Brad Stevens And Ime Udoka Should Do Everything They Possibly Can To Convince Patty Mills To Come To Boston
While watching Australia become the latest country to embarrass Team USA, I couldn't help but be impressed with the play of Patty Mills. Guy was nails and is honestly someone who turns into Prime MJ whenever international play starts. This wasn't the first time we've seen Mills give Team USA the business, and I'm sure it won't be the last
This interests me obviously because you see my favorite basketball team currently has a point guard depth issue. They need more NBA ready guards. Period. As of the writing of this blog, this is the current Celtics point guard depth
Yam Madar (maybe)
Obviously, things can certainly change between now and the start of the season. They have to if we're being honest. You can't enter the season with that guard rotation and then maybe a little point Romeo/maybe Fournier mixed in here and there. This is relevant because guess what? Patty Mills is currently a free agent and from the looks of things is not about to retire.
I would describe his 2020-21 season as solid, but nothing crazy. Not that efficient from the field at 41%, but he did shoot 37% from three with 2.4 3PM a night. He's your typical scoring veteran guard off the bench. Last time I checked, that was a need. Payton Pritchard can only do so much. What I love is Mills basically never turns it over, averaging just 1.0 TOs for his career. You never know what the Spurs are going to do considering Pop loves the guy, but when you hear that they are potentially open to moving other guards like Dejounte Murray or Derrick White, it feels like they'd be going in on a full rebuild. If that's the case, there's no real need to pay a 32 year old point guard in free agency.
The plan is simple. Leverage the relationship the new head coach Ime Udoka has with Mills and convince him Boston is where he should take his talents. They spent from 2012-19 together in SA, so the foundation should be there. The hard part is his price. He's coming off a 4/48M deal, and the Celts don't exactly have a ton of money to play with in free agency. Sure there could be a sign and trade possibility, but that feels unlikely. If they are able to stay under the tax, they'd have the non taxpaying MLE to play with which is $9.5M. Should they enter the tax, that becomes like $6.5M or some shit. It's not as if the Celts are the only team that could use some proven NBA guard depth, so my guess is there will be suitors if the Spurs decide they aren't interested in bringing Mills back. I do wonder though if what the Celts can offer in terms of role plus the relationship with Udoka might be enough to convince him to take less money. It's a prayer, and a long shot, but as a player I think it's a move that Brad should definitely call about. His skillset is something the roster could certainly use.
He's a player with 90 career postseason games, he's won a championship in which he averaged 45/40% splits (8 years ago to be fair), if things go south health wise and you need to spot start him, I would feel comfortable with that. Maybe most importantly, he's a player who knows his role and thrives in it. Couldn't you say that's something this team needs more of? Guys that are OK in being a bench player or having a lesser role and making the most of their opportunities?
In looking at the potential guard free agent class, it's not pretty so this isn't the first time I've spent time thinking about the possibility of adding Patty Mills to the rotation. Watching him carve up Kevin Durant and Draymond Green last night took it up a notch though. So far this offseason Brad Stevens has been throwing a near perfect game, and if he's able to find a way to bring in Mills on a good team friendly price in free agency, we can add that to the list.