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Brad Stevens Is Up To Something And Nobody Has A Clue What It Is

For this entire postseason, every single Woj/Shams bomb that we've had in regards to the Celts has been a surprise. It's exhilarating to live through if we're being honest. There's nothing like the feeling your entire body gets when your phone buzzes and you see the Shams/Woj tweet preview on your screen. First thing you do is for sure not read the actual tweet but instead scan quickly for any mention of your favorite team. Once you see that, you get another jolt and then go back and read. It's a wild experience that I'm fairly confident every single person who clicked on this blog has lived through over the course of their sports fandom. 

So this latest one? Tells me one thing. Brad is up to something. Nobody has any fucking clue what that something is but I know he's following the steps of a plan. To understand this move you first have to look at how it fits into everything else he's done. The shocking part was the additional year of guaranteed money before you've even see Richardson play with your guys. There was certainly an initial shock and confusion when we all first read those terms. Not that it's crazy money, it's not and maybe that's the point, but I'm pretty sure we all thought the Richardson move was to fill a need immediately while getting his contract off the books next summer. But as we're learning, this is a fluid situation. We're all just sitting on the outside looking in at trying ot guess what Brad's plan is. Let's take it from the top.

Trades Daniel Theis to get under the luxury tax line

The big thing here was to obviously push out the start of the repeater tax bill. One can assume this was important because if ownership thought there was a chance to land another big salary player in the immediate future, you want to delay that tax as long as possible. Once that dude is on your roster, you're going to be paying the repeater tax big time. 

Trades Kemba for Horford, doesn't give up any 1st round picks after 2021

It cost Brad a first round pick to get off Kemba's deal, we know that. The fact that Brad made it the 2021 pick instead of a future year helps any future package you could potentially offer for a star that might be available starting in 2022. Remember, you can't trade consecutive first round picks. You can do a pick swap immediately following a year that you traded a 1st, but thats it. When you're building a potential package for a star player, you obviously want as many 1sts as you can possibly have.

By bringing back Horford you have a nice expiring deal that isn't even fully guaranteed. This is important because when it comes to matching salary, you use the big number. When it comes to what the new team will have to pay him, it's the smaller number. Now if you need big time salary, you have it.

Extended Marcus Smart and Rob Williams

If you ask most people, they prefer to find a way to trade for someone like Bradley Beal without giving up Jaylen Brown. That's a pipe dream obviously, but if it were to happen it's going to cost essentially all your other good players. Having Smart and Rob both locked up long term at good money helps you get there from strictly a salary perspective. That path now exists, someone just has to bite. The idea being that a team trading for those guys can either flip them for other assets, or has a return for a player who could leave anyway that is locked up for 3-4 more years.

Extended Josh Richardson

Looking at everything we've seen so far., would it shock you if this felt more like adding trade salary than committing 2 years to Richardson for him to stay in Boston? It felt like the team told us they extended Smart and Rob that their path to a star was via trade and not free agency. So when you factor that in, the fact that Richardson potentially carves into future space doesn't even matter since they weren't going to have max space to begin with. Especially if just like Smart and Rob, they bigger part of their extensions is finding salary matching money. 

And if it's not Beal, then it's someone we're not even thinking about. That's at least how Brad's actions make it seem. Once you make it clear that your star hunting will come via trade, it opens up more possibilities. Those possibilities require a different combination of pieces in order to make it happen. These market value extensions give you ammo when combined with your future picks. 

The Celts went into the tax this year. Ownership has said they'll pay the tax to compete. There has to be a connection between that and then these extensions. Now of course, none of this matters unless Brad is able to get this over the finish line, whatever this plan ends up being.

What that is, is anyone's guess.