Danny Ainge never has been hesitant to pull the trigger on a big move.
The Boston Celtics president of basketball operations helped revitalize the organization in the summer of 2007 when he swung deals for both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who helped the C’s capture their 17th championship in franchise history that season.
Ainge was back at it again last summer when he turned in a stunner, shipping off a package that included Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Irving was stellar in his first season in Boston until going down with a knee injury, and he’s poised to lead the green to a deep playoff run in the upcoming campaign.
Orchestrating a blockbuster trade naturally can cause some reservations, as these type of deals typically alter a franchise for years to come. But when the opportunity to acquire Irving presented itself, it sounds like Ainge and his team didn’t feel the need to hesitate.
“I feel like there’s opportunities that you have to look at and explore, and Kyrie was one of those opportunities that, unanimously, internally it was something that we all felt like we should do,” Ainge said told ESPN. “Everybody, unanimously, wanted to do it.”
It’s safe to say the Celtics don’t have any regrets in trading for Irving. Neither Thomas nor Crowder lasted a full season with the Cavs, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick wound up conveying into the No. 8 overall selection. Irving, on the other hand, still is well within his prime playing for a team that’s built for the long haul.
Ainge’s investment will look even better if Irving re-signs with Boston next summer, too.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports