This summer has been filled with many headline-grabbing moments with the acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, and fan expectations have well and truly been cemented. Although the excitement is as high as the expectations for fans, there has been a mixture of upset -due to the departure of fan favorites Marcus Smart and Robert Williams – and anticipation for what these new arrivals bring to an already stellar Boston Celtics side.
With media day now finished, it’s time to take a look at what the players and coaches have to say about the new acquisitions.
What does Brad Stevens have to say about new Boston Celtics arrivals?
Amanda Pflugrad from Celtics.com, on NBC Sports Bostons’ stream of media day, started off by saying that it feels like the Celtics are “assembling the Avengers” with the Jrue Holiday trade. She then asked Brad, “How did you get that deal done Yesterday?”.
"“Well, it was a long process. When you pay the price we paid – the picks are the picks – but specifically Rob and Malcolm, and Rob, who we’ve seen grow up here, you know, that’s a hard thing to do. So, to get an idea of what they ultimately want, what’s pheasable and how it pretends to work when you get it all together, you know, you’re trying to weigh all that stuff. But, I just dont think you can pass up an opportunity to get a guy like Jrue, as I said in my media session, when you add in what we all know he can do on the court, with the kind of person and teammate he is, hes just a good fit for us”."
When it was announced that Williams was used as a trade piece to get Holiday, a lot of fans felt that the move was initially a bitter pill to swallow, and from his answer, we can see that it was a tough move to make but he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sign a player of Holiday’s ability.
We all know Brad by this point, everything he does is to benefit the team, without emotional interference.
He was asked again about the trade during his press conference:
"“There’s a list of guys in the league that you always think that youll never have a real chance to get that you think are perfect fits, that you’d love to be a Celtics, and Jrue was one of those guys”. Brad then added, “The reasons are, i mean everyone can see what he does on the court and hes a really good player, multiple time All-Star, the defence has been well documented etc, but i think it’s that hes an elite teammate, elite competitive character, you know, all of those things."
Brad knows why he made the trade and in the business of winning, sometimes it’s the tough moves that have to be made – and this was surely a tough one. He sees Holiday as a “Perfect fit” for the current Celtics team, and as much as it hurts to lose Williams, I have to agree.
The defending, playmaking, and determination to win that Holiday will bring every game is something that Boston needs if they are going to raise banner No.18 this year.
Boston Celtics HC Joe Mazzulla has his say on the Jrue Holiday trade
Amanda Pflugrad leads the interview on NBC Sports Boston by asking, “How does he (Holiday) help elevate this team?”.
"“Just adds more character to what we already have and adds mindset. A level of toughness, a level of physicallity, the reputation he brings on the defensive end of the floor is key, but we’ve had a lot of battles against him in years past and hes made a lot of timely baskets, he’s made a lot of plays on the offensive end. So its our job to fit him in and it’s his job to bring that character and mindset and, you know, i think it’ll be a great piece”"
Mazzulla, like Brad, can see the value that Holiday can bring to the Boston Celtics, things that don’t go on the stat sheet – character, toughness, physicality. With the pieces we used in these trades, Smart and Williams especially, it can feel like we lost a lot of the toughness and physicality but Holiday can certainly make up for what we lost and we have plenty of players who boast those qualities.
During his press conference, Mazzulla was asked about his thoughts on Holiday and how things may have changed going into the season, from a playing perspective.
"“I mean, i think things will change a little bit, from the beginning, you know going into the offseason and most of the preseason having a general idea of what the roster is and then it changle a little bit, but i think it’s changed for good. I think both were good, the roster before and the roster now is good. So, just more focusing on each guys strengths and, obviously, Jrue has a high character, plays with a great mindset and has the reputation of being a tough defender – and somebody who can really change the game on both ends of the floor, so just looking to plug that in to the kind roster of we have.”"
Following that he was asked about whether he would go with Holiday and Derrick white in the backcourt or if he would go with a double-big lineup.
"“Yeah, i mean, we put thought into that. I think with the roster we have i thought something that was good for us last year was our ability to go back-and-forth of double-big and playing small.” Mazzulla went on to say “I want to be as open-minded as we can knowing we have a lot of flexability in the backcourt and in the front court.”"
The flexibility, when it comes to the starting 5, is something that has certainly been expanded upon from the Jrue Holiday trade and Mazzulla has more than enough options as to how he can start a game and adjust accordingly throughout. Being dominated in the post? Play Horford and Porzingis. Struggling to stop a team’s perimeter offense? Play White and Holiday. This flexibility can be a huge difference and other teams may struggle to adjust as well as we can next season.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has his input on the Jrue Holiday acquisition
Marc D’Amico from Celtics.com asked Tatum in an interview with NBC Sports Boston about his feelings towards both losing Williams in the trade as well as the arrival of Holiday.
"“I mean, Jrue’s a great player, great person. I had the priviledge of being on the same team, the Olympic team, two years ago and we won a gold medal. Obviously hes won the championship and he’s as respected as anybody in this league. It’s just how he carries himself, how he plays on both ends of the ball, so very fortunate and lucky to have him”"
Again we hear comments made about how Holiday performs on both ends of the court, and when looking at his stats, we can see why this keeps getting mentioned. Last season he averaged a very impressive 19.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 7.4 APG, and 1.2 SPG.
Having someone who can average 7.4 assists is huge when the Boston Celtics boast such an array of offensive talent that coupled with his scoring ability of 19.3 a game, and 1.2 steals per game, it’s clear to see that Boston certainly has a versatile threat on their hands.
In terms of winning, it’s great to hear Tatum mention how fortunate the Boston Celtics are to have his services next season with Holiday being an NBA Champion with the Bucks, and after winning a gold medal together already. Knowing that they are familiar with how it feels to win together makes me feel like they can do it again.
Tatum then went on to comment on how he felt about losing his teammate, and friend, Robert Williams in that trade.
"I spent five or six years with Rob, you know, that’s somebody I was really, really close with, somebody that was a big part of the success that we had as an organization over the last couple of years, so to see him get traded was tough. Thats somebody that you grow and build a relationship with and, you know, things happen fast right? No one saw that coming and so you feel for that.”"
Tatum is clearly feeling the double-edged sword as much as the fans are, losing Williams in that trade was tough to handle but the arrival of Jrue is the most important thing. We wish him all the best in Portland, but our eyes should now be fixated on what is being built in Boston – which is hopefully a championship-winning roster.
During his press conference, Tatum jumped the gun by saying “I know what you’re going to ask me” and then went on to talk about his summer workouts with Paul Pierce. Following that, a reporter said about how he was going to ask about his thoughts on Holiday as well.
"“I was about to say that next”, he responed laughing. “Excited about Jrue, one of the most well-respected guys in the league. Great talent on both ends, champion, we won a gold medal together. Happy to have him.”"
Again Tatum mentions the respect that Holiday has garnered over his career and his excitement is completely justified. They are getting a player who wants to win just as much as the rest of the Boston Celtics roster does. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table when playing in Celtics Green, as well as how Holiday and Tatum play together. The chemistry is already there.
What were Jaylen Brown’s comments on the Boston Celtics arrival of Jrue Holiday?
Amanda Pflugrad asked Brown on NBC Sports Boston about his reaction to the news of the Jrue Holiday trade.
"“A little bittersweet. I mean, obviously Rob and Malcolm are two really good friends of mine, you know, Malcolm being from the same hometown and Rob, just being with him for so long. It’s like going through high school and middle school with somebody, been six years, it’s somebody that you’ve grown with, you learned with. So for him no longer to be around, initial reaction is it stings a little bit but you know, thats life, I know those guys are going to kill it where they’re at and I welcome Jrue.”"
Yet again, the bond between the players and Malcolm and Williams gets mentioned, expressing the same bittersweet feeling that we all felt when the news broke. Although losing their friend from the court and locker room is tough, their eyes are on the prize – Banner 18.
He then continued to comment more on Holiday.
"“Jrue is an assassin, he’s a killer, somebody that i got to play against in the playoffs and i’ve guarded him, he’s guarded me. So, you know, true competito, i’ve a lot of respect for him.”"
Marc D’Amico followed that up by asking about Holiday guarding him and what he thinks about Holiday’s defense.
