Why don’t NBA free agents want to come to Boston?
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In between all of the football preseason hype, The NBA released their schedule for the upcoming year. While I am no green teamer or hoop head, there is one question that always bothers me following the Boston Celtics: why don’t big time free agents want to come to Boston? This summer during free agency, the Celtics were not mentioned in any conversations for the best available targets. No one seems to have a good answer to this question, and it really is a shame Boston is not a major destination for free agents. Boston should be a prime destination for many reasons.
Free agents should want to come to Boston because of the team’s history. With 17 championships, the Celtics have the most in NBA history. While watching a Celtics game, the only banners hanging are strictly NBA Champions banners and retired numbers. Essentially, this is equivalent to a free agent not wanting to play for the New York Yankees. There is such an incredible history of victories that it doesn’t make sense that players wouldn’t want to be apart of this great franchise. Paul Pierce even stated that “just soaking up the history of the Boston Celtics has been the best thing to happen to me as a player.” As a team, the Celtics have access to countless NBA stars who are able to pass down the Celtics’ tradition. Bill Russell, one of the best players in NBA history, is always around the team. Danny Ainge who played for the Celtics in the 80’s is now the general manager. All these players know what it is like to be a Celtic and could help players learn the Celtic history and culture. The Celtics have been one of the most successful franchises in professional sports and it doesn’t seem to add up that players do not want to be apart of this legacy and create their own history here in Boston.
Another reason Boston would be a great place to play is the passion and enthusiasm of the fans. Celtics fans are one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports. Whether the team is having a down year or a great year, Celtics fans will always be there to support their team. The best player in the NBA, Lebron James, even acknowledges how great Celtics fans are. He said in an interview with Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE, “The great thing about being here, these fans are loyal to one thing and one thing only – that’s green. That’s all they see, that’s all they care about. For me being a competitor, for me being someone that they know personally to be able to come out here and perform in front of those guys, it means a lot. Because they know the game, they know basketball, they know sports. It’s a sports town between them and the Patriots and the Bruins and the Red Sox. They know sports. So for me to be able to have some type of history in this city, it means a lot for – I guess for my legacy.” Why don’t other players want to play in front such a passionate fans? Back in 2012 when the Celtics were playing against the Heat, Lebron had arguably the best game of his career in game 6 to force a decisive game 7. Celtics fans were still going crazy for their team. Sherrod Blakely reported after the game that Coach Doc Rivers asked no one media member in particular, “did you hear our crowd the last three minutes of the game?” Similarly, Paul Pierce also added, “what other crowd in the NBA does that? It’s a terrific place to play. The fans were unbelievable. They did their part tonight. We just didn’t do ours. We have the best fans in the world. Down 20, at home, in the playoffs, and they cheer us off the court. And that’s just awesome.” Reasons like this speak for themselves as to why players should want to come to Boston. Fans will love you, and honestly like Doc said where else would this happen? Nowhere. Speaking of that game 6 in this playoffs. Here is the link below:
Lastly, the Celtics have one of the best young coaches in all of basketball. Brad Stevens has been exceptional since signing here. Before coming to Boston, Stevens coached college ball at Butler. He took them to Final Four’s and championships with hardly any exceptional talent in comparison to Kentucky and Duke. He was able to further build up some of his most talented players, such as Gordon Haywood. It is quite remarkable. Stevens has done the same with his Celtics players. He gets the best out of every player on his team and continues to show that he is made for coaching basketball. I can only imagine what kind of team he could make do if he had top tier talent. I know I keep quoting Lebron James, but when you’re the best player on the planet your word means more. He stated on Stevens, “I highly respect their coaching staff and especially their head coach,” James said. “A very well-coached team, he put those guys out there every night and put them in position to win the game and I think Brad Stevens is a very good young coach in our league.” That is what Stevens does. Without the best talent, he puts them in the best situations to win the game.
Admittedly, the Boston Celtics do not have the Hollywood factor of Los Angeles or the nightlife factor of Miami, but it should still
be a big time destination. Boston has great history, a culture of winning, and some of the best and loyal fans in the league, along with a talented coach. It is a shame such a great organization cannot sign players in free agency. Every big move seems to happen by trade, and it baffles me that players do not consider Boston.