The Celtics’ path to Banner 18 arguably began when they reset the roster in 2013, and there were multiple times they were tempted to go in different directions.

During the 2013 NBA Draft, Boston traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal that landed multiple unprotected picks. It was one of the most impactful trades in NBA history to the point where the league altered its rules so that teams were not allowed to trade draft picks in consecutive years. Two of the picks in that deal ended up being Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the foundation of this season’s title team.

However, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge admitted multiple times that he had come close to trading one of the stars for a marquee name. The C’s reportedly targeted Donovan Mitchell after drafting Tatum, and the draft-pick haul from the Nets had Boston in trade rumors for the likes of Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe, citing sources, revealed the Celtics made a “godfather offer” to the Charlotte Hornets to move up to No. 9 in the 2015 NBA Draft to select Justise Winslow. The deal included one future Nets pick, according to Lowe.

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Winslow was selected by the Heat with the No. 10 pick and made the All-Rookie Second Team. The Duke product was a McDonald’s All-American and was coming off a national title, but his NBA career never took off due to multiple injuries.

Boston lucked out from teams that refused its offers, and Ainge’s successor Brad Stevens put the finishing touches on the team when the Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, who were instrumental to the franchise winning their 18th championship.

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But as Lowe mentioned in his column, multiple fascinating what-ifs could have derailed Boston’s title quest. But as Tatum mentioned after the C’s won the championship, “I guess we’ll never know.”

Featured image via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images