Few places are as great in the summer as the Boston area. It makes the snowy winters seem less oppressive when you get summer weather this excellent.
As the summer draws to a close, each of the city’s professional sports teams has some serious questions to answer. What are those questions for the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and Patriots during the Dog Days of Summer?
5 Questions for Boston’s Pro Teams
1.) Are the Celtics really going to trade Jaylen Brown for Kevin Durant?
This league. It just never stops.
Jaylen Brown over the last 3 seasons:
— Top 5 in playoff points
The C’s have made the playoffs every season since drafting Jaylen. pic.twitter.com/KZuXBrbyod
— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 26, 2022
This week #NBATwitter was taken aback by separate, but equally compelling reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania regarding the emergence of the Boston Celtics in trade talks for Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
Reportedly, the Celtics offered a deal involving Jaylen Brown (who was arguably the Celtics best player in the NBA Finals), Derrick White, and first-round picks for Durant which was declined and countered by the Nets.
Brooklyn’s counteroffer centered on Marcus Smart and Brown, which is increased trade compensation. But, the question begs to be asked here, who gains the leverage by this leaking? I know this much, it sure isn’t the Celtics.
This all feels reminiscent of the leak involving trade talks between the C’s and Philadelphia regarding Ben Simmons from last November. I’m not so sure those talks were as hot and heavy as those reports made it seem, either.
Either these discussions with Brooklyn are real and the Celtics are truly trying to pry away Durant, whom they famously courted during the 2016 offseason, or it’s just a lot of talk being sent to two of the league’s elite reporters to gain some leverage on the trade market. If I were a betting man, I would say that Sean Marks and Brad Stevens had a call, but it probably was short and unproductive.
It must be asked: would the Celtics really trade their most consistent playoff performer from their Finals run? Even if Kevin Durant is the return, I’m not sure that the potential risk to chemistry is worth it. I’m willing to bet that Stevens feels the same way.
2.) What’s the deal with all of this Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci talk and when will it pay off?
The Boston Bruins are currently in an offseason of change after a disheartening first-round exit from this past season’s Eastern Conference playoffs. First, the team fired long-time and 2020 Jack Adams Award-winning coach Bruce Cassidy and replaced him with former Dallas bench boss Jim Montgomery.
Then, the Bruins went into free agency with tons of holes to fill thanks to injuries, and not much salary cap space to fill them, thanks in large part to poor contract management. But, one rumor in the post-Cassidy aftermath simply won’t go away; star centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are coming back.
But since the opening of free agency, nothing official has happened on that front. The Bruins still need to free up cap space to sign just one of either Bergeron or Krejci to a veteran minimum deal.
All may be quiet on the Causeway front because moving money and players is difficult to finagle, but if there’s this much talk about both cornerstone centermen coming back to Boston there must be some truth behind it.
But is it smart to build with two centers on the wrong side of 30 for long-term growth? Maybe not, but if Jack Studnicka can find his footing, the future may be bright for the Black and Gold.
My expectation is once the Bruins make another trade (probably similar to the Erik Haula for Pavel Zacha deal), signing(s) will be announced.
3.) After falling into last place after an awful July, what will the Red Sox do and look like down the stretch?
The Red Sox have a -47 run differential over their last 3 games, the worst over a 3-game span in the Modern Era (since 1900).
It’s the 4th-worst run differential in MLB history and worst since the Louisville Colonels in 1894. pic.twitter.com/xV7JEwMU8w
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 23, 2022
After losing to the Cleveland Guardians on July 26, the Boston Red Sox, at 49-49, officially fell into last place in the AL East. How did a largely unchanged team who finished two games out of the World Series in 2021 manage to do this? You can point to an absolutely disappointing July filled with horrific baseball.
Lockout aside, this offseason was just plain weird for the Olde Town Team. Trading away Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr., not really addressing first base, and letting Kyle Schwarber walk were two huge blows to the offensive output this season.
The last month hasn’t been a great one for the Red Sox thanks to a leaky bullpen, bad base running, and poor defense. Seriously, it hasn’t been pretty.
What does a team with a high ceiling, but no real results to show for it do at the trade deadline on August 2? You could argue that the team should buy, sell, or even do a little of both at the deadline.
Team President Sam Kennedy told WEEI that the team has no plans or has held discussions to trade All-Star shortstop and pending free agent Xander Bogaerts. This is music to fans’ ears, but could it just be a band-aid?
There’s also next season’s Rafael Devers saga lurking around the bend. The Red Sox feel like a team at a crossroads that I don’t think the front office expected to find themselves in this season.
Their farm system is coming along nicely, which was probably Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom’s plan all along, but in the here and now there’s potential for this team to reach. Do they make a move for a Garrett Cooper/Josh Bell type who can play multiple positions of need and an outfielder or do they try and find some rotation help?
Like the aforementioned Boston Bruins, the Red Sox have holes to fill, and no direction to go in with regard to filling them. Something needs to happen to jolt this team or they will just walk their way out of 2022.
4.) How big of a leap can Mac Jones really make despite not having a named Offensive Coordinator in Patriots camp?
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones led the Patriots to a 10-7 record during his rookie campaign. The Alabama product look cool, calm, and collected under center last season raising the roof on his expectations leading into his sophomore season in the pros.
But is Jones even able to make that leap, considering the current look on the offensive coaching staff? Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, arguably two of the dimmest bulbs to shine off of the Bill Belichick coaching tree in their first head coaching opportunities, are back in different assistant coaching roles than their first go-round in Foxboro.
Judge will coach the quarterbacks and Patricia will handle the offensive line in 2022. This setup will definitely have an impact on how Jones performs in year two.
Belichick as GM has upgraded the receiving corps this season after trading for former Dolphins and Louisville standout DeVante Parker and drafting the lithe and speedy Tyquan Thornton with the team’s second round pick earlier this year. Jones’s top targets in tight end Hunter Henry and wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers are also back in the fold this season.
The ever-loquacious Bill Belichick said on July 26 that Jones has made ‘dramatic improvement’ this offseason. That comment alone is the most glowing thing the longtime coach has said about a young skill player maybe ever.
This team believes in Jones, but can Jones believe in the coaching staff put in place to help him along in his second season? That remains to be seen but as training and preseason games get closer that answer will come closer into view.
5.) Who will be the next Boston athlete to be elected/enshrined/inducted into a Hall of Fame?
On July 24, former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz joined the rarified air of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. as just the second designated hitter to do so. But, who is the next Boston legend to make their way to the hallowed halls in Cooperstown, Canton, Springfield, or Toronto?
Each franchise has some real choices in this regard. For the Red Sox, there’s been recent Veterans Committee momentum behind the candidacies of Dwight Evans and Luis Tiant. Though more recent players including Curt Schilling may also garner consideration from that very same voting bloc.
The Patriots will have Richard Seymour go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, which is richly deserved for the former defensive lineman during the first Super Bowl era. Though, the next Patriots to wear the gold jacket may very well be the recently retired Rob Gronkowski or Adam Vinatieri.
The Bruins have some interesting alumni to possibly make their way to Toronto’s hall of hockey immortality. Jaromir Jagr, who had a memorable but ultimately lackluster run here is a shoo-in whenever he decides to hang up his skates, as will Zdeno Chara once he announces his retirement.
Finally, the Celtics youth movement in the last handful of years makes this exercise a little difficult, but there are some very outside-the-box possibilities for some Celtics alumni who wore the green and white for a short time. Chauncey Billups has a slight chance at the Basketball Hall of Fame, as does his former teammate in Detroit who later starred in Boston, Rasheed Wallace.