"“He plays with like, a force that people don’t necessarily understand. Like, certain players have a force or gravity about him, especially when the game is on the line in the Playoffs. His will, his relentlessness, he can really push his team and propel his team forward – like some other players don’t possess. Jrue has that energy level, like when he wants to win and he’s all in, it can be hard to beat a man like that.”"
That’s the other end of the sword, the end that benefits you and the team, and I love the way Brown is describing Holiday – an assassin, a killer, having a force or gravity about him. Clearly, Brown, like everyone mentioned so far, can see what Holiday brings to this Boston Celtics roster which is relentlessness and the ability to drive a team forward in crucial games and moments. A player with those traits is welcome in Boston. There have been nothing but positive words said about Holiday himself, and his ability, showing that they can see the bigger picture – winning.
Other Boston Celtics stars have their say
White was asked during his press conference about the Holiday trade and the shift that the locker room has gone through this offseason.
"“Obviously, it was big news, adding Jrue Holiday is going to do a lot of things for our team. I mean, through his whole career he’s done so much, he’s a champion, he’s done a lot of things so adding him? I was super excited. Obviously, its tough to see Malcolm and Rob leave, they were such big parts of our team last year and, great people, great players so it’s tough to see them leave, but adding Jrue is going to be exciting.”"
Elite defensive guards can recognize other Elite defensive guards. Although White might be dropped to the bench when the Celtics start with a double-big lineup, he knows what Holiday can bring to this team and that he’s still an important piece. As well as that, he knows that some games and some matchups will require small-ball, and that’s when the All-Defensive backcourt can show the league what they’re made of. The perimeter defense this team now boasts is stellar.
During the press conference, a reporter stated that Horford was probably Williams’ biggest fan before asking him how it felt losing him last second, but “on the flip side”, getting to play with Holiday next season.
"“Yeah, Rob is somebody that, since his rookie year, i’ve seen him grow. So grateful to be able to play with him and he’s such a great teammate about the right things, trying to play the right way, super unselfish, and he’s somebody who i just really enjoyed playing with.” Horford then went on to add, “…and then having the opportunity to play with Jrue, somebody that i respect so much and look from afar with admiration. Just the type of player that he is, the type of person that he is, he’s about the right things and he is about winning and competing. Im really excited about that and developing that relationship and chemistry with him and moving forward with it. He’s somebody, you know, i just would never have imagined to be playing next to him but now that he’s here, i’m excited.”"
The vet has his say and, much like everyone else on the roster, feels the pain of losing Williams whilst simultaneously feeling the excitement for what Jrue can bring to the team. Horford had so many positive things to say about him, saying that Holiday is someone that he can admire and respect is huge when coming from someone as well-respected as himself. Just like Horford, I can’t wait to see Holiday build relationships and chemistry with the team as I’m hoping he will be here for a few years.
It’s interesting to see the perspective of one new arrival about the acquisition of another new arrival and during the press conference, we got to hear Porzingis’s take on the trade. The question asked was how assured (about the teams’ championship aspirations) he felt after seeing the Jrue Holiday trade.
"I mean, this was already clear? No? These guys have already been super close for a while, and then adding myself, adding Jrue now, it’s clear what we’re trying to achieve here now and thats why i said that’s the only goal. As coach said in this mornings meeting that we have to live that life, we have to live that life daily, and then that reality is very real."
Porzingis is aware of what team he just joined and what their overall goal is with his arrival, which was only cemented further when the trade for Holiday was announced. After getting so close, so many times over the last few years, it’s clear to see that this organization has one goal in mind – a championship. I’m excited to see how Kristaps and Holiday play together, the pick and rolls alone fill me with so much enthusiasm.
After hearing what the players, Mazzulla and Brad have to say about the arrival of Jrue Holiday, it’s obvious that there are high aspirations in the organization for the 2023-24 season. The players have echoed the same feelings as the fans from this double-edged sword type of trade, they feel as much upset around the loss of Williams as they do excitement for what Holiday can bring to the Boston Celtics dynamics going forward.
Well-respected, top defender and an assassin with a force like gravity are only some of the many positive words being said about the recent acquisition. Can Holiday be the piece that was missing from the championship-winning puzzle? I can’t wait to find out.
Banner No.18 for the Boston Celtics incoming?