Stevens adds more depth to the playmaker’s priorities

                Brad Stevens knows the Celtics need to make changes this season if they hope to stay in a mix that's expected to have a group of retooled teams vying for the top of the Eastern Conference next season.  Just don't expect the Boston chief of basketball operations to blow up a roster he thinks is about to finish the job after winning two NBA titles.  “I think teams are fragile. I think the way teams work together and work together is a fragile way,” Stevens said on Tuesday. “And I think your identity as a team, when you find one that works — which we did this. The year is at the end of the defensive field and when we are at our best attacking the ball - these things are fragile.  "So just adding (players) doesn't mean you don't take something away from the group."  While Stevens was pleased with how the Celtics recovered from 18-21, they began to grab the No. 2 Eastern seed and the conference title, and their slow start is believed to have direct links to how the Golden State Warriors were able to overtake them in the Finals.  “When you start from 18 to 21 you have to fight and scratch and claw to get into the playoffs, get into the seed, and go back to our court,” Stephens said. “You have to do all those things and there is no margin for error.” That is believed to have affected the team - particularly on superstar Jason Tatum, who couldn't produce the same numbers he achieved in the Finals as he did early in the post-season, however, Stevens will look to add another playmaker around the core group of Tatum and Jaylene. Brown and Marcus Smart, while developing the bench with players currently if Boston wants to add to any outside pieces, Stevens said the front office got the OK to spend whatever was necessary. They only have a certain second round (#53 in total) heading into Thursday night's draft, but they also have three trade exceptions totaling just under $30 million to play with, including about $17 million left over from the exception created from Evan's signing and trading Fournier last August  j.  "The big release expires in July, and we have a couple more that expire later, and they're all reasonable amounts to which we can include good players," Stevens said.  "It's still a matter of being careful and thinking about what the deal is."  This will be done in coordination with the contribution of coach Amy Odoka, who Stevens believes has found rhythm in his first year on the sidelines after a slow start.  "In the first 40 or so games, he's been through almost everything you can go through as a coach in Boston," Stevens said.  “I think that's a testament to the way he has stayed straight. ... I've told people I'm close all the time, I think his ability to recover after heavy losses in the playoffs was really special.” As for Stevens himself's assessment of his first year in his new job He continues to learn every day.  "I still feel like I still have a long way to go in this role," he said.  “I have great people that I rely on every day around me, and I’m grateful for that. Our front office is doing a great job. And you know, without all of their help it would be much more difficult, that's for sure.” 
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                <strong class="dateline">Boston -</strong>                                          <p>Brad Stevens knows the Celtics need to make changes this season if they hope to stay in a mix that's expected to have a group of retooled teams vying for the top of the Eastern Conference next season. 

Just don’t expect the Boston chief of basketball operations to blow up a roster he thinks is about to finish the job after winning two NBA titles.

“I think teams are fragile. I think the way teams work together and work together is a fragile way,” Stevens said on Tuesday. “And I think your identity as a team, when you find one that works — which we did this. The year is at the end of the defensive field and when we are at our best attacking the ball – these things are fragile.

“So just adding (players) doesn’t mean you don’t take something away from the group.”

While Stevens was pleased with how the Celtics recovered from their 18-21 start to grab the second seed in the East and the conference title, he believes their slow start has direct links to how the Golden State Warriors were able to overtake them in the Finals.

“When you start from 18 to 21, you have to fight, scratch, and claws to get to the playoffs, go into the seed, and get back in your court,” Stevens said. “You have to do all those things and there is no margin for error.”

It meant less rest all season, and as minutes piled up, he thinks that took a toll on the team – especially on star Jason Tatum, who wasn’t able to produce the same numbers he did in the Finals as he did early in the post-season. .

However, Stevens will be looking to add another playmaker around the core group of Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, while developing the bench with players currently on the roster.

If Boston wants to add to any outside pieces, Stevens said the front office has been given approval to spend whatever is necessary. But the permission does not mean that he plans to exhaust what he called their “limited resources”.

The Celtics got below the luxury tax threshold ahead of last season’s trade deadline and don’t want to cross it unless justified.

They only have a certain second round (number 53 in total) heading into Thursday night’s draft. But they also have three commercial exceptions totaling just under $30 million to play with, including about $17 million remaining from the exception created from the signing and trading of Evan Fournier last August.

“The big release expires in July, and we have a couple more that expire later, and they’re all reasonable amounts to which we can include good players,” Stevens said. “It’s still a matter of being careful and thinking about what the deal is.”

This will be done in coordination with the contribution of coach Im Odoka, who Stevens believes has found rhythm in his first year on the sidelines after a slow start.

“In the first 40 or so games, he’s been through almost everything you can go through as a coach in Boston,” Stevens said. “I think this is a testament to the way he has stayed straight. … I have told people that I am close all the time, I think his ability to recover after hard losses in qualifying was really special.”

As for Stevens’ own evaluation of his first year in his new job, he said he continues to learn every day.

“I still feel like I still have a long way to go in this role,” he said. “I have great people that I rely on every day around me, and I’m grateful for that. Our front office is doing a great job. And you know, without all of their help it would be much more difficult, that’s for sure.”

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