By Matt Vautour |
It’ll be at least weeks, probably months and maybe years before the final verdict is in on whether the Celtics’ deal to acquire Jrue Holiday was the right call at this point in the franchise’s bid to capture their 18th championship banner.

But as training camp begins this week, nobody can dispute the organization’s commitment to winning. That stands out in Boston right now.
On July 24, DeAndre Hopkins picked the Tennessee Titans over the Patriots because New England, which had cap space available and a desperate need for a playmaker, offered him a below-market contract.

A week later, the Red Sox did nothing at the trade deadline, neither buying to improve the present or selling to improve the future. They passively chose not to buy or sell, a move that eventually led to another last-place finish.

The Bruins are in a bridge year until they have cap space for 2023-24. After last year, people are unlikely to get excited until the postseason anyway. The Red Sox are spiraling downward as people around the sport wonder if ownership still cares about winning championships. The Patriots want to win, but can’t seem to understand that’s impossible to do without real playmakers in today’s NFL. It’s left their fans questioning whether Bill Belichick is still capable of leading the team back to championship contention.

Jrue Holiday trade grades: Celtics eye Finals with move to form All-Star  trio with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum | Sporting News
The Celtics aren’t perfect. They have depth questions and will need to stay healthy. But right now they’re miles ahead of anyone else in the region. Nobody is doubting the Celtics’ commitment to winning. They’ve been bold. They’ve been aggressive. They’ll spend money. They have four players making over $30 million. They’ve made the Celtics a team that players on the outside want to join and players on the roster want to stay with. It hasn’t always been that way.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the city’s two biggest stars. They’re both still growing into their superstar status and the franchise has made a commitment to nurturing them and building around them. Holiday is a good example.


The two-time All-Star point guard and five-time All-Defensive Team member would be a good addition to most contending teams, but that’s especially true with the Celtics.
In Jrue Holiday, Boston acquired a better version of Marcus Smart. He’s an elite defender and a more reliable outside shooter. Maybe most importantly, he’s a guy who has championship experience. Smart cared about leadership and admirably tried to fill that role on a team with players who were both young and quiet guys. Unlike Smart, Holiday has a ring. He knows what it takes to get there.


It could be a rough several sports weeks around here. The baseball playoffs will progress with a handful of players the Red Sox couldn’t or wouldn’t keep in key roles. It’ll get even worse if free agency arrives and John Henry and whoever is in charge of baseball operations still aren’t aggressive.


The Patriots could be headed for a record worse than they’ve had in decades. Sports radio and television will be jammed up with another year of angry yelling about who should start Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe when the answer right now looks like neither one.
The Celtics are just over three weeks away from the opener against the Knicks and 25 days from a showdown with the Heat.

It’s a schedule filled with fun matchups and games to circle and a real hope of a deep playoff run. The Holiday trade made the Celtics the favorite to win the NBA title again.


Their season can’t start soon enough.

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