Celtics mailbag answer: We don’t talk about Bradley Beal

Welcome (again) into the offseason. I wanted to start with a mailbag, and some of you asked questions (thanks!!!). Of course there are a lot of people who decide to make a statement, so what do you need me to do? Seriously though, the comments section is at your disposal, so keep doing what you do (while respecting each other and being a good person).

However, let’s look at the question you provided and the answer I tried. Results may vary.

tenacious D

Jeff, you are on deck. Swing for fences (Beal or similar) or bunts and singles (support bench)?

You know as much as I do that Brad preaches singles. That’s not to say he won’t try to make solid contact on dangling curves or stretch the gaps of singles into doubles. I’ve probably exhausted all my baseball metaphors.

The thing is, I don’t see any big star deals happening (in part because of the salary that needs to be paid) unless there’s a sweetheart deal we can’t say “no” to.

So let’s talk about the Bradley Beal-shaped elephant in the room. Yes, he and Tatum were good friends from a long time ago. Yes, the topic of playing together in the past may have come up. But how did this happen in Boston? Just to match the salary, you have to start with Jaylen Brown (plus another middling salary), or you have to start with Al Horford and add more salary. I currently think Jaylen Brown is more valuable than Beal (who hasn’t proven he can guard at all), and I don’t want to undermine the core that just made it to the Finals.

If you start with a package that includes Al Horford and future draft picks, I tend to think that another interested team could easily pass us. The only way this could happen (as Dangerous Cars and others have repeatedly mentioned) is if Beal explicitly asked for a trade to Boston and would only re-sign with Boston (and possibly several other impractical teams).

To summarize: I understand why this topic keeps popping up. However, compared to all the other times we didn’t trade for him, things haven’t materially changed. So I can’t see it happening.

Beal aside, Brad Stevens may decide we’re only one mid-size move away from being the team to beat next year. I don’t (yet) have any names, but I’m thinking of a solid starter who could also come off the bench if necessary.

basketball whisperer

What are the odds that Stevens will reunite with Ainge and take over the Utah Jazz?

Again, I understand why this question was raised (Marc Stein even raised it and shot it down immediately). Stevens left coaching for only one year, and the POBO thing has only been done for one year. So far, he has achieved very good results (although he has not yet won the ultimate award). I’d be shocked if he didn’t give this at least a few years.

pager

Question for you:

1. Nik Stauskas, Brodric Thomas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, Luke Kornet…bye?

Not at all. At least not yet. Bring as many people as possible back to training camp where they want to go. If we can add better options deep down the bench, some of them will be cut or let go in some way. But one or more of them may just be one of the diamonds among the rough people we see from time to time.

2. Will they continue to give Nesmith meaningful playing time and give him a chance to develop? Or is he no longer in the plans for the future?

I think we’ll know more about that when we see if they take his rookie option. If they do, then they clearly see him as valuable (both to us and in the deal). If not, then you might see him either finish the year as a pending free agent or get offloaded in some kind of trade.

I personally support him, but I admit the early results are not encouraging.

3. Will Brad come back in Thursday’s draft and try to get another pick, or will he go up in the draft? Or will he follow his past tendencies and either stay at #53 or even trade that?

I think the focus will be on adding core and giving us a chance to win a championship next season. The rookie doesn’t make a lot of moves in this area, so I don’t think he’ll actively try to get to the first round. Unless, of course, a pick is added to the trade to bring back an impact player, which is a transitional trade. But you never know.

4. Will any of those fabled TPEs become the real thing?

If there’s a chance to use them, it’s now. Teams don’t have many different avenues to add talent (no first-round picks, no cap space), so using TPE in a trade would be a pretty easy way.

Doing so would leave the team deep in taxes, but the ownership group avoided taxes for another season this year and said they would pay taxes for the contenders. Maybe it’s time to deliver on that promise.

I’ll take a note: Brad doesn’t (and shouldn’t) use TPE just to add a guy. The fit has to be important, and it has to be the right deal. Otherwise, you risk putting the team in trouble for years to come.

5. We need backups at centers and power forwards that are better (both in talent and physique) than the possible backups on our current roster…how do we get them?

Theoretically a backup big man is always available. The theory goes that you’re either paying superstars (Embiid, Jokic) big bucks or just filling the roster with low-cost options. No low-cost option is perfect, but neither is an expensive mid-range option, so why not roll the dice for a cheaper option and spend your cap space elsewhere?

Find a veterinarian for long-term observation in Boston. With Horford aging and Rob Williams at risk of injury, there is at least one regular-season role that could expand if the right man comes along.

6. What is the future role of Daniel Theis?

Daniel is what he is now. A good option as a backup large (albeit a bit pricey – see above). He could also be a paycheck in the trade.

7. Did we manage to find any free agents that would go beyond the Tristan Thompson/Jeff Teague/Enes Kanter type of signing?

Again, I certainly hope so. On the one hand, we’re just in the Finals, so this year’s veterans will at least make the Celtics look longer. There is clearly an opportunity here as well. On the other hand, the Celtics can’t compete for the best free agency with the money they have to spend. So it might take some time to play out.

8. Will Sam Hauser succeed with the Celtics or will he have to go elsewhere to find success?

He could definitely find a role in a future team. With his stellar performances in summer league and training camp, he should have a very good chance of earning a spot in the rotation. This guy can go all out to shoot, and if he can do anything else on the court to contribute, he’ll have a chance.

reconnaissance

Here are two that can be used:

1.) Seeing Marcus Smart as a player this season, do you think he’s better offense and playmaking? Or do you think the Celtics would consider selling a premium on him because we have Derrick White, about 85% of what Smart gave?

good question. If the team continues to struggle like it did at the beginning of the season, I’d be more supportive of the 85 percent plan. That’s part of the beauty of that trade — it applies to any direction the team goes.

However, with the team’s success built largely on Marcus’ defensive identity, I don’t think the team is going to leave him at all.

He certainly has his limitations, and we all know that. But in my opinion, the good outweighs the bad, and next season it’s up to Ime and his teammates to get the best out of him offensively.

2nd) Do you think Kyle Kuzma is an easy player? How does he fit in with the Celtics?

Yes, if only such a Celtics beat writer could ask Kuzma for this picture of the Lakers at the time, I hope that happens.

Thank you everyone!

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