The Los Angeles Clippers have managed to exceed expectations in the 2018-19 NBA season. Despite trading their best player, Tobias Harris, to the Philadelphia 76ers before the February NBA trade deadline, the Clippers finished as the No. 8 seed in the deep Western Conference, and as of now, they are going up against the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the first round. The Clippers might have given the Warriors a tough fight, but most people don’t see them advancing the Western Conference Semifinals.
However, things could be different if the Clippers had succeeded in acquiring their superstar target before the February NBA trade deadline. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, as quoted by Uproxx, the Clippers tried to acquire All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving from the Boston Celtics, but from the time they made the call, they received a “quick no.”
“Sources say Boston ownership and senior leadership in Ainge and coach Brad Stevens agreed before the trade deadline that the team was moving forward with the current roster — which owners believed was ready for a title run — and not to make moves that would impact the roster’s chances of competing in the East, such as listening to offers for Irving. The Celtics’ leaders believed the team was built for a title. The Clippers made a preliminary call to Boston on Irving prior to the Harris trade to Philadelphia, league sources said. A quick no was given.”
Clippers called Celtics about Kyrie Irving before Tobias Harris trade https://t.co/wONQUJRzvc
— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) April 26, 2019
Keeping Kyrie Irving before the February NBA trade deadline is a no-brainer for the Celtics. The Celtics may have gone through lots of ups and downs in the 2018-19 NBA season, but they remain one of the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals 2019.
As of now, Irving is viewed as the X-factor on the Celtics’ road to their first NBA championship since 2008. In their first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers, the 27-year-old point guard had impressive performances on both ends of the floor, averaging 22.5 points, 7.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on 40.2 percent shooting from the field, and 35.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
It’s easy to understand why the Clippers tried to acquire Kyrie Irving. The potential acquisition of Irving would have given the Clippers a better chance of beating the Warriors in a best-of-seven series. Though they failed to get Irving before the February NBA trade deadline, they could resume their pursuit of the All-Star point guard in the summer of 2019.
If the Celtics fail to at least make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, Irving is expected to entertain offers from other NBA teams in the 2019 NBA free agency, where the Clippers will have enough salary cap space to offer him a max contract, together with another incoming free agent superstar.