The Boston Celtics are one of the NBA’s most historic franchises. They have won 17 championships with their most recent coming in the ‘07-’08 season. Since then, the franchise has failed to bring an 18th banner to the rafters of the TD Garden. With recent success, having made the Eastern Conference Finals three of the past four seasons, the Celtics certainly have the core of a championship-caliber NBA team. The issue that continues to plague this team is the lack of role-players that every team needs if they hope to win the Larry O'Brien trophy. Many Celtics fans and members of the Boston sports media have blamed this issue on General Manager Danny Ainge.
Danny Ainge is the same General Manager who was being praised for ‘fleecing’ the Brooklyn Nets by trading them Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, all of whom were thirty years old or older, for a hoard of draft picks which were used to take Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Six years has passed since this trade was completed and the Celtics do not have a championship to show for it. Some may say that in that six year span the greatest dynasty, by any NBA team ever, was formed by the Golden State Warriors. Some may say this because the Warriors went on a historic run where they went to five straight NBA Finals. Not to mention they played the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, in four of those five Finals. Long-story-short the Celtics, along with every other team in the NBA, were victimized by LeBron’s dominance in the East and the Warriors’ dynasty in the West. Now that LeBron is in the Western Conference the East is for the taking and if Danny Ainge can acquire the right role-players to fit the needs of core players Tatum, Brown, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart then they have a legitimate chance at making the Finals.
Gordon Hayward was a member of this ‘core’ before he signed a four year/$120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Previous to this signing there was speculation that the Celtics and the Indiana Pacers were in talks to perform a ‘sign-and-trade' with each other which would send Hayward to his hometown team while the Celtics would receive “Myles Turner, a first-round pick, and a rotation player,” which is believed to be Doug McDermott, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. The Celtics declined this offer which played a part in Hayward opting out of his player option with Boston and signing with Charlotte. Thirty million per year is nothing to scoff at, but Hayward was set to make thirty-four million in his final year with Boston which leads people who follow Boston to believe that Danny was the one to get ‘fleeced’ this time.
Was this offer from Indiana worth it? Many NBA fans know the upside of 25-year-old Myles Turner and the perfect fit he would be for the Celtics and their need for a rebounder but was Turner’s contract, which consists of him making $17.5 million each of the next three seasons, something that Ainge wanted to take on? Well considering he signed Tristan Thompson to a two year/$19 million deal, on the first day of free agency, the answer would seem to be a no.
Danny Ainge has brought a Championship to Boston and has been on the doorstep of the NBA Finals multiple times. He has made trades and signed free agents with the goal of raising that next banner but has not been able to get over that hump just yet. Celtics fans will have to tune in to the 2020-2021 season to watch this young core gel even more so than they already have all the while expecting contributions from recently signed veterans Thompson and Jeff Teague.