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Celtics in a holding pattern with best assets

Jaylen Brown went from being booed on draft night last year to a fan favorite following his promising rookie season.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Being a sports follower practically forces you to hold on to mementos, memorabilia, and reference material that you don’t really need. This humble reporter is a hoarder. I missed the minimalist memo. The Globe’s recent move from Dorchester to new downtown digs forced me to sift through a lot of belongings.

One of my favorite finds was a pristine copy of the 2001 Globe high school football special section, which former Globe schoolboy sports editor Bob Holmes claimed was the journalistic equivalent of a Kentucky basketball player — one year and done. In the spirit of throwing stuff out, I’m going to toss out a few leftover sports thoughts. Don’t mind the clutter.


■  The Celtics’ pursuit of Indiana Pacers forward Paul George feels like a compromise plan that upgrades the Celtics in the present without forcing them to sacrifice their future. It’s more like a nice makeover than cosmetic surgery that changes the face and fate of the Celtics.

George has one year left on his contract and has declared he won’t be re-signing in Indiana and plans to return to his native Southern California as a Los Angeles Laker. The Pacers and new president Kevin Pritchard have little leverage in shopping George now. A deal for George is the type of trade Celtics president of basketball Danny Ainge loves to make — one-sided.

The Celtics wouldn’t have to surrender as much for one season of George as they would if they traded for Kristaps Porzingis or an established All-Star player with term remaining on his deal. We’re talking parting with overrated draft picks like the 2019 Los Angeles Clippers pick (top-14 protected) and the 2019 Memphis Grizzlies first-rounder, which is conveyed to Boston if it’s the ninth pick or worse.

The Celtics are in a holding pattern with their better assets because they could have a stronger hand next offseason if the Lakers faceplant with Lonzo Ball and the Brooklyn Nets are as inept as they were in 2015-16, delivering the Celtics two top-five picks in the 2018 draft. Making a deal that involves any of those coveted picks now closes the door on the (quixotic) pursuit of a player like Anthony Davis. That opportunity cost calculation seems to weigh heavy on the Celtics in their consideration of deals.


■  The Celtics better hope that Nick Pagliuca, son of Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca, is as good a scouting source as Steve Belichick, the son of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Now the Patriots safeties coach, Steve Belichick walked on to the Rutgers University football team as a long-snapper his senior year. He was a teammate of both Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon. Nick Pagliuca played with Celtics first-round pick Jayson Tatum at Duke last season and was a teammate of promising second-round pick Semi Ojeleye, who played two seasons at Duke, before transferring to Southern Methodist University.

■  The euphoria of NBA Draft Lottery night in May when the Ping-Pong balls finally bounced the Celtics’ way to give them the No. 1 pick evaporated into a prosaic evening when the draft took place last Thursday. Boston had the third pick after divesting the first pick in a deal with the 76ers. It felt like the Celtics had the 30th pick. There was no buzz, no juice. The evening and the Celtics’ selection of Tatum were everything Ainge is not — low-key, predictable, and dull. It was NBA Ambien.


■  Consensus and public opinion in this town can change direction faster than Isaiah Thomas. As a reminder, Celtics fans booed vociferously last year in protest of the selection of forward Jaylen Brown with the third pick. (Some of us did endorse the pick at the time.) Now, Brown is a fan favorite who is regarded as a potential star. He is a deal-breaker in any trade. Celtics fans would rather surrender their first-born child. It’s like that booing happened in an alternate Boston sports dimension worthy of the show “Stranger Things” on Netflix.

■  Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was mocked in some quarters for making a paid appearance at a Tony Robbins self-help seminar earlier this month. Who could miss the ubiquitous billboards trumpeting the self-improvement summit? While acknowledging that Robbins and his methods are considered controversial by many, Tom Brady Sr., said his son’s appearance was genuine. “I think Tony Robbins is a motivational speaker. Some people may not like him, other people find him inspirational,” said Brady Sr. “I know that Tommy has at times found him to be very . . . part of the message has resonated with Tommy. Things have kind of clicked with Tommy. He was enthused to be with him.”

■  So, that David Ortiz roast went awry, huh? The idea of playfully deriding Ortiz at a charity roast last week before the Sox retired his number at Fenway Park last Friday devolved into an expletive-filled evening with “comedy” that crossed the line from irreverent to downright offensive. No wonder NESN won’t be televising the roast, as originally planned. The performance of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was particularly cringe-worthy with remarks that relied on unflattering and ignorant racial and ethnic stereotypes in the pursuit of cheap laughs. Gronk should have spiked those Archie Bunker-imitation jokes from his act. Imagine the backlash if Colin Kaepernick had offered such off-color jokes in the same setting.


■  The Red Sox need some reinforcements. They’re blowing a chance to pull away from the Yankees, who lost for the 10th time in 12 games on Sunday, yet remain percentage points ahead of the Sox in the American League East. Third base is the Sox’ equivalent of a cell service dead zone. Deven Marrero started there Sunday. He is now batting .156 with a .196 on-base percentage. Sox third basemen ranked last in the major leagues in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) at .562 entering Sunday.

This is simply unacceptable for a contender with the resources of the Red Sox, ,and Jhonny Peralta isn’t the answer. The Sox should trade for Pittsburgh Pirates super utility man Josh Harrison. Harrison is having a strong season and has 247 career games at third. He is making $7.5 million this season, but the Sox would only be responsible for a pro-rated portion of that. He is due $10 million next year but has a $1 million buyout for his $10.5 million salary in 2019. He can help now and keep the seat warm for Rafael Devers. Make it happen, Dave Dombrowski.


Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @cgasper.