For those with short memories, a category that often includes us, it was only a few months ago when the Boston Celtics entered the NBA playoffs as the number one seed from the Eastern Conference. They lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals, but Boston fans could not help but be gladdened by the results of a team that has been a shadow of itself compared to the glory days of first, Bill Russell and second, Larry Bird, et al, when the Celtics were a force with which to be reckoned.
Now, it seems that they have bolstered their roster by signing disgruntled Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who decided that Cleveland was not large enough for both he and King James.
The Cavs will get Isiah Thomas from the Celts, so Boston did not acquire Irving cheaply. There is also the question of why the Cavs would trade a key player to a rising rival, rather than send him to the Western Conference, where he could do little damage to the Cavs, other than the occasional inter-conference game or the playoffs at the end of the season.
Former Celtic guard Danny Ainge, part of the dynasty during the Larry Bird – Kevin McHale years, known for his tenacity and propensity to niggle opponents into numerous errors in judgement, and now working for the Celtics’ front office as the President of Basketball Operations, said, “Kyrie is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He has proven that on the biggest stage, the NBA Finals, the last three years. He’s been an NBA Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and a four-time All-Star. For all he’s accomplished, we think his best years are ahead of him.”
Irving is just 25, so Ainge certainly would seem to have a valid point, barring injury to Irving.
For those who appreciate sports irony, the Celtics will play the Cavaliers in Cleveland on the opening night of the 2017 – 2018 NBA season.