It seems like only yesterday the Boston Celtics decided to go “Big.”
The Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves on July 31, 2007 in a blockbuster trade that changed not only Boston’s fortunes but also impacted the NBA for years to come. Just 33 days after they acquired Ray Allen in a trade with the then-Seattle Supersonics, the Celtics dealt Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and two first-round draft picks to Minnesota in exchange for “the Big Ticket,” who had spent his first 12 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves but had grown frustrated by their inability or unwillingness to commit to winning. With Paul Pierce and Allen already in tow, a new “Big Three” era was born when Garnett arrived in Boston.
The Celtics stormed to a 66-16 record in the 2007-08 NBA regular season and outlasted the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference bracket of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics then faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, which Boston won in six games. Garnett’s epic scream of “anything’s possible” became part of Celtics and NBA lore in June 2008.
Garnett spent six largely successful seasons in Boston and he credits his time with the Celtics as key to securing his status as a Basketball Hall of Famer. In fact, he wishes he had joined the Celtics earlier in the career because he believes he would have won more than only one NBA championship.
Just as it looked like the Celtics might endure another period of mediocrity, or worse, Garnett arrived and changed everything. And for that it’s worth celebrating perhaps the greatest move Danny Ainge ever has made as Celtics president of basketball operations.