Celtics

The winner of the Celtics-Cavs deal two years later is...

The winner of the Celtics-Cavs deal two years later is...

BOSTON -- When it comes to trades, we often associate the winner of the deal with which team wound up with the best overall player. 

When the Celtics-Cavaliers trade was made two years ago, Kyrie Irving and the Celtics were the winners by a mile. 

And now, on the two-year anniversary of the deal, the Celtics still come out on top…but not for the reason you might be thinking. 

In his time with the Celtics, Irving checked off most of the boxes in terms of being what the C's needed. 

But by the end of his time with the Green Team, Irving looked more like he had checked out and was mentally on to the next team.

Even with all the leadership issues Boston had under Irving’s watch, even with all the issues that led to more whining by this crew than winning, the Celtics did the right thing in making the trade for one reason and one reason only. 

Because the alternative to not doing that deal would have kept Boston on a treadmill of mediocrity, which is basketball purgatory.

Isaiah Thomas’ injuries were more severe than most thought, which meant that if Celtics kept their best player at the time, they would likely have been without his services for a while. 

Remember, after he was traded to Cleveland, Thomas did not suit up in a game for the Cavs until Jan. 2, 2018

And if not for the trade, there were going to be legit chemistry issues looming ahead with Jae Crowder and the rest of the team’s wings. 

Crowder came to Boston as a trade throw-in from Dallas, a player that few envisioned would blossom into the player he became with the Celtics. 

To his credit, Crowder worked his way into being a reliable two-way player who provided some much-needed talent and toughness for Boston. 

For him to have come as far as he did and then find himself battling for minutes off the bench with more players at his position than ever looking to gobble up minutes … both he and the Celtics deserved better than that. 

So, moving Crowder took all the guesswork out of who would be the odd man out between himself, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and incoming rookie Jayson Tatum. 

Still, the biggest win for Boston over Cleveland in the deal was hope. 

Irving is a dynamic talent, the kind that gave the Celtics every reason to believe that they could win an NBA title with him in the fold. 

As much as fans around New England loved Isaiah Thomas, there was always a belief that he could only take you so far as the best player on the team. 

As for the Cavs, the unprotected pick from Boston was seen as the trade equalizer if it would have been among the top three or four picks. 

Instead, the Nets became more of a grind-it-out team that won more than expected, which led to the pick from Boston (via Brooklyn) falling to eighth overall. 

Cleveland wound up selecting Collin Sexton. who had a good rookie season; good enough to earn a spot on the NBA’s  All-Rookie second team. 

He’s good, but he’s no Irving, which is why it’s hard to see a pathway in this deal that one could declare that the Cavs came away victorious. 

They traded away the best player in the deal. 

The two best players they acquired were traded away just a few months later after being picked up. 

And the draft pick wasn’t anywhere close to where it needed to be in order for it to truly have the kind of difference-making impact Cleveland was hoping for. 

So, as we reflect upon the Boston-Cleveland trade, we’re reminded that the winds of change sometimes sway away from one team on the night of the trade and toward the other a couple of years later. 

This ain’t one of those deals. 

Boston came away with the win on draft night. 

And now two years later, the Celtics still won the deal.

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Report: Jaylen Brown seeking more than this Celtics extension offer

Report: Jaylen Brown seeking more than this Celtics extension offer

Jaylen Brown and his new agent reportedly are getting right down to business.

The Boston Celtics have offered Brown a four-year contract extension worth $80 million, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Wednesday.

But the 22-year-old guard, who is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, is "pursuing a bigger offer," according to Haynes.

A $20 million-per-year deal would make Brown the third-highest-paid player in Boston, behind only max-contract players Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward.

Brown may be wise to bet on himself, though. He'd likely be a top-10 free agent in a weak 2020 class, and possibly could vault into the top five with a strong fourth season.

Whether Brown deserves a maximum contract remains to be seen, but it sounds like he's pushing for more than what the Celtics are offering him.

