The Celtic That Nobody is Talking About

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The NBA offseason is unlike any other.  While free agency doesn’t technically begin until late Sunday night, the rumors, and expectations, of who is headed where have been in full force.  At the very least, we know which teams plan to target which players, and who will be visiting who when July 1 hits. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports
Social media posts have been over analyzed.  Reports from “sources close to player x” have been leaked.  It’s wildly entertaining, yet mind-numbingly ridiculous at the same time. 

The Boston Celtics have been smack dab in the middle of all of the drama, with both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford expected to move on, and Terry Rozier a likely candidate to do the same. 

Irving and Horford would be significant losses, no doubt about that.  Even if he was a poor teammate, Irving’s individual talent can't be denied.  His abilities will certainly be missed.  Horford, on the other hand, was a steady presence both on and off the court.  His veteran leadership and overall reliability on both ends of the floor will leave a major vacancy. 

2019 NBA Draft Gear at FanaticsTo a lesser extent, Rozier’s departure will be impactful; if for no reason other than the fact it leaves the Celtics with one proven point guard on the roster.  However, with the increasing possibility that Kemba Walker becomes a Celtic, the loss of Rozier would become irrelevant.

If the Celtics are to sign Walker, there's another person they'll need to move on from, and he's the one guy that appears to have slipped everybody’s mind this offseason.  Marcus Morris.  Though Morris is reportedly open to returning to Boston, it just wouldn't be in the cards if the Walker rumors come to fruition. 

However, Morris was also completely transparent in the fact that he planned to test the market; a right that a veteran like him has earned.  That’s one of things I loved about Morris, his honesty.  Whether it was about his play, or the team as a whole, he never shied from the truth.  He didn’t feed any BS to the media.  He told it like it was, and as a fan, I respect that. 


I would've put the odds at 50/50 that Morris returned at the start of this offseason; maybe even a little less once the news of Irving and Horford leaked.  Knowing that he is going to test the open market, it's very likely that he'll get a sizable offer.  It's also likely that it'll be one that the Celtics may not be willing to match; and even if they were, it's no guarantee he would return.  He could opt for less money to go to a team who is better suited to compete for a championship in the short-term.


However, if Walker lands in Boston, Morris' contract offers become a moot point, because there is no scenario where Boston could keep him.

On the floor, he was an easy guy to like.  Yes, he was a streaky shooter.  Through the first few months of last season, he was one of the top three-point shooters in the league, shooting better than 40%.  However, he shot just over 30% the next few months.  He still managed to post a career high in field goal percentage last year, though.

His shot selection/decision making could be questioned at times, but one thing you could never question about Morris was his effort.  He was one of the few guys you could say that about last season.  You knew that Morris was going to bring toughness, swagger, and energy every single night.  He backed down from nobody, always up to the challenge of defending the likes of Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and more.

Those types of traits are invaluable.  You need guys like that on a championship winning team.  Those are the types of guys that thrive, and have thrived under Brad Stevens.  Guys that come in ready to work every night, willing to do the unglamorous things.  Stevens seems to get the most out of all of his players, but especially those who want to work hard.

Even if the Celtics are able to land Walker, and a bargain-bin big man like Nerlens Noel, and remain a main contender in the Eastern Conference, Morris will still be missed.  His on court production may be easily replaced, but his intangibles won't.  You can count on Marcus Smart, but one guy can only do so much.



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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Celtic That Nobody is Talking About
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