I can't lie, my brain is absolutely nowhere close to being used to Brad being the GM/President of Basketball Ops of the Celts. It all still feels so weird and probably will for a while. Now that he's made his first official move and traded Kemba, I've been very interested to hear what he had to say about it. We used to do this exercise with Danny Ainge so now it's time to do it with his replacement. Brad spoke to the media today and covered a lot, so let's see what he had to say.
I found this interesting mostly because of the story that came out over the weekend that suggested Kemba actually hated Brad's guts. While I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, this does feel like a post Kyrie situation a little bit. You never heard Ainge come anywhere close to saying a bad thing about Kyrie during that whole fiasco. Perception around the league is important. Players LOVE Kemba, so the fact that Brad talked about him like this doesn't feel like an accident. The thing is, Brad talked about Kemba like this basically all year but you knew this was coming with this being the first time he's speaking publicly.
Another page right out of the Danny Ainge playbook! You heard a lot of talk around "financial flexibility" when it comes to this trade. Look, we can all agree that financial flexibility is important. But you actually have to do something with it. All the flexibility in the world doesn't mean dick if you don't use it or if you do use it and you choose the wrong path. You can only hide behind the idea of "financial flexibility" for so long. Ainge used to do that all the time with his draft picks. Sometimes it worked out, other times it didn't. This also tells me Brad and Zarren might have a plan as to what they are going to do with this new financial flexibility and I cannot wait to see it.
I would LOVE to know what other deals might have been out there. Need someone to leak that info immediately. I tend to agree with Brad here, and I wrote about it this weekend. As long as you correctly set your expectations for Horford, from a fit standpoint it should help. He's not the 2016 version, there's some regression defensively, but the dude can pass. His skillset will work next to the Jays. I do think that's just the added bonus though, Brad again mentioned the money, which to me is obviously the driving factor behind this move.
Now this is really the only thing I truly care about from Brad's presser. The Jays love Kemba. He allowed them to thrive and had no problem taking a backseat. In today's NBA, you cannot do anything without getting complete sign off from your two best players, especially when they are young franchise building blocks. So, this tells me a few things.
Either they signed off on the deal and that's why Brad pulled the trigger…OR…Brad had to do some damage control because he just traded a player his two young All Stars loved playing with and he had to put out that fire. I'm just glad Brad realizes the game. You have to keep these two guys happy or else anything you do means jack shit. I do wonder how different this may have been from how Ainge operated. We have no idea if he was this open with the Jays in regards to potential moves, but as we move forward all I care about is that nothing Brad does ever blindsides his two best players.
So what's the biggest takeaway?
1. Kemba was mostly moved for money, but at least they got a player back who Brad likes and knows fits the system/his best players like.
2. Everything we can expect from this roster construction moving forward will be about supporting the Jays and making them better. That's really all that matters. So when you think of potential players we might see Brad go after, keep that in mind. Style, size, skillset, if they don't fit with how the Jays play don't even waste your time.
Brad had the balls to pull off a blockbuster before he probably even moved into Danny Ainge's office. The Brad Stevens GM Era is off and running, now let's see what he does.