"Everybody says that they’re not concerned with it, but in some way, shape or form they are,” Brown told The New York Times' Marc Stein in a recent interview, via Stein's email newsletter. "But to be honest, it’s really not overwhelming me or ruling my thoughts. I know what type of talent I have. I’m confident in myself. I’m confident in my ability."

The Celtics have until next Monday to offer Brown an extension, or risk him testing the market in restricted free agency.

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Five notable takeaways from the Boston Celtics' unblemished preseason

Five notable takeaways from the Boston Celtics' unblemished preseason

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics closed out their preseason schedule with an unblemished 4-0 record, with a staggering margin of victory of 31.3 points per game over their final three contests. 

Of course, none of the teams beaten so badly (Orlando, Cleveland twice) by Boston are expected to be title contenders. And in each of the games, at least one key player for the opposition did not play or saw limited action. 

The same could be said for the Celtics, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that most of the foes Boston faced, are not the teams that will stand in the way of them once again being on the short list of contenders in the East this season.

A weak slate of preseason pushovers is the kind of stretch most NBA teams endure at some point during the regular season when they encounter a string of teams that on paper they should have no problem beating. 

To the Celtics' credit, they absolutely smashed the teams that they were supposed to which is one of the many takeaways Boston can feel good about now that the preseason schedule is complete. 

Here are five additional takeaways as the Celtics spend the next week preparing for their season opener at Philadelphia on Oct. 23. 

Jaylen Brown

In the three preseason games Jaylen Brown played, the fourth-year wing showed signs of being the two-way standout he envisions himself as being. He shot 52.4 percent from the field, which was tops among all Celtics who logged at least 18 minutes per game in the preseason. He also showed a greater willingness to get others involved, evident by a team-best 3.0 assists-to-turnover ratio. It’s an important stat considering Brown has never had a season in which his assists-to-turnover ratio was better than 1.01. And his defense was strong as well, with a defensive rating of 63.9, leading all Celtics who appeared in at least three preseason games. 

Tatum Takeover

The Celtics need Jayson Tatum to show a high level of aggressiveness offensively, more frequently. During the three preseason games he played in, Tatum continued to mix up his shot selection but didn’t let up in terms of attacking defenses, whether it was with his perimeter shooting or finishes at the rim. Tatum led the Celtics in the preseason with a usage percentage of 29.8, which — if he were to maintain for this upcoming season — would be a career-best for the third-year forward.

Defense

We are going to be talking a lot about Boston’s defense all season. While it is by no means pretty, the Celtics defense doesn’t have nearly as many warts as we thought. The big concern remains what they will do at center. The preseason didn’t do much to provide clarity, although Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III look like the favorites to start while Enes Kanter will get steady minutes off the bench as the team’s sixth man. While Boston’s defense played well in the last three preseason games, it’s hard to get a true feel for how good the Celtics really are due to the underwhelming competition they faced. 

Rookie Class

Chances are slim that any of the handful of rookies with the Celtics this year will be in the running for the league’s Rookie of the Year award. But all have shown moments — some more than others — of being not only an NBA player but a difference maker. Carsen Edwards is coming off a 30-point game in Boston’s win at Cleveland. Grant Williams and Tremont Waters have shown they might be able to contribute sooner rather than later as well. Injuries have limited Romeo Langford, but when he has played, it’s clear why the Celtics thought so highly of him leading into the draft. And then there’s Tacko Fall, the 7-foot-7 sensation whose game continues to show growth as well and will continue along that path now that he has a two-way contract. 

Kemba Walker

There’s a clear acclimation process going on with Kemba Walker and the Celtics, but there were a number of encouraging signs, particularly on offense. Considering he played 18.1 minutes per game, his 12.0 points per game average is nothing to get worked up about. More telling was how he utilized his time on the floor to get shots that frankly, came about a lot freer than he was accustomed to in Charlotte. 

And the result was Walker connecting on 46.2 percent of his field goal attempts and 62.5 percent of his 3’s. 

Now the 3-point shooting will certainly take a dip when the regular season begins, but it’s not a stretch for Walker to shoot 46 percent or better from the field this season. To put that in perspective, Walker has never shot better than 44.4 percent from the field in a given season. 

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