This is everything you need to know about the Celtics and the Heat, wrapped up in a nice, neatly packaged, 4-minute, 17-second video.
It's all in the first impressions.
Tune in to Comcast SportsNet for Celtics Pregame Live tonight at 7:30
While Boston's Big Three was introduced to the world during a modest press conference, the Heat's Big Three came complete with confetti and a stage built for rock stars.
While the Celtics knew they had to fill out their roster with productive role players, the Heat boasted they could have their 65-year-old president Pat Riley make a return to the floor and not miss a beat.
While the Celtics understood they had work to do before they could be deemed a favorite for an NBA championship, LeBron James predicted "not one, not two, not three, not four . . ."
How's that worked out for them?
BOSTON – The bewitching hour is nearly upon us when the Celtics can get down to the business of bolstering a roster that has shown tangible growth (read: more wins, baby!) every year under Brad Stevens.
The free agency period begins at the stroke of midnight tonight - the first shot Danny Ainge and company will get to make a case to free agents Kevin Durant, Al Horford and Dwight Howard.
Boston is one of six teams that Durant will meet with, so a decision by Durant isn’t expected immediately.
That may not be the case for Horford and Howard, who are among the most coveted free agents available and will likely get multi-year, near-max offers quickly.
In the past, Boston has added players that were targeted via free agency because they fit a very clear and well-defined role.
Boston wanted to add a rim-protector last summer, so they went out and signed Amir Johnson.
It certainly didn’t bring about the kind of “fireworks” Celtics fans were hoping for, but Johnson did prove to be a solid addition in helping Boston win 48 regular season games – the most under third-year coach Brad Stevens.
This summer is different.
The Celtics have to do more than just add a nice rotation player to the mix.
They need a stud; pure and simple.
They need to add a player who immediately comes in as a starter who can help jump-start Boston’s quest to become one of the game’s elite teams again.
Adding such a player is easier said than done, obviously.
And making it even more difficult now is, unlike past off-seasons when only a handful of teams came into free agency with fat pockets like Boston (they can potentially add two max-salary players), the league’s new TV deal kicks in this summer and has created a much larger field of financial fat cats.
With money not being as big a difference-maker now, decisions by players will likely come down to opportunity to play and comfort level with an organization.
And that is a good thing for the Celtics.
Getting coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Ainge signed to long-term extensions was about more than just continuity within the organization.
It also sent a strong message to potential free agents that the guys you are negotiating with now, aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
And with Stevens at the helm, a number of players have come through Boston and left better for the experience, basketball-wise and financially.
Evan Turner came to Boston two years ago as a player many dubbed as a bust. He leaves as one of the game’s most versatile perimeter players who will land a salary that will more than triple the $3.4 million he made last season.
It is that quality that may convince Dwight Howard to sign with Boston. You will be hard-pressed to find a player as heavily criticized as Howard (much of which he has brought upon himself) who can still play at a fairly high level.
Last season was one of his worst in the NBA and he still averaged a double-double of 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game along with 1.6 blocked shots.
Getting him back to being one of the league’s elite centers would be the greatest reclamation success story ever for Stevens and would provide Boston with an impact free agent, a sight seldom (if ever) seen donning a Celtics jersey.
Isaiah Thomas says he isn't a big fan of players around the NBA being so friendly with each other during the season.
Isaiah Thomas joins Johnston & Flynn (in for Toucher & Rich) to discuss his recruitment of Kevin Durant and other NBA players increasing interest level in coming to Boston to play for the Celtics.