Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
I’ll overreach and take this comment as a positive sign the Celtics are going to re-sign Isaiah Thomas. If there was an ounce of acrimony in talks between the sides – and believe me, numbers have been exchanged – Ainge wouldn’t be making comments on social media.
I think the deal will be in the 3-4 year range with an AAV of $30-35 million. It might not be the max, but those numbers are Brinks truck level for a guy who’s made about $20 million to date.
On Page 2, a B+ grade for the Celtics offseason?
The Celtics landed the big prize in free agency, convincing Gordon Hayward to pick them over the Miami Heat and the incumbent Utah Jazz. Because the cap came in lower than expected, clearing room for Hayward required Boston to part with a key player. The Celtics chose to trade ace individual defender Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris, a swap that is a financial upgrade and better balances the roster but still might be painful in the playoffs.
Signing Hayward spared Boston harsher criticism for losing out on potential trades for Jimmy Butler and Paul George. It’s unclear whether dealing for George would have been worth the price because of his ability to leave next summer, but the cost for Butler probably would have been more reasonable with two years left on his deal.
The Celtics will also be graded long term on whether Jayson Tatum is good enough to justify trading down from No. 1 to No. 3. Despite Tatum’s prolific scoring in summer-league play, I’m still somewhat skeptical.
I guess a B+ is fair. Whether they signed Hayward or traded for Butler/George, the Celtics were giving up assets. Losing Avery Bradley stings a lot now, but losing him next season for nothing would have hurt a lot more.
And let’s not forget a big part of the Tatum for Fultz trade is the future lottery pick. Speaking of…
And finally, next year’s draft might be even better.
Marvin Bagley III, the Phoenix-grown power forward who’s the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018, has filed paperwork to initiate the reclassification process and is considering playing college basketball this season if he can get cleared by the NCAA.
Bagley, a 6’11”, left-handed power forward, already has quite the rep as a prospect: On Sunday night, he held his own while playing on a Drew League team with James Harden and Chris Paul in Los Angeles, and if Bagley ends up reclassifying, he could go on to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. His move to the Class of 2017 is no lock, though, as he’s played at three different high schools in Arizona and California, potentially complicating his transcripts, and has only a month left before he’ll need to be ready to enroll in college.
Bagley III would join an elite top-of-the-draft class of big men that includes 6-foot-11 Missouri-bound forward Michael Porter, 7-footers DeAndre Ayton (Arizona) and Mohamed Bamba (Texas) and Texas A&M big man Robert Williams. The top international prospect is Luka Doncic, a 6-7 wing from Slovenia.
The Nets might be better next season but they’re still going to land in the bottom 5 or 6.