Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Marcus Smart talks with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics during a game. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics took a step back in 2022-23, in terms of playoff achievements. And President of Basketball Ops Brad Stevens may need to make major decisions on the team in the aftermath.

With Jaylen Brown now eligible for a “supermax” extension and entering the final year of his contract, it feels like Stevens and the Celtics will need to make a decision on him sooner rather than later. At the same time, is Marcus Smart really the right complement to Brown and/or Jayson Tatum at this point?

Based on his end-of-season press conference Thursday, Stevens knows how he feels about the Celtics’ core players.

  • Sports Hub Underground // A Rough Summer in Boston

    (Click here to subscribe to the Sports Hub Underground podcast.)

  • “Every team’s going to have to make tough decisions every year, right?” Stevens said. “But at the end of the day, you know, we love our foundation, we love our core, and that’s really our focus and priority.”

    Ostensibly, Stevens means the “focus and priority” is to build around the foundation and core, rather than change it. Trading Smart or Brown would certainly qualify as a major change. But even after a hugely disappointing end to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, Stevens doesn’t seem to have an appetite for an overhaul.

    Not that the C’s need one, but it’s got to be tough for fans to swallow that Stevens seemingly wants to just run it back with who he has.

  • Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics look on during overtime against the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

  • The Celtics could feasibly go into next season with basically the same collection of players, and even beyond. Tatum, Smart, and Robert Williams III are all under contract through the next three seasons. Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Al Horford are signed for the next two.

    So, if the C’s really do want to run it back with everyone – and that would be surprising for Stevens, who has been aggressive with trades and other moves as C’s president – then they simply need to play a lot better.

    A big part of that is to improve the coaching staff, and Stevens did acknowledge that, while Joe Mazzulla will remain as head coach, he intends to add more experience under him.

  • Even if the Celtics want to keep Brown, it’s unclear whether Brown wants to stay in the first place. So Stevens’ hand might be forced, there. But it’s clear what Stevens wants, now.

    We’ll see if it actually goes down that way.

    Click here for complete Boston Celtics coverage at

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.