After pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the 2018 Eastern Conference finals, it’s easy to see why many have already tabbed the Boston Celtics as favorites to come out of the East next season.

A young core featuring Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier is expected to take the next step, and All-Stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will make their return to a roster lifted by a deep bench and one of the top coaches in the league, Brad Stevens.

Oddsmakers and fans are feeling pretty confident about the 2018-19 Celtics – as is Brown.

Appearing on Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum’s “Pull Up” podcast, Brown wasn’t holding back when asked about Boston’s championship hopes this season.

“Oh, we’re getting to the finals,” Brown said. “No question about it.”

The road out of the East is much easier now that LeBron James left Cleveland to join the Los Angeles Lakers, but Brown added that James’ departure did not impact his prediction.

“I hate how everyone’s like, ‘LeBron’s gone in the East.’ I know he did have a stronghold on the East for the past seven years but he barely got out of there this year,” Brown said.

“Our mindset was like, ‘He’s not beating us again.’ That’s what our mindset was.”

Brown, who lifted his scoring totals from 6.6 points per game as a rookie to 14.5 in 2017-18, played a key role in Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals, averaging 18 point per game through 18 postseason games.

Pistons: Forward Jon Leuer had surgery after injuring his right knee during an offseason workout.

The Pistons said Leuer’s operation was Wednesday in New York, and that he was injured earlier in the week. An update on his return is expected before the start of training camp.

The team says Leuer injured his medial meniscus.

This wasn’t the first recent operation for the 6-foot-10 Leuer, who had left ankle surgery and was limited to eight games last season.

Mavericks: Devin Harris is returning to Dallas for the third time after signing a $2.4 million free-agent contract.

The contract for the 14-year veteran is for the veteran minimum.

Dallas originally acquired Harris from Washington, along with Jerry Stackhouse and Christian Laettner, in a draft-day trade for Antawn Jamison in June 2004. He played for the Mavericks until getting traded to New Jersey in February 2008, in a deal that brought Jason Kidd to the Mavericks.

Harris first returned to Dallas as a free agent before the 2013-14 season, and stayed until the Mavericks traded him to Denver last February as part of a three-team deal at the trade deadline.

Harris, 35, has averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals in his 917 career games, including 446 starts.

Cedric Maxwell, the former Boston Celtic and two-time NBA champion, says future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett is the best all-around player in Celtics history.

“Kevin Garnett is the best all-around player the Celtics have ever had,” he said while guesting on the CNLS podcast, Celtics Beat, as transcribed by Boston.com. “He was a better defensive player than Larry (Bird) – not as good offensively. He was a better offensive player than Bill Russell – not as good defensively. But you could say that Kevin Garnett was no slouch on either one of those things. He’s one of the top players to ever play the game.”