Boston Celtics

Patriots draw a bead on smooth spending

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Patriots draw a bead on smooth spending

PALM BEACH - The NFL salary cap went bye-bye for a year in 2010. When it returned in July 2011, it had lost some size since the last time we'd seen it in 2009 - from 123 million to 120 million.

This, one would imagine, was not what the players had in mind. But the NFL owners - savvy businessmen that they are - weren't going to make the same mistakes in 2011 that they did in 2006.

Back then, their revised CBA agreement with the players saw per-team player spending balloon from 84 million to the aforementioned 123 million in five years.

Now, the owners have more cost control. Robert Kraft spoke about this Tuesday at the NFL's Annual Meetings at The Breakers.

"I think what you'll see over the next five to six years is a smoother growth in the salary cap," said Kraft. "It won't be the kind of jump that you saw in '06 and so I think it'll require that people manage the resources they have as intelligently as they can."

Kraft then uttered a hard-to-follow sentence, saying, "I think there will be a lot of free agents in the market that just have to manage your cap wisely if you want to be competitive year in and year out."

Was that a false start on making a comment about free agent players? On keeping costs down? Both? Neither?

Clearly, the Patriots are extremely cost-conscious in free agency generally. They've appeared to be even more so this season with short, cost-effective deals to mid-tier free agent targets.

But the teams that have gone in big with deals have at least had the assurance that, when the new TV contracts are signed, more money will come into the league coffers and the salary cap will rise. In other words, the deal that looks fiscally risky because of the cap room it eats up today will look reasonable tomorrow.

Not so fast, said Kraft.

"People are assuming that because the TV spikes, that's all going to get paid. The networks aren't looking to pay us a lot of money right up front. They also smooth out how they pay us out, so I would think the later years of the deals would have higher payments," Kraft explained. "That's the reason for that. They agreed to these long-term commitments but they also smooth out. Part of doing long-term deals allowed for payments that (are gradual). They have to show their stockholders that they did a wise deal so... The good news is we have growth, we have it long-term and everyone's going to benefit by it. But it's not going to be Spikes that will not be good for planning. This way, people can plan."

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!

BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
 
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:

 
Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
 
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
 
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
 
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.  
 
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
 
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
 
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
 
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.

Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
 
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
 
Key losses:
Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
 
Rookies of note:
Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
 
Expectations:
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)

CSNNE SCHEDULE

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

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BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.

4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.

8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.

14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.