This Old Boston Blues

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Updated: August 4, 2021
bradstevens

Upon the island in Manhattan, there has been a series of desperate signings which probably will lead to future tears of mass hysteria in Madison Square Garden when it’s all said and done. Down on the City on a Hill, however, it’s awfully quiet. The Boston Celtics made a few interesting moves early and looked like this would be the offseason under new management where moves would be made and picks or young assets would be dealt. They started by unloading Kemba Walker for not as steep of a price as expected, as they attached 1 protected first-rounder to get off his albatross contract. In return, they brought home the old and semi-washed Al Horford.

With the remains of the trade exception, they swallowed up the Josh Richardson contract from Dallas who were anxious to get off him and his player option due to the poor fit and abysmal 3 point shooting he had provided next to Luka. They then preceded to dump another problem in Tristan Thompson to Atlanta for Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando. Getting off of Kemba and Tristan early in the offseason felt like a win and positive point of attack to the start of transactions before the season and yet it was about all that has happened.

Celtics fans have been promised a Marcus Smart + picks trade for so long it seems to have been built into his bio. Reports now indicate that Boston will retain Smart and will be “eyeing the 2022 offseason.” This offseason for the Celtics seems to have been solidified with their last signing a few hours ago, bringing back the great Enes Kanter. With a change in the front office regime, there were expectations that the roster would have some sort of shakeup after the very disappointing 2020-21 season. Instead, Boston acquired two decent guards who were no longer wanted by the franchises they were on and brought back two old centers who most contenders around the league would hesitate to sign on a minimum deal.

This wouldn’t all be such a disappointment if it wasn’t for the expectations that had been set back in the Kyrie days a few years back when Boston was crowned the franchise of the future. They had a treasure chest of picks, young-up-and-coming two-way-wings, and the best head coach in basketball…and yet now they find themselves as a 2nd tier team in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference. After the catastrophic injury of Gordan Hayward, the Irving debacle, and the fragile knees of tiny Kemba Walker, Boston is waiting only on internal development for growth. The War chest of picks turned themselves into players no one out of Boston cares about and without including Jaylen Brown in a trade, there really doesn’t seem to be any available after the 3rd time around with Smart on the block.

To be clear, I like the Josh Richardson acquisition. A defensive-minded guard to hopefully create a switch-all defense. But every year, we are promised picks to be moved and some real piece to be added and again Boston balks at the mount and watches everyone around them spend and trade while they punt on this season. Because it is quite clear, until Tatum or Brown takes two steps up from where they are and end up at MVP candidate levels, this team isn’t even on the cusp of a title contender.

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