Emptying my notebook as the NBA goes into its annual August vacation mode …
▪ A large Celtics contingent that included co-owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, coach Joe Mazzulla, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, and vice president of team operations Allison Feaster flew to St. Louis for Jayson Tatum’s charity golf tournament Aug. 1.
“We weren’t talking about popular culture,” Grousbeck said. “We were talking about the Celtics the whole way.”
The tournament was a “scramble” format, in which the best shot in each foursome is used for the next shot. But Grousbeck said there were some hijinks.
“Grant [Williams] assembled a group of six,” he quipped.
The former Celtics forward, of course, was sent to the Mavericks last month in a sign-and-trade after agreeing to a four-year, $54 million deal.
▪ There was plenty of attention on Jaylen Brown’s record five-year, $304 million super-max extension, especially as the process dragged on for about a month longer than many thought it would.
But there is still one more key extension to keep an eye on. Around Oct. 1, Derrick White will become eligible for a three-year extension for as much as $85.3 million.
White was excellent last season, and by most advanced metrics he was the team’s second-most valuable player behind Tatum. He earned second-team All-Defense recognition, and when the Celtics traded Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies last month in the three-team deal that brought Kristaps Porzingis to Boston, it was a sign of the franchise’s faith in White to take over as the starting point guard.
The Celtics will have until the start of the season to complete an extension.
Backup guard Malcolm Brogdon also will be eligible for an extension during this window, but that appears less likely considering he turns 31 in December, has a history of injuries, and could not be traded for at least six months after signing the extension.
The Celtics initially agreed to trade Brogdon to the Clippers in a three-team Porzingis deal before it crumbled when Los Angeles said it did not have enough time to complete a physical exam of Brogdon.
▪ Boston remains on track to potentially host the city’s first NBA All-Star Game since 1964. The Celtics have submitted an application targeting the 2026 game.
“We’re on it,” Grousbeck said. “It’s taking up planning time. The wheels are in motion. We’re definitely going for it.”
The 2024 All-Star Game will be played in Indianapolis, and the 2025 host city has yet to be announced.
▪ Celtics guard Payton Pritchard has quietly been one of the big winners of this offseason. The Smart trade ostensibly opened up playing time for Pritchard, who fell out of Mazzulla’s rotation last year. Pritchard got engaged last month, and last week he joined USA Basketball’s Select Team, which trained against the national team in Las Vegas as it prepared for the upcoming World Cup.
▪ Speaking of the World Cup, Celtics wing Oshae Brissett, a member of the Canadian national team, has been ruled out for precautionary reasons related to knee soreness. The issue is not expected to affect his availability for the start of the NBA season. That leaves Porzingis, the star of Latvia’s underdog squad, as the Celtics’ lone World Cup representative.
▪ The NBA will hold its first ever in-season tournament this year. Teams will have four “group play” games against conference opponents, with the six group winners and two wild-card teams advancing to a quarterfinal knockout round.
The semifinals and finals will be played in Las Vegas in December, with all games except the championship counting toward the regular-season standings. Grousbeck, for one, is intrigued.
“I’m interested in it,” he said. “I’m a big international soccer fan, and I see they’ve got three trophies they can go for every year. So I’m already looking forward to it. I like having something new for guys to play for during the fall and give fans something to watch. Let’s see how it goes.”
Grousbeck brushed off the suggestion that six-hour flights and time-zone changes in the middle of the season could put extra wear and tear on his squad.
“I think we’d all love to be out in Vegas playing in the game,” he said.
The Celtics are in Group C in the East, along with the Nets, Raptors, Bulls, and Magic.
▪ The NBA will release the 2023-24 schedule later this month. It feels safe to pencil in the Celtics for opening-night and Christmas games involving some mix of the Heat, Bucks, and 76ers. The start of the season will be pushed back one week because of the World Cup.
▪ There will be a familiar face behind the Celtics bench this season. Phil Pressey, a backup point guard for Boston from 2013-15, joined Mazzulla’s staff this summer. Pressey and Stevens entered the league together when Stevens was a first-year coach and Pressey was a rookie, and Pressey said the two stayed in contact over the years.
“The fans are very supportive and the organization is big-time,” Pressey said. “So I’m just happy to be able to be back and transition to coaching and be able to help out as much as possible.”
▪ Salute to Celtics television play-by-play voice Mike Gorman, who announced that he will be retiring at season’s end after 43 seasons on the job.