Celtics

Will Trader Danny Ainge be more active this season for the Celtics?

Will Trader Danny Ainge be more active this season for the Celtics?

BOSTON -- One of the main reasons Danny Ainge has been reluctant to make any major changes to the Celtics roster the past couple of years, is because the team he assembled when healthy was good enough on paper to compete with the upper echelon in the NBA. 

This season? 

Not so much. 

Compared to the past couple seasons, there’s a heightened level of uncertainty as to what this Celtics team is capable of and because of that, the specter of a potential trade looms a lot larger now. 

Ainge, in a recent conversation at WBUR’s CitySpace, talked about the trade potential for this season. 

“I don’t think our team is like a perfect fit,” Ainge said. “I don’t think Brad [Stevens] knows who his starting lineup is, who his first sub off the bench is, and what each guy is going to bring to the table.”

The Celtics lost a pair of All-Stars in Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn) and Al Horford (Philadelphia) to free agency.

Marcus Morris, a key reserve and part-time starter the past couple of seasons, signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the New York Knicks. 

Boston also traded Aron Baynes to Phoenix.

With a clear lack of bigs, Boston signed Enes Kanter, who will likely be the team’s starting center to begin the season. They also re-signed Daniel Theis, along with 7-foot center Vincent Poirier from France, to join a big-man contingent that also includes second-year center Robert Williams.

Boston also selected Tennessee forward Grant Williams in the first round of the draft and signed 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall to an Exhibit 10 contract. 

As far as what the new guys meshing with the returners will bring to the table, that’s going to be a process of sorts for sure this season. 

Still, the X-factor in all this is the Celtics’ depth at the wing position which includes Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Beyond those three, the Celtics also have Semi Ojeleye, who can play both forward positions, 6-6 Romeo Langford, who was the Celtics’ lottery pick from in the draft, in addition to summer league standout Javonte Green, who has a partially guaranteed contract and is in the mix for Boston’s 15th and final roster spot. 

Well aware of the team’s depth at the wing and dearth of proven talent in the frontcourt, Ainge admits that he might have to move one of his wings in order to shore up the team’s frontcourt. 

“So the question is, do you trade for need or do you trade for talent?” Ainge said. “Because I think we have some really talented wings. And we have some uncertainty at the 4 [power forward] and the 5 [center]. So, let’s hope our fours and fives can play as well as we hope they can and we can keep our talented wings because we need a lot of them.” 

Ainge knows trading players is a reality that comes with the job. 

That doesn’t make it any easier, though. 

“I invest a lot emotionally with the kids … trading is hard,” Ainge said. “Trading a player that you drafted, that you develop a relationship with, root for every second, get to know their families, that’s really hard. That’s a really hard process. But that’s just part of the job. It’s a hard job and that’s the hardest part of it, is trading away players. But ultimately we have to do what’s best.”

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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.

Blakely & Forsberg predict 2019-20 NBA award-winners>>>>>

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Predicting the NBA Awards ahead of the 2019-20 season

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Predicting the NBA Awards ahead of the 2019-20 season

The NBA experienced an unprecedented amount of player movement during the 2019 offseason, and the Warriors are no longer the overwhelming favorite for the championship. Now that the hierarchy in the league has changed and both conferences are more wide open than ever, how will that impact the league's award races?

Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely give their predictions for the 2019-20 NBA Awards, including who they think will win MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year.

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY>>>>

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