Celtics

What does the Anthony Davis trade mean for the Celtics ... and Al Horford?

What does the Anthony Davis trade mean for the Celtics ... and Al Horford?

The Celtics’ youth movement is upon us.

That’s the knee-jerk reaction amid the news that the Los Angeles Lakers have completed a trade to land Anthony Davis, pairing him with LeBron James out west (take a bow, Rich Paul). Suddenly, the futures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford take center stage and the Celtics’ best path forward might soon be tossing the keys to the car to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Let’s sift through the ramifications of the Davis-to-LA weekend blockbuster:

* Missing out on Davis seems to only decrease the chances of Irving staying in Boston, as it was starting to feel like landing Davis might have been the only way to make one last run at luring Irving back.

Danny Ainge’s less-than-optimistic tone while addressing Irving’s future last week hinted at the team’s uncertainty in retaining him. Maybe landing Davis would have convinced Irving to ponder a return a bit more. Instead, it’s harder to see how the Celtics convince him to come back given that much of the roster from last season’s head-slapping adventure would remain intact having missed out the top available trade target.

* Assuming Irving is gone, the big question becomes whether Horford is on board with essentially embracing the 2018 playoff core — this time with a healthy Gordon Hayward — and seeing where it can take this team.

Horford has to decide this week if he wants to opt into the final year of his deal, which would pay him $30.1 million. Opting in leaves him vulnerable to a trade but, with Davis off the market, it might give him the peace of mind to accept that big-money year and seek longer-term security next summer.

But the bigger question is whether Horford is on board with seeing how far this young core can go. He got a glimpse of their Kyrie-less potential during that 2018 run to the cusp of the NBA Finals but having admitted the priority at this stage of his career is winning a title, might he desire a deal to a more surefire contender?

It’s been pondered in this space whether there’s a possible deal to be made with the Houston Rockets, a team that’s already thrown up the “open for business” flags. Horford flirted with the Rockets before signing with the Celtics in the summer of 2016 and could be intrigued by trying to get Houston over the hump in the west. Might the Celtics be willing to take back some young talent — Clint Capela the name that invariably arises — knowing the road back to title contention with the young core is a bit longer?

* The 2019 NBA Draft looms on Thursday night and suddenly it feels like the Celtics might be best served to use their pile of first-round picks (14, 20, 22) for swings of the bat in hopes of landing some more young talent to pair with Tatum and Brown. 

Boston brass would still undoubtedly like to push some of those assets into the future, giving them some capital to pair with the future Grizzlies pick in case another marquee name arrived on the trading block. Ultimately, the Celtics might just have to be patient in waiting for the next top-5 guy to become disgruntled. It seems to happen more often than you think lately (see also: Kyrie, Kawhi Leonard, Davis). 

But the draft clock is ticking and, with the AD situation resolved, Boston has to decide fast if it simply wants to go all in on youth or ponder ways to turn those picks into more established talent before they are forced to use them on Thursday.

One thing is a bit more certain: Tatum and Brown might just be the faces of the franchise now and their development could dictate just how fast Boston gets back to title contention.

The Celtics were cautious not to mortgage the farm in pursuing Davis, acutely aware of how damaging it would have been if both Irving and Davis walked away by the summer of 2020.

Boston still has cost-controlled young talent and a pile of draft assets. But it’s clear that Plans A and, maybe Plan B, are slipping away. It’s time to embrace Plan Js — Jaylen and Jayson.

Is Horford on board with Plan J? Is Kyrie truly gone? The Celtics future is starting to come into focus.

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NBA Rumors: Celtics staffer believes Tacko Fall is worth an investment

NBA Rumors: Celtics staffer believes Tacko Fall is worth an investment

Tacko Fall took the Las Vegas Summer League by storm not only with his size, but his ability to impact the game in ways players that big struggle to do consistently at the highest level. 

The Celtics got a front-row seat to Fall's play after signing the big man to an Exhibit 10 contract following the 2019 NBA Draft. He averaged 7.2 points, four rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 77 percent shooting to go along with some eye-popping dunks where he barely left the floor. 

It's up to Boston whether to carry him on the roster next season, and one anonymous Celtics staffer believes Fall is worth an investment, especially if he continues to develop at the rate he has been since the draft. 

The Celtics filled its last roster spot by signing Javonte Green to a partially guaranteed contract this week and have both two-way contract slots occupied by Max Strus and Tremont Waters. 

Boston typically brings in more than 15 players under contract into camp for competition purposes, but the Exhibit 10 contract gives Fall a guaranteed camp invite along with a $50,000 bonus if the Celtics waive him and want to sign him to the Maine Red Claws. 

It's difficult to see what the staffer means exactly by saying he's "worth an investment." But whether it means a full-time roster spot, a two-way deal or the $50,000 bonus to play in Maine all season, it's clear the Celtics want to give the 7-7 big man out of UCF an extended look this year. While Fall has a very long way to go before he can crack an NBA rotation, you can't deny how much fun it is to watch him dwarf the giants of the league. 

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WATCH: Brian Scalabrine swats Stephen Jackson's shot in BIG3 game

WATCH: Brian Scalabrine swats Stephen Jackson's shot in BIG3 game

Former Celtics forward and NBC Sports Boston's own Brian Scalabrine showed he still has a little something left over from his playing days during a BIG3 game Sunday. 

Scalabrine found himself guarding former scoring wing Stephen Jackson, and when Jackson went up for a reverse layup on the right side of the rim, Scalabrine was there to send it back. Since BIG3 basketball is played in the half-court, Scal's team quickly turned the play into two points. 

This shouldn't come all that surprising though. Say what you want about Scal's offensive game when he didn't have his jumper going, but the man was always an underrated post defender. 

Given the state of the Celtics frontcourt going into the 2019-20 season, could they use some of Scal's interior presence on the defensive end? Probably not, but that most likely won't stop him from sharing his highlights with Brad Stevens and the Celtics coaching staff. 

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