In a season where injuries, contracts, and trade talks have mostly been the talk of the NBA, one team and its GM are sitting back enjoying a good laugh. The Boston Celtics and Danny Ainge pulled quite the trifecta this offseason on the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers.
It started right before the 2017 NBA Draft when Danny Ainge suckered the 76ers into one of the worse trades in modern-day history. With the 76ers situated with the No. 3 pick, the Celtics dangled the No. 1 pick in their faces and for some strange reason, Bryan Colangelo bit.
Boston, fresh off a 53-win season with their core still intact and with the top pick, entered the draft knowing they didn’t need Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. On the other hand, the Celtics knew that the Lakers and 76ers were in search of backcourt help. The 76ers agreed to trade their 2017 No. 3 pick plus a future first-rounder (Lakers) to the Celtics all for the chance to draft Markell Fultz. So, the 76ers gave up two first-rounders for a player neither the Celtics nor the Lakers wanted and one who has played in only four games this season.
On the Lakers side of the coin, they had a chance for a first-round pick but with an earlier trade with Philly, then the 76ers dealing that pick to Boston, they were completely flushed out. Now, Magic Johnson and crew can only sit back and watch as either the 76ers or Celtics get stronger. The Lakers may have assets to offer teams this season according to Lakers Nation, but with no more youth heading their way, the Lakers will be forced to overpay for a veteran player.
This biggest steal that Ainge pulled off would be that of Kyrie Irving.
Yes, the Cavaliers did manage to get Jae Crowder in the deal, but the main purpose of the trade was really a swap of All-Star point guards. Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas. The deal appeared to be in favor of the Cavaliers, however, Ainge knew that Thomas was still feeling the effects of his hip injury and that Kyrie was the real MVP of the Cavaliers. However, there was a desperation on the Cavaliers part to get rid of Irving and Ainge took advantage. The Celtics are sporting the best record in the East with Irving and the Cavs could trade Thomas as early as this week.
What Ainge has done in just one offseason was stop the growth of three teams in two separate deals. The 76ers still have a shot at the playoffs, but the injury to Markelle Fultz has fans regretting the trade. The Lakers are praying someone takes one of their young players off their hands just so their losing this season won’t be for nothing. They need a first-round pick and thanks to the Celtics and 76ers, they do not have one. The Cavaliers are falling apart right before our eyes and Ainge and the Celtics are enjoying every minute of this.