Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics could have gone in a lot of different directions this summer but Danny Ainge made clear with his opening remarks of the press conference that bringing aboard Walker and Kanter was his top priority this summer
“When we got done with the draft and we started our preparation for free agency, as we started planning for Plan A, our Plan A was Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter,” Ainge said. “We were very fortunate that they chose the Boston Celtics. We’re very excited about what they bring in many facets of the game but also as people. And who they are is just as important as what they are on the court and what they represent.”
This, of course, was hedged wisely with the after the draft qualifier by Ainge. He admitted that he had an idea that Kyrie Irving would not be returning to the Celtics towards the end of the regular season.
Boston Sports Journal — Takeaways from the introductions of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter
There seemed to be a genuine excitement during yesterday’s introductory press conference that went beyond the Celtics welcoming in an all-NBA talent and an all-NBA comedian. Yesterday, in many ways, felt like a final turning of the page from last year’s Celtics to this year’s team.
And in hearing Danny Ainge discuss this “plan A” scenario, it feels like the Celtics had been waiting to do this ever since Kyrie Irving moped off the court in game five in Milwaukee.
My first thought when I heard Ainge say that Walker/Kanter was Plan A was to scoff. From a talent standpoint, it’s a real dip from Irving/Horford. But given the realities of the situation, the NBA free agency landscape and the Celtics’ cap flexibility, I can see why it was option number one of a variety of possible iterations.
We’ve all covered why Walker feels like the right fit, even at a max player price at age 29. Just hearing him talk yesterday, it’s nice to have a point guard who isn’t pontificating about who-knows-what and whose ego actually fits in the door at the Auerbach Center. Walker talks like someone who knows he’s great, but knows that he’s going to need to earn the trust of his teammates and endear himself to the organization and the city.
Some have quibbled about bringing in Kanter while losing two defensive stalwarts in the front court in the process. I for one want to give Ainge and his crew and Stevens and his staff the benefit of the doubt before railing against them for neglecting defense in the front court. If Kanter was their Plan A center replacement, they must envision the Cs being a far better rebounding team than they’ve been the past few years and having an offensive failsafe on possessions where they just want Kemba to dump the ball down on the block and let one of the best field goal percentage guys in the league get them a bucket. If the Celtics are on a 50 win pace but keep getting battered by the Philadelphias, Indianas and Milwaukees of the world on the interior, I’m sure there will be a buyout big that can fortify things.
We’ll all have plenty of time to talk Xs and Os and see what the new additions look like on the court a few months from now, but while all introductory press conferences feel like honeymoons, this one was as refreshing as it seemed, because the divorce papers on Kyrie Irving were finally filed and put away for good.
NBCSports Boston — Ainge: Walker, Kanter were Celtics ‘Plan A’
On page 2, Tacko Watch continues
“I think that Tacko’s going to have a chance to make the roster. But we’ll see,” Ainge told co-hosts Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine at the Auerbach Center. “… We see some upside there. We’re excited about him.”
Fall, who averaged 7.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in the NBA Summer League, is signed on an Exhibit 10 contract, which means another team could swoop in and sign him at any point, even if he survives roster cuts and joins the G-League affiliate Maine Red Claws.
But the Celtics could protect Fall by signing him to a roster spot (perhaps on a two-way contract), which they have available after waiving Guerschon Yabusele. And in discussing Fall’s play in Las Vegas, Ainge suggested that’s a possibility
“Tacko is fun to watch,” Ainge told reporters Wednesday. “I mean, he makes me laugh. Some of the plays he makes are hilarious, because you just don’t see them. Guards get in a bind and they just throw the ball up in the air and then Tacko grabs it and tip-toe dunks it into the basket. It just looks like a senior in high school playing against fourth-graders sometimes out there.
“He’s a great kid, he’s working really hard. We want to take his development very, very seriously. He’s a high priority for us to try to really develop into a player.”
NBCSports Boston — Tacko Fall is a ‘high priority’ for Celtics. Has a chance to make team
We’re about to enter into the NBA’s dead zone. Take a deep breath, wade right in, and just try to think positive thoughts until mid-September when we start back up again. Two months of NBA nothingness is upon us now.
But here’s our storyline! What will the Celtics do with their open roster spot? Is usually a manufactured question meant to try to simply fill time during July and August, but this year it involves our newest and tallest Celtics’ cult hero!
Danny Ainge is a master at always saying something diplomatic during media appearances, but I think he really means it when he says the Celtics want to develop Tacko.
We won’t get the answer during these dead months, but at least we visualize lobs to Tacko above the rest of the NBA bigs and then standing dunks from the big fella without him ever leaving his feet.