Fittingly the Celtics are dedicating nights to seven decades one by one for the upcoming season, as Brad Stevens locking up one of the faces of the 2010s era Celtics (if not the face) and perhaps what’ll hopefully be one of the standouts of the 2020s.
Marcus Smart was offered a four year extension worth $77 million earlier in the summer. I believed initially the price to retain Smart’s services would be heftier than that. Buddy Hield is on a four year, $94 million contract for Sacramento, and he isn’t better than Smart. Fred VanVleet is on a four year, $85 million deal with a player-option on Toronto, and, again, he is not better than Smart.
If Smart isn’t receiving a player-option that means he’s getting some sort of compensation for forgoing this crucial bullet in a player entering his primes chamber. Right? No. Instead he signs for the initially reported offer, no player-option and merely a 5 to 15 percent trade kicker. If Bradley Beal isn’t coming to Beantown, and if Stevens doesn’t want anything to do with Zach LaVine, that trade kicker will never matter because that’s the only way Smart doesn’t finish out this new contract in Boston.
Followed up by the Robert Williams $54 million extension, locking him into Boston’s grasp until 2026, in my opinion this is what’s best for both sides. Williams gets his money, as he’s never been able to consistently stay on the court despite his upside that fact still lingers when assessing his value. Boston managed to take advantage of the situation by signing him to what either will be a tradable contract or an absolute heist.
While it’s clear Smart will start at point guard and dictate the offense this upcoming year, Williams is in a contest with veteran Al Horford for the starting gig. The Celtics possess many more capable bodies they did not have previously, so hopes are high Ime Udoka does not, if ever, turns to the dreaded double-big lineup. For all the talk about how this is a “make or break” year for the established stars on the roster a name that’s seldom mentioned that’s going to matter sooner rather than later is Jabari Parker. Being the lone natural power forward on the team he’s likely to beat out third year tweaner Grant Williams for the backup four spot. A contest I think he’ll win.
While there are issues with the team, no roster is perfect, I feel we’re in for a better season than last year. I harp on how Covid depressed the value of last years’ team, but really their ceiling was 40 wins. If we’re able to dodge Covid entirely I think the Celtics will win over fifty times.
In an off-season of utter uncertainty and reshuffling the new regime locked down their face of their franchise on a generous contract, and perhaps the face of their next generation.
This off-season is a palate cleanser similar to the Sixers the previous year. Dumping the fat and centralizing the offense around their best assets and rebuilding a defense first identity. If Ben Simmons wasn’t such a coward I believe Philadelphia would have won it all last year.
It’s a good thing we don’t have any cowards wearing green.