Lowe: Here's the code the Boston Celtics finally cracked to raise banner No. 18

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THE GOOD NEWS for those who don't quite know how to contextualize these Boston Celtics after a dominant-by-any-measure championship season: They will return more or less intact to make another run at it next season, with a chance to cement their place as one of the great teams of the modern era.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are 26 and 27, respectively. Tatum has made first-team All-NBA in three straight seasons. Brown made second-team last season and barely missed this season. His steely postseason, crowned with Finals MVP, indicates he might have another level to hit. Boston might not have a traditional MVP centerpiece -- Tatum finished sixth in the voting this season and has never finished above fourth -- but if Brown's ascent continues, they could boast two of the top 10 or 12 players over the next few seasons. Tatum might not have hit his ceiling either.

The core players around them, the threads connecting the Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens regimes, are all under contract for next season and in some cases beyond. Only Al Horford, the stalwart whose reacquisition marked the first salvo of the Stevens era, is old in NBA terms. There are what should be smooth extension talks coming for Tatum and Derrick White, and perhaps trickier ones surrounding Sam Hauser and Kristaps Porzingis (later in Porzingis' case). The team will get ultra expensive. The second apron hems you in. But you live to get a team like this. You pay for it and figure out the rest later.

The NBA has not had a repeat champion since the Warriors in 2018. Even the Denver Nuggets, with the world's best player, seemed to publicly downplay the importance of repeating -- focusing instead on winning multiple titles over the next decade in San Antonio Spurs-esque fashion.

Boston should take the opposite approach. Chase the repeat. State it as its goal. Break the no-repeat stretch, and its historical standing becomes beyond dispute. If the Celtics stay healthy, they will have everything they need. They should enter next season as favorites.