August 16, 2016, 7:50 am
For the last few seasons most of the talk surrounding the Boston Celtics has been about their ability and desire to pull off a big trade. Every arbitrary deadline reached breeds new discussions and rehashed criticism for Danny Ainge. Many were left surprised when Boston couldn’t trade their top-3 pick this summer, and were even more surprised to see them take Jaylen Brown when many thought that Kris Dunn was the better trade asset.
It seems that the narrative has been pushed so much that we forget to acknowledge the possibility that Boston may not feel the urgency to make a trade that we feel for them. When Ainge was discussing trades with other teams, he probably got a good sense of what player held the most value. If that truly was Dunn, then the negativity surrounding the pick may be entirely unwarranted.
What better proof is there that Boston isn’t as interested in a trade as we think? They clearly like Brown, and they weren’t willing to let him pass unless a great opportunity presented itself. And had they picked Dunn, it could have made a trade more of a priority than it needs to be. The Celtics already have more guards than they can play, so adding another means that you’ll need to make a trade sooner or later.
Maybe the Celtics shouldn’t be pressured into making a trade. The irony in all of this is that most of the assets that they have came from other teams trying to build too quickly. There’s no way Brooklyn thought that these picks would be in the top-5, or even in the lottery. Dallas had an amazing offense when they traded for Rajon Rondo, and then lost him for nothing at the end of the season, and failed to make any sort of progress in the playoffs.
Without a doubt the Mavericks would love to have Jae Crowder back (among others), and Brooklyn would absolutely want their picks back after failing to do much of anything with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
So after watching these other franchises fail in their attempts to speed up the building process, why speed up their own? There is certainly a point where Boston will want to condense some of these assets into a superstar talent, but why does that time need to be now?
Al Horford will be in Boston for quite a while, and the team has Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder on two of the best contracts in the league. Bradley will be far more expensive in two years, but even then the team may feel that Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown or RJ Hunter can step in and take his spot.
With their current cap space, there’s no reason to think that the team can’t chase big free agents next summer as well. Boston is definitely a market big enough to attract top players if the team can prove that they’re good enough, and adding Horford this summer could be exactly what they need to get into the Conference Finals.
If the Celtics choose this route, then they still have valuable assets to pull off a trade for an all-star level player, and if they’re able to get one in free agency as well, then we could be looking at them as one of the best teams in the NBA, and an easy title contender.
If they need even more motivation to wait, then they can look at how the current NBA landscape has been formed. While the Thunder never won a title with Kevin Durant, their team was built almost exclusively through the draft. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Serge Ibaka were all first round picks for the team, and players like James Harden and Reggie Jackson were drafted by the team and subsequently traded for other pieces.
The Warriors, as many of us have been made painfully aware, were also built largely through the draft, and that’s partially what enabled them to get Kevin Durant the way that they did. It would be hard at this point to argue that the Cavaliers were built entirely through the draft, but Kyrie Irving was their own first round pick, and having LeBron James changes the way that a franchise operates.
If Boston chooses to make a trade for a superstar this summer, they could be an incredibly dangerous team, but the fact is, it doesn’t have to be now. Many assets are overvalued this time of year, so trades can be hard to come by. Being patient is what gave them the team and the assets they have now, and being patient could be what gives them sustained success down the road.
April 20, 2019, 6:26 pmBlake Griffin - F - Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) is feeling "much, much better" according to coach Dwane Casey and is will go through warmups to determine his status for Saturday's game.
Detroit has not been able to make the first two games of this series competitive and it would make sense for them to let him give it a go for the home crowd. Either way, the Bucks look to be in total control of this series.
Source: Keith Langlois on Twitter
April 20, 2019, 6:22 pmSpencer Dinwiddie - G - Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 18 points with four boards and one steal in Saturday's 112-108 loss to the Sixers.
Dinwiddie continues to play well off the bench along with his fellow guards Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell. The Nets let this one slip away and will now have to win in Philly to keep their season alive.
April 20, 2019, 6:17 pmJarrett Allen - C - Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen scored 21 points with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in Saturday's Game 4 loss to the Sixers.
Allen had a nice final stat line, but he was getting worked by Joel Embiid all game. He also had a costly turnover at the end of the game when Tobias Harris, Embiid and Ben Simmons trapped in on the block – Harris may have gotten away with a foul.
April 20, 2019, 6:10 pmD'Angelo Russell - G - Brooklyn Nets
D'Angelo Russell scored 21 points with six assists, seven boards, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers in Saturday's loss to the Sixers.
Russell played well in this game outside of his 2-for-10 shooting on 2-pointers, and even hit a few clutch shots down the stretch. He continues to give the Sixers fits on offense, but the Nets came up just short in this one.
April 20, 2019, 6:04 pmCaris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets
Caris LeVert played 42 minutes in Saturday's Game 4 loss scoring 25 points with five rebounds, six assists, one setal and three 3-pointers.
LeVert was expected to play more in this game after only logging 23.7 minutes per game over the first three. He once again looked healthy and commanded the game at times. After watching today's game you could not have guessed he suffered a gruesome injury earlier this season.
April 20, 2019, 5:53 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid was unstoppable in the Sixers' Game 4 win, posting 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and six blocks on Saturday.
Jarrett Allen had absolutely no chance against a one-legged Embiid. He's clearly the best player on the floor in this series and the Nets will have to get creative in defending him, or hope for an injury, if they want any chance at coming down from a 3-1 deficit.
April 20, 2019, 5:49 pmTobias Harris - F - Philadelphia Sixers
Tobias Harris tallied 24 points, eight boards, six dimes, one block and one steal in 43 minutes of work in Saturday's win against the Nets in Game 4.
Harris seemed fairly quiet in this one but he still managed to come away with a great line, as he does sometimes. We'll see if he's tired for Game 5, but they will get an extra day of rest for travel.
April 20, 2019, 5:41 pmMike Scott - F - Philadelphia Sixers
Mike Scott logged 27 minutes on Saturday and hit a go-ahead three with 19.7 seconds left in the game and the Sixers held the lead to take a 3-1 series lead.
Scott also grabbed eight boards in this one and played a lot down the stretch with Jimmy Butler out due to ejection. The Sixers could not get past the four or six point mark for most of the game but finally closed the gap and took the lead towards the end. This game was surely the most exciting of the playoffs so far.
April 20, 2019, 5:00 pmJimmy Butler - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers
Jimmy Butler was ejected in the third quarter of Game 4 for escalating a fight started by Jared Dudley, who was also ejected.
Butler was protecting Joel Embiid after Dudley shoved Embiid following a foul on Jarrett Allen. Butler was 4-for-6 from the field with 11 points, four boards, four assists and two steals and the Sixers will certainly miss him as they try to come back against the Nets in this one.
April 20, 2019, 4:55 pmTorrey Craig - F - Denver Nuggets
Torrey Craig will start Saturday's Game 4 over Will Barton.
This was somewhat expected as Barton has disappeared so far in the playoffs. Craig will give the Nuggets a lot of defense in the starting lineup and will hopefully let Barton do his thing off the bench.
Source: Harrison Wind on Twitter