(The Athletic) - The 19-21 Celtics have indicated to rival teams that they want to build around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — and have no interest to split up the two All-Star forwards right now, sources said. The 18-21 Celtics appear open for business around other players on the roster. Boston engaged with the 76ers before the season about a potential Simmons deal, but showed no inclination to move Brown.
First off Shams, it's 19-21, not 18-21. The Celts are doing a fine job on their own of making sure their record is as embarrassing as possible right now, I don't need incorrect records to make things look worse. 19-21 does it just fine. But hey, I get it, typos happen. There will without a doubt be typos in this blog because some of us subscribe to the idea that it's about telling not spelling. Anyways, that's not the point of that blurb. The point is it is very clear that Brad Stevens and ownership follow the same way of thinking that myself, a ton of Celtics fans, and Jalen Rose believe in
This is now the 4th or 5th time we've seen this exact "update" given. It's come from a wide variety of sources too. Yet for some reason, people can't let this go. The second the Celtics lose in embarrassing fashion, the splitting up the Jays talk perks up. Will that ever change regardless of what guys like Shams or Woj report? Of course not. That shit drives clicks and engagement in 2022. It's the name of the game. The only way to stop that from happening is to win, and well, that's a work in progress right now. Because of that, you have to deal with all the extra noise. As I always say, if you don't like it or what it to stop, win. It really is that simple. The vultures out there don't talk about breaking up teams that win. So if Tatum and Brown want this shit to stop, it's on them to find ways to ensure it does, and that comes from winning basketball games.
So that part of the blurb is something I think everyone should expect to hear. It's also true that they would not leak that one of those two is available to the media, but it's consistent with everything we've ever heard come out of the team side. The interesting part at least to me is the second half
Celtics appear open for business around other players on the roster.
Part of this is also common sense. No shit guys like Dennis Schroder are going to be open for business, mostly because of his contract situation. They lose him for nothing, don't own his Bird Rights, he makes practically nothing and there are teams out there that could use a point guard. What I wish Shams threw in there were an idea around who those "other players" are. I can't imagine didn't ask for names. So outside of Dennis, does that mean Rob/Smart/Al? Does that just mean end up bench guys to a team that is maybe looking for expiring deals? Is that any of the young players? I suppose all of those are on the table with a statement like that.I read it a few times and I did not see the words
"The Celtics are not interested in moving any of their core pieces alongside Tatum and Brown"
Which makes some sense. When I think of the Celts roster and their path to building, it comes in stages. I think that's important to remember. Stage 1 was offloading Kemba's deal to bring back Al and is more tradable contract. It gave them flexibility moving forward. Step 2 was finding more mid level salaries to include in potential deals that didn't involve your main guys. The Celts didn't really have a lot of attractive options at those prices last year. Enter JRich, Schroder and Juancho (his expiring 7M is the attractive piece, not the actual talent).
Stage 3 is the trade deadline. You spend the first half of the year assessing what you need, and can use your tools to find it. Now, we have no idea if ownership is going to be interested in being a luxury tax team this year. Their deadline could be mostly around getting under the tax and that's it. If they choose to add, you have plenty of ways to add in pieces that could help without going into your bigger contracts that you might need if a bigger deal presents itself this summer. If that happens at the deadline, you pounce, but I find that to be unlikely.
When it comes to their roster, I've talked before how I group the players on this roster in terms of my trade tiers, and since we're getting closer to the deadline, here it is again
This idea that I would never trade anyone on this roster is simply not true. I just would not trade players that bring in a worse return. Seems pretty simple to me. Everyone outside Tatum and Brown should be available, but they come at different prices. If you aren't getting back a legit 3rd piece, I don't see the point in moving Smart/Rob, shit like that. Jabari is no longer on the roster since that tweet, but the rest remains the same.
When it comes to someone like JRich, I get he's playing well and is a legit rotation piece. But remember, you have to give something to get something, and if you're not trading anyone in those first two tiers, you're moving him/Dennis as part of a package. Ideally you'd like that to maybe be Romeo/Nesmith, but given the fact they don't really play and haven't really shown flashes of a ton of value, you can't expect another team to actually want them as a main trade piece.
My stance has always been consistent with this. I would like to see Brad exercise all his options before he starts entertaining moving players from that 3rd piece tier, unless that large deal presents itself at the deadline (again, unlikely). Use your TPEs, use your filler contracts and bring in areas of need. Then you have the second half of the season to gauge what else might need to be done. If they bring in a legit shooter and things STILL don't change, at least you know that heading into the summer when you'll probably need to make a tougher decision.
But like I said, will any of this stop the Brown/Tatum bullshit? Don't be so naive. Anonymous sources are foaming at the mouth to start something the second this team loses to a bad team again and that could happen literally any time the Celts play one. That's the way things go. We have a month until the deadline hits, and it's safe to assume things will only get crazier until then.