First Move in the Books
Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Brad Stevens pulled off his first move as the President of basketball operations for the Celtics today and it was a good move.
The Celtics absolutely needed to dump Kemba Walker’s contract, it should’ve been the first move made and it was. I would’ve taken a second round pick and a sack of old basketballs for Kemba but the Celtics got more.
The biggest thing they got was the salary flexibility. The Celtics will be saving over $30 million over the next two years making this deal. They potentially opened up a max slot for next offseason. That alone makes this deal a win but they also added two bigs, that they desperately needed. Anyone who watched the Celtics last year and don’t think they needed more help at center and power forward doesn’t know what they are watching.
They acquired old friend, Al Horford and Moses Brown from the Thunder. Horford was pretty average in his last year here two years ago but he is still a serviceable big who is fundamentally sound on defense. He’s still a good passing big on the offensive end, which is good for Tatum and Brown. This will likely be a one year experience with Al but it could be a good one year.
As for Moses, he reminds me of the Time Lord but maybe a little better on defense and a little worse on offense. He’s tall and lanky but is a good rebounder and shot blocker. He only averages about 8 points a game but had an impressive 21 points and 23 rebound game against the Celtics this past season. He can score when he’s playing against an average-to-poor defense and can be a rebounding machine. He’s not going to be great but is he a good big off the bench? Absolutely. The Celtics gave up a first round pick to make this deal happen, as far as I’m concerned, you weren’t getting anyone better than Moses Brown at #16 so essentially he’s your 2021 first round pick.
This move was also an indication that Stevens didn’t love how Danny Ainge built this team. He couldn’t even wait for the NBA season to be over before dumping Kemba which coincidentally was Ainge’s last “big” signing. Danny didn’t give Brad enough bigs the last couple of seasons and of course Brad trades for two in his first move as president.
I love how quick this move happened and how it was basically an even trade. No more are the Boston Celtics only going to make a trade if they win the trade. Think about last off-season when Danny was waiting around trying to get an extra asset out of Indiana for Gordan Hayward and the deal fell apart. You lost out on Myles Turner and had to settle for Tristan Thompson because you wanted more in return. Sometimes it’s good to just make a fair trade quickly instead of asking for more and risking the trade falling apart. Danny Ainge would’ve never made this trade, he wouldn’t have given up a first round pick and would’ve wanted more in return. Thankfully those days are over and the Celtics can go back to making fair trades and not hoarding first round picks in the teens.
Brad Stevens still has a long way to go, this team is nowhere near the top of the East at this point but today was a good start. I think the goal of Brad Stevens should be to get the Celtics to the 4 or 5 seed in 2021-22 while opening up the salary and creating the flexibility to sign or trade for a player next offseason that can make you a championship contender in the long run.