The Celtics went on a winning streak against unmanned competition, and when the trade deadline came, it was unanimously agreed that it was time to strike. During the stunning 24-hour period the team traded seven players and added guard Derrick White and center Daniel Thees.
The Celtics then dominated and roared to 20-6, including 20 wins or 20 wins. They enter as title contenders in the opening-round playoff series against the Nets on Sunday, a fact that seemed incomprehensible two months ago.
“I think so, [president of basketball operations Brad Stevens], And Wyc showed real resilience through early suffering because it’s not fun, “said assistant general manager Austin Ainge.” We played worse than we thought. No one wants to see our team. Many, many organizations would have panicked, and the three people in charge here would not have panicked.
‘Do What We Can’ to Get Him ‘
In October, Krusbeck made it clear to Stevens and Utoka that he would not judge them based on a rock start. The Celtics are coming off a disappointing .500 campaign and have rearranged their front office, training staff and inventory. The grooves are going to be there and it won’t help anyone if they embarrass the leaders.
“If I was quiet then they might be wondering what I was thinking,” Grossbeck said. “But I did not. I gave voice, I think there are pieces here for long-term viewing. I did not make any phone calls after the game, ‘What’s going on?’ That’s not how I act. “
In January, Grossbeck arranged a zoom call with Utoga and Stevens, which focused on mapping the map.
Gruzbeck, who sailed in Princeton, told Utah that if he tried to cross the Atlantic Ocean, he would be on the list of a small group of players who would like to go on a boat with him. Utoga wanted to know who he trusted, who worked hard, and who was irreplaceable.
“The essence is, ‘we accept what we want and what we see,'” Grossbeck said. “I’m really listening to Brad and Eme. I’m not making any suggestions or directing to make sure we’re on the same page.
Although Utoka had been on the job for a few months and was primarily responsible for the production in court, he felt he was empowered to share his intelligence.
“After listening to someone else’s perspective from Brad and others for so many years, I think it’s good that they are listening to it,” Utoka said. “There are a lot of similarities between what Brad and I saw things and some players who can help us. And we have the right to take a step back this year. “
Utoga said the Celtics would benefit from the addition of outdoor shooting and ensure their top-notch security with a versatile wing and big man. He thought Dennis Schroeder and Josh Richardson were key areas, but he did not know if they fit right into his plan.
“We lost some of the fronts in the games and the offensive stuff didn’t match all the time,” Utoka said. “How do we get a team to really help Jason [Tatum] And Jaylan [Brown] Going forward? And when D. White’s name came up, I said, ‘If possible, we’ll do whatever it takes to get him.’ ”
The first domino
Although this was Stevens’ first business term since turning Danny Einge into a leading decision maker, he was already comfortable with the public rhythm. He planned three trades last summer, including the giant deal that sent Kemba Walker to Thunder in exchange for Al Harford.
During the eight seasons he has been head coach, he has been involved in some timeline chaos. He realized in his new post that this would be a year-long task.
“A ton of time, a ton of thinking, a ton of branches you need to get out of your mind, and as an employee to find what you think is worth following,” Stevens said. “Yes, you have to make decisions within 3 days of the trading deadline, but you’re preparing for those decisions months in advance.”
One of the branches stretched as far as San Antonio. The Celtics were interested in the first white of the 2017 draft. In 2019, White joined Tottenham, Brown and Marcus Smart in the USA Basketball FIBA World Cup squad, and Stevens was further inspired.
After receiving approvals from Utoga, who was White’s coach at San Antonio, and assistant coach Will Hardy, Wing Boston’s main deadline was formed. The Celtics thought his prowess and defensive versatility and being on contract for the next three seasons would make him a perfect complement to Tottenham and Brown.
Conversations began at the start of this season, and the Celtics made their interest clear. But Spurs did not shop for the 27-year-old guard and did not know if they would break up with him.
“We understood what the price type would be and I don’t think we were very confident that there would be a real discussion for a week or two until the deadline,” Jarron said.
Spurs were 19-34 at the time. The pages eventually came up with the framework, but the first round of selection for 2022 had to concede protections for Boston’s abandonment.
Jaran has seen numerous deals being broken at this point, but the roadblock has been lifted. The Celtics sent Richardson, Romeo Longford and their 2022 first-round pick to Spurs 1-4.
‘Suddenly, things got better’
The White acquisition would make Schrder somewhat redundant, and the Celtics were still in search of a versatile third-string center.
Stevens coached Tees for 30 seasons in Boston and loved his work ethic and the fact that he was in the playoff battles with this team center. But superficial discussions with the Rockets were not promising.
The Celtics moved on and held talks with other teams regarding Schrder and center Ennes Freedom, but they never got a drag. Then, less than an hour before the deadline, the rockets were called back and asked if the offer was still on the table.
There are some questions as to whether it would make sense to add a third string center to the four-year, $ 35.6 million deal. But Harford’s contract for next season has been partially guaranteed, with climbing great Robert Williams battling injuries, and freedom being limited to a liability and offense in defense.
Within 10 minutes of the deadline, the Celtics agreed to send Schroeder, Freedom and center Bruno Fernando in exchange for rockets.
“It’s not the latest deal we’ve made, but it’s close,” Joran said.
Earlier in the day, the Celtics traded injured players Pol Pol and PJ Dosier in a move to pay for the magic. In total, they sent seven players and added only two. There were holes to fill, but not important ones.
Second-year defender Baton Friedzard was out of rotation, but the Celtics held him back, and they saw the house cleaning as an opportunity for Bridchard to reclaim a key position.
“I’m talking to Baton, ‘Well, this is what we have now. It’s your role moving forward,” Utoka said. “He’s obviously looking forward to it.”
White, tees and britzards are now essential parts of Utoka’s nine human cycle. White averaged 11 points, 3.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds and rebounds per game and appeared comfortable in his new environment almost immediately.
Thees played well in his defensive role, but since Williams slipped as a starter three weeks ago following a knee injury, he has averaged 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds at that interval. Pritchard rocked his poor shooting start and finished the regular season as the team’s leading 3-point shooter at 41.2 percent. All three will have a significant impact if this team pushes any playoffs.
In January, when the team trailed 11th in the Eastern Conference, the idea of a long post-run may have met with cynics. But good health and subtle changes have changed beliefs about what is possible.
“Suddenly, things got a lot better,” Grossbeck said. “The chemistry we’ve had for the last few months is rare. It’s insane.
Adam Himmelsbach can be accessed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter AdamHimmelsbach.