Brad Stevens displays on a exceptional Celtics season and appears forward to the subsequent one

“You simply search for issues that take advantage of sense inside your group,” he mentioned. “I believe we’ve to stroll a wonderful line slightly bit. I believe groups are fragile. I believe the way in which groups work collectively and function collectively are fragile. And I believe your id as a crew — once you discover one which’s profitable, which we did this yr on the defensive finish of the ground and after we had been at our greatest sharing the ball offensively — these issues are fragile.

“So simply so as to add does not imply that you simply’re not taking one thing away from the group. And to alter vital items within the group does not imply that may not completely take your id and shift it in a course that is not as profitable. And so it is fairly a wonderful line.”

Stevens mentioned the Celtics would look so as to add items the place the match appears ideally suited, pulling levers with their $6.3 million taxpayer’s mid-level exception, or their commerce exceptions. However he pressured that some increase may come from inside. This season, for instance, Payton Pritchard stepped right into a extra vital function following some February trades and have become an important bench piece.

“I imagine in a few the blokes that did not get an opportunity to play as a lot, that they’ll proceed to enhance and be knocking on that door quickly,” Stevens mentioned.

Stevens didn’t single out second-year wing Aaron Nesmith by title, however actually appeared to be referencing him. After promising moments as a rookie, Nesmith took a step again this season and fell out of the rotation. Nonetheless, the crew values ​​his hustle and protection his and believes he can regain his taking pictures contact.

The commerce exceptions

Commerce exceptions at all times sound a bit juicier than they really are. The exceptions, which expire one yr after they’re created, enable groups to amass gamers with out sending out matching wage in return.

The Celtics have a set of them, together with three notable ones valued at $17.1 million, $9.7 million, and $6.9 million. The most important exception, which was created after they traded Evan Fournier to the Knicks final summer time, expires in late July.

“They’re all cheap quantities that we are able to take good gamers in with,” Stevens mentioned, “so that you steadiness that on, OK, what’s the fee that you will should pay? Are you going to carry someone in that is going so as to add to [your roster]? Not essentially take away, which you clearly do not wish to do.

“So it is nonetheless about being prudent and considerate about what the deal is. However we’re going by way of the entire record and we’re looking for guys that match what we want and can match into how we wish to play and the way Ime [Udoka] needs to educate and makes it in order that this prepare can take off from the get-go subsequent yr.”

Stevens is getting into his second offseason because the Celtics’ president of basketball operations.Michael Reaves/Getty

The Celtics can be a luxury-tax crew subsequent season, so regardless that the exceptions would enable them to commerce for a participant with out being restrained by the wage cap, they’d nonetheless should pay that wage and the additional tax invoice it creates. Stevens mentioned that possession won’t maintain him again, although.

“We have got the OK to do no matter we have to do,” he mentioned.

Confidence in Tatum

Stevens mentioned he had one message for Jayson Tatum after his irritating NBA Finals ended.

“I simply advised him to go on trip,” mentioned Stevens. “Go get some relaxation. This man gave us every little thing he had.”

Tatum began within the All-Star Sport, was named first-team All-NBA for the primary time, and guided the Celtics to the brink of a championship. However his season he concluded with a tough collection towards the Warriors, and he appeared notably down about it after the Sport 6 loss final Thursday.

“I believe he can be the primary to say that he wish to have a few of these moments again,” Stevens mentioned. “However I believed there have been different contributing components to how he performed.”

Stevens thinks fatigue from an extended season, a stagnant offense, and the Warriors’ underrated protection all performed a job in Tatum’s struggles.

“That is a part of the educational expertise about attending to the purpose the place you could have an excellent concept about what it takes to get throughout,” Stevens mentioned.

However he doesn’t need one quiet collection to remove from every little thing the star ahead achieved.

“What Jayson and Jaylen [Brown] have achieved within the playoffs, traditionally at their ages, is rarefied air,” Stevens mentioned. “I believe we ‘re very cognizant of the truth that regardless that Jayson would admit he didn’t play his finest collection his, there ‘s no likelihood we ‘re there with out him and with out all of his nice play his throughout.

“I believe again to all the instances — Sport 6 in Milwaukee was the most effective video games I’ve seen a person play in my time, actually in individual and with the Celtics. With out that efficiency, we might have had this dialogue a month and a half in the past.”

Stevens mentioned that the 18-21 begin to the season most likely elevated the early workloads of high gamers corresponding to Tatum, and the damage and tear confirmed later. A cleaner starting to subsequent yr can be some extent of emphasis.

Evaluating the coach

Stevens’s largest transfer on this new function final summer time was hiring Udoka. There have been some early bumps, however like the remainder of the crew, Udoka discovered a rhythm and thrived. He completed fourth within the Coach of the Yr voting and gained the belief and confidence of his gamers alongside the way in which.

“I believed that he discovered a rhythm in teaching this group that clearly was actually good as we went by way of the common season and into the playoffs,” mentioned Stevens, “and did a superb job of sustaining his competitiveness, but additionally his perspective and evenness all through the playoffs.

“I’ve advised folks I am near all alongside, I believe his potential to bounce again after the powerful losses within the playoffs was actually particular, and his potential to at all times keep humble and hungry all through all of it was actually particular.”

First-year coach Ime Udoka (left) earned reward from his boss within the entrance workplace.Jim Davis/Globe Workers

A clear invoice of well being

Stevens mentioned he didn’t count on any Celtics to wish offseason surgical procedure. Middle Robert Williams appeared hobbled at instances within the playoffs as he handled soreness associated to his March knee surgical procedure, however improved noticeably because the Finals progressed.

“However he must take a while,” Stevens mentioned. “Each our docs and others that we’ve consulted with have mentioned the identical factor. There is definitely no danger in being on the market. However when it is over, you must take just a few weeks for it to fully calm down.”

Adam Himmelsbach could be reached at Observe him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.

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