Brad Stevens Targeting Celtics’ Former Top Defender: Report

Getty Images Jae Crowder #99 of the Celtics celebrates with Avery Bradley #0

The start of NBA Free Agent SZN will officially begin Monday evening. For Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, however, the wheeling and dealing have already commenced and he’s far from finished.

Unsure if Stevens’ pending three-team trade with the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings involving Tristan Thompson, Kris Dunn, and Bruno Fernando will be used as a vehicle for an ulterior move yet to be determined, Boston will still look to adding talent to its roster via free agency.

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The Celtics are positioned, at the very least, to offering its taxpayer mid-level exception — which is reportedly worth $5.9 million.

Report: Celtics Focused on ‘Adding Size & Shooting’

And, according to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the Celtics are interested in potentially bringing in a familiar face to add to either their wing position or in the backcourt.

“According to a league source, the Celtics prefer to pursue a player with extensive experience and are focused on adding size and shooting,” Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach wrote. “Forward Jeff Green is believed to be a primary target. Green played for the Celtics from 2011-2015, including a season and a half with Stevens as his head coach.”

Green was a great spark off the bench for the Brooklyn Nets, this season, and during the playoffs, as their postseason run fell one win shy of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, despite playing without Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Jeff averaged 11 points, 3.9 rebounds throughout 2020-21 and proved to be a reliable defender, especially in transition.

An Avery Bradley, Celtics Reunion?

Uncle Jeff isn’t the only former Celtic Himmelsbach mentioned.

“Backcourt options include players such as Spurs veteran Patty Mills — who was also coached by Udoka — and former Celtics guard Avery Bradley, according to a league source,” Himmelsbach wrote.

Splitting his 2020-21 campaign with the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets, Bradley averaged 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game. He turns 31 in November.

For Stevens, Bradley is the kind of guy who would help restore a new culture in Boston. Aligned with the beginning of Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s tenure, Avery’s two-way play, especially on the defensive end of the floor, along with veteran leadership is ideal.

“With regards to what we want to add to our team, it’s pretty consistent,” Stevens said, per Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “We need to be mindful of our near-and long-term views, and at the same time add hopefully an edge and some experience to our team. When I say experience, I mean just the savvy of someone who has been through it before that will help everybody around our guys better. That’s an important thing for our team as we move forward. The fit is important, what people bring to the table from those attributes is important. That’s what we’re looking at.”