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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Celtics offseason headlined by big roster changes

Julia Capraro
TD Garden during a Celtics preseason game against the New York Knicks on Oct. 17. The Celtics begin their season Oct. 25 against New York.

After a heart-wrenching end to last season and a jam-packed offseason, the Boston Celtics are approaching their season opener with a new team and mindset.

Last year’s playoff run ended much differently than many hoped, with a 4-3 Eastern Conference Finals series loss against the eighth-seeded Miami Heat. 

The loss was a tough reality for fans. After an NBA Finals loss in 2022 against the Golden State Warriors, the excitement for another finals win was at an all-time high. 

Though the strength of last year’s team seemed unmatched, the tense environment of the conference finals showed to be their greatest weakness. Their steady in-season run in comparison to their conference finals struggle against the Heat indicated some major changes needed to take place.

The most shocking change was the trading of Marcus Smart. Smart was a leader on the team, and a beacon for solidarity amongst the Celtics, making the trade particularly emotional.

No one felt more emotional about the trade than Smart himself, who told the media that he was hoping to retire as a Celtic. The news broke to the media before it even made it to Smart, who said he was told he was “safe” a week before the trade, according to an interview with The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.

“I did cry. I have cried. I’ve cried because of the special relationship I have with the guys. I grew up with Jaylen [Brown] and Jayson [Tatum] their whole career, all of those other guys, even Al [Horford],” said Smart.

His emotional reaction to the trade left fans reeling at the fact they won’t get to see number 36 step onto the court in Boston until the February Celtics vs. Grizzlies game. 

The trade did welcome Kristaps Porzingis to the team. Porzingis is a powerful and invaluable player to any team, as his performance on the Washington Wizards indicated. With a 38.5 shooting percentage from three-point range and 23.2 points per game last season, his impact on the Celtics is highly anticipated and already showing in his preseason performance.

Jrue Holiday also made his way to the Celtics in the offseason. Holiday, who was on the Milwaukee Bucks last season, was traded to the Portland Trailblazers in late September. Boston acquired Holiday only four days after the trade to the Trailblazers, in exchange for Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III and future draft picks. 

The move came after a standout season for Brogdon, who was named the sixth man of the year for his performance with the Celtics. 

These trades left the roster looking a lot different than the previous season, but among the returning are major players like Brown, Tatum and Derek White. Brown is back in Boston under one of the most lucrative contracts in NBA history. The five-year supermax contract was signed in July, with a payout of $304 million for Brown. The contract solidified the star duo of Tatum and Brown for at least another two seasons.

Other extensions include Payton Pritchard, who recently signed a four-year, $30 million  contract, a 300% increase from Pritchard’s initial contract with the Celtics. With Smart and Brogdon gone, Pritchard will be seeing more of the court this season. 

Behind-the-scenes changes are also in effect, with Jeff Van Gundy being brought on as a senior consultant. The previous NBA analyst is expected to bring his expertise and honesty to the franchise.

“It’s good to get a guy who hasn’t been here before that can kind of have an unbiased opinion as to where he thinks things are and where they need to go,” said Celtics head coach Joe Mazzula to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg.

The offseason trades and changes made for a clear champion success mindset. The Celtics’ inability to round-out their conference finals appearance in the championship has led the team’s changes to focus on a win-now mindset. The focus on high-level talents should yield an exciting and successful season for the Celtics.

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About the Contributor
Julia Capraro, Editor-at-Large | she/her
Julia is a sophomore broadcast journalism and psychology major from Canton, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the journal, she is President of Suffolk Visual Arts Club. She loves cooking, crochet and reading in her free time.

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