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.
One good sign for the Celtics: According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, two of the most important players on the Celtics — Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — are already big fans of Walker.
“They love Kemba,” Windhorst said on the latest episode of the Hoop Collective. “They love him. It’s a double-edged thing. Jaylen Brown refused to talk about the past. He was like, ‘That was then, this is now, we are artists painting a new painting.’ …
“They’re saying how much they like Kemba, but it’s also kind of a way saying, ‘We really didn’t like Kyrie.”
After a season of diva behavior from every player on the roster, this is a good starting point. It was well documented how much the Celtics didn’t get along with each other last season and hopefully that rift amongst teammates is a thing of the past with the changes that came this offseason.
Over the years it’s bee seen how much chemistry can dictate what happens on the floor. Obviously last season their poor chemistry ultimately led to their demise, but in prior years, it’s been their main strength. Think back to the 2017-18 season post-Gordon Hayward injury. That team rallied behind each other all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. While there are other factors that played into the Celtics’ success that season, chemistry stood out as one of their strengths. They played for each other and that trust/camaraderie went a long way that season.
It’s interesting to compare 2017-18 and last season because of how much chemistry effected those teams in different ways. They basically were polar opposites in that facet and it’s evident how chemistry played a role each season. On one hand, great chemistry almost carried them to The NBA Finals, on the other hand, poor chemistry led them to one of the most disappointing seasons in team history.
Kemba Walker isn’t Kyrie Irving in terms of on court play. He is however, a quality teammate, and someone who appears to seamlessly fit in with the Celtics. He got to start bonding with the team through Team USA and he’s developed quite a friendship with his Celtic teammates already. Hopefully this keeps up and by the time we roll into opening night that bond is as strong as it can be.
It’s key to also not underplay the theme of stability there is with the Kemba Walker signing. He isn’t on a rental deal, he didn’t get traded here, he decided to come here and commit for the next 3+ seasons. There’s also certainty amongst the other players in terms of where they stand on the roster as the days of them being dangled like a carrot for Anthony Davis are over. This faith in Walker/the rest of the roster and stability will bode well for a team who has been moving pieces around since they traded away the remains of the Big 3.
Part 2: Where Jaylen and Jayson’s extensions loom large
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were both drafted third in consecutive years, which means Danny Ainge has a couple of big decisions to make over the next 400 days or so. However, both of them might be made around the same time.
Brown is extension-eligible right now, but Danny Ainge probably isn’t keen on committing $170 million to Jaylen Brown over the next five years at the moment. Brown has had a nice beginning to his career and he’s got a lot of promise as a contributor on a winning team, but he hasn’t earned that kind of commitment quite yet…
Tatum, like Brown, is essentially playing for a contract this season too. Tatum can get his extension next summer, and if he takes a significant leap this season, there will be significantly less gamesmanship from Boston’s front office. If Tatum can apply some of the positive things we saw during the FIBA World Cup, then there’s a strong chance he proves to be a cornerstone piece of this franchise. At that point, a max contract offer would be a given.
This is where things start to get a bit hairy for our Boston Celtics. The Jamal Murray contract put the Celtics in a tough spot as it seems like that may be the going rate for these rookie scale extensions. It’s a copycat league and after Murray was gifted with his $170 million dollar, it’s likely Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum started to have their minds on their respective pay-days.
The Celtics are going to have some tough decisions on the horizon with these extensions and Gordon Hayward’s player option for next season. With Hayward, it’s more likely that he would only opt out in a scenario where he’s played himself into another max contract and it’ll demand a pretty penny. If not, his $34 million dollar option will be on the books for 2019-20. Either way, there will be some aftershocks from what happens with Gordon Hayward’s contract.
In which case, it’ll get dicey with Brown’s contract negotiations as the team will be dancing around the luxury tax. Wyc has been on record saying that he would pay the luxury tax, but the question now is, how deep would he be willing to go into the luxury tax to keep this team together.
After the Kemba Walker signing it was clear that they would have to finagle in order to keep this core together for more than a couple of seasons. The Brown/Tatum deals are the first step in this effort to keep this Celtic core together for years to come.
And Finally…KG is a movie star?
First off, when did Adam Sandler start making crime thrillers? Second, when did KG get into the acting game?
The answer to both of those questions is a mystery but as far as I’m concerned, it looks pretty good. The best NBA player performance I’ve seen is by far Ray Allen in He Got Game but Kevin might have something here. It’s unclear how much Garnett will be in the movie, but between that, and Adam Sandler pivoting from subpar Netflix Originals to crime thrillers, I’m intrigued.