Celtics Offseason

Stevens has ‘green light' to improve Celtics roster after Porzingis trade

The goal is Banner 18, and Celtics ownership is willing to do what it takes to put the best roster on the floor.

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The Boston Celtics made a significant addition to their roster last week by acquiring star center Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards as part of a three-team trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Porzingis is coming off a career-best 2022-23 season in which he scored 23.2 points with 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He also shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range.

The Celtics now have a legit third star to play alongside All-NBA wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. On paper, the Celtics have an incredible roster that also includes Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, Payton Pritchard, Al Horford and Robert Williams III.

Boston could still use a little more depth, though. Sam Hauser is the only other wing behind Tatum and Brown. It would behoove the Celtics to acquire another power forward or center, too, given the injury histories of Porzingis and Williams, as well as Horford's age (37).

Celtics Talk: Kristaps Porzingis on sweet dreams of Boston and planning an extended stay | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens told reporters Thursday that he has permission from ownership to continue fortifying the team's roster with the goal of winning Banner 18 next season.

"We're really lucky. We've got the green light to continue to add," Stevens said at Porzingis' introductory press conference. "I think the biggest part for us is making sure that we are smart about building a team, right? And obviously you're always looking at it from the standpoint of this year, but also down the road. But I do think that, again, we're fortunate that -- we were deep into the tax last year and we'll be into it this year and have the green light to continue to do it.

"We just want to be building a team that makes sense playing together. And sometimes that means spending more. And sometimes that means figuring out that you've got the guys to build around and then putting the right people around them. So that's the challenge here moving forward over the next few weeks"

Stevens added: "Listen, we're trying to win, and everybody is very supportive of that from top down. Starts with our ownership group. We're trying to win and we're gonna try to do the best to put our best foot forward to do that. The required part of that is the right talent to build around it.

"And we're very fortunate to have a lot of talented players. Kristaps is sitting up here, Jayson and Jaylen have been mentioned a ton. We've talked about Al, Rob, we haven't even mentioned Derrick and Malcolm and Payton -- we've got guys who are under contract here that are really, really good players. And so building a team around that, that all fits together in the best way we can, is what we're trying to do, and so it's about winning."

You can watch Porzingis' full press conference with Stevens and head coach Joe Mazzulla below.

The Celtics do have some limitations in what they can add to their roster.

They can't just go out in free agency this weekend and sign one of the best players on the market. They also have to be mindful of the new CBA and its harsh penalties for teams that go deep into the luxury tax and stay there for multiple years. It's a balancing act that all teams must deal with going forward.

Boston could still sign a free agent on a taxpayer midlevel contract worth between $2.5 million and $5 million this season. Some players who might be available for that price include Torrey Craig, Jeff Green and Thomas Bryant.

The Celtics have come really close to winning their 18th championship in recent seasons. They've reached the Eastern Conference Finals five times with one NBA Finals appearance since 2017. The C's are so close, and now it's Stevens' job to find the last piece or two that can push this roster over the top.

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