Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
This upcoming season for the Boston Celtics will be one of a celebratory nature, regardless of how Brad Stevens’ squad performs.
It will mark the 10th anniversary of the franchise’s 17th NBA title.
And while that in itself is reason to celebrate, the good vibes and success generated by that team would have never come about if not for what happened 10 years ago today.
It was on July 31, 2007 that the Celtics pulled off the blockbuster of all blockbusters at the time, acquiring Kevin Garnett from Minnesota.
The addition of Garnett, who would later go on to become a league MVP as well as the driving force behind Boston’s 2008 NBA title run, proved to be the ultimate game-changer for this franchise.
And having acquired Ray Allen on draft night of that year to team up with still-in-his-prime Paul Pierce, formed a Big Three in Boston that won a title in its first year together and remained one of the top teams in the East for years to come.
So yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Danny Ainge sending seven players and a pick that could’ve turned into Steph Curry to Minnesota in a deal that revisionists have come to view as a favor done by Kevin McHale and not what it genuinely was: The best offer on the market for a player McHale was under orders to deal.
While John and Chuck were using this blog to complain about the Celtics, I have to admit that I’d checked out on the team. For a brief moment, I thought the Walker/Pierce Celtics were going to be something, but that flamed out, and I disliked the Lakers so much (still do) I had no interest in a league where they were that dominant.
I wanted to trust the early results of that team, but it had been over 20 years since the Celtics had won a title, and a lot of bad stuff had happened in the intervening years. I was a bit hesitant to believe that the C’s were going to win it all. But that game six, that was as amazing a performance as I’ve ever seen. That was the Celtics drowning fifteen years of irrelevance and bad memories in a flood of baskets.
Yes, the Celtics only won a single title during that second “Big Three” era, but they profoundly altered the NBA. If not for the Celtics’ Big Three, it’s hard to imagine LeBron going to Miami in 2010 to form his own “Big Three.”
And then there were the near-misses. What might have been in ’09, if Garnett hadn’t been injured? What about the 2012 ECF, when the Celtics lost game 7 in part because their bench couldn’t even muster 4 points–a bench that would’ve had Jeff Green on it, except Boston’s doctors discovered an aortic aneurysm that could’ve killed him in seconds earlier that season.
The Celtics have been on the map ever since that trade for KG–they were the number one seed in the east last year, and have a legit shot to do the same this year. And, rather than being an old team with its best years behind it, or a mediocre team with too much money committed to wannabe super stars, they’re a young team with a young coach and pretty bright prospects.
And just about all of that can be traced back to the KG trade.
Page 2: Where IT’s got some custom slides.
CSNNE’s talking heads have some things to say about those sandals, but you can pretty safely ignore it. They’re saying stuff because people have to say stuff on TV, otherwise nobody sticks around for the commercials.
IT’s going to get market rate next year, from someone. Unfortunately for him, 2016 was (Durant and Horford excepted), the year of the incredibly stupid contract. Just about every team in the league signed someone or another to a regrettable deal of some sort. Half the league may be paying luxury tax next year, and that really affects the market for a guy like IT.
But hey, I hope IT gets paid, I hope he has another great season, and he’s still a Celtic next year. But as noted philosopher and septuagenarian Mick Jagger once observed, ‘you can’t always get what you want.’
Finally: This is what happens when ordinary people go up against NBA players
I love the various armchair referees who immediately called Smart for pushing off.
Dude, no. That’s what happens when a guy who thinks he knows how to play basketball, and who thinks he’s tough enough to body-up a player like Smart, runs into a player like Smart.
The rest of the links
ESPN: Next NBA superteam: Watch the Celtics (warning: There is a lot of cabbage and iffy reasoning in this article)