foward Zach LaVine and Suns forward Josh Jackson in the company of overhyped players.

It's been quite a week for Tatum, the former No. 3 overall pick out of Duke University. Earlier in the week, the St. Louis native had his jersey number permanently retired at his high school alma mater.

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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.