The biggest asset the Boston Celtics possess is the fact they already have two budding stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Now it’s about complementing them and constructing a roster which brings out the best in them, as noted by president of basketball operations Brad Stevens on Monday during a post-trade press conference. Obviously, it seems rather obvious for the Celtics to talk about building around Tatum and Brown, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
Stevens seems to believe the Celtics now are one step closer to being able to do so with some recently gained financial flexibility. It comes after Boston traded point guard Kemba Walker and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The transaction helped the Celtics re-acquire 35-year-old center Al Horford and 21-year-old Moses Brown while, perhaps first and foremost, getting out from under Walker’s contract.
“The ability to make our wings better is going to be a huge part of the people that will be around them,” Stevens told reporters, per The Athletic’s Jay King.
It was a major theme throughout the press conference. And it’s a good thing. Simply, the Celtics will be making decisions which ultimately help maximize the skillset of their best players.
Stevens doubled and even tripled-down on that when asked about potentially adding veterans to the complement the younger group. Horford, of course, fits that bill rather perfectly. He is well-respected throughout the league, but most importantly he’s respected by Tatum and Brown, who already have played with Horford in Boston.
“I think that is an important thing,” Stevens said of potential veteran additions, noting it could come during free agency or in a trade. “Experience and been-there-done-that is a good thing. But again, you have to be smart about it.
“… What we need to do is continue to see great growth out of those (younger) players and ultimately decide who makes our best players better,” Stevens added. “And that?s why we wanted an open road ahead (with the trade).”
Stevens acknowledged how he has kept in “close contact” with a group of Celtics players, including Tatum and Brown, in the weeks since Boston’s 2020-21 season concluded in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Stevens talked to both after the trade of Walker, too.