For the past 16 years I’ve been fully on board with Danny Ainge’s big picture, superstar chasing philosophy.
Trade away Antoine Walker? Hell yeah. You have to blow this thing up first before you get to a championship level.
Tank and waste one of Paul Pierce’s prime seasons by putting him on the shelf with a phony injury in order to get better lottery odds? Entirely on board. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are both sure-fire Hall of Famers, after all. Celtics will definitely get one of them.
Trade the No. 5 pick for Ray Allen? Yes!
Trade all of your talented young players for Kevin Garnett? I’ll drive Al Jefferson to the airport.
Trade old man Garnett and old man Pierce to the Nets for first round picks for the next 30 years? This is too good to be true!
Trade Isaiah Thomas and the Brooklyn pick to the Cavs for Kyrie “Friggin’” Irving?! Forget it. It’s over. Danny is Red Auerbach 2.0.
As you can see, Danny’s done a hell of a job using this philosophy over the years. Despite only having one championship to show for it (hey, this is Boston – multiple titles or you’re mediocre), Ainge’s job security is iron clad.
But this summer will be different for Ainge and Celtics fans.
This summer, Ainge must break with his philosophy of asking (trading for) the prettiest girl in school to the prom.
This summer, Ainge must do something he does not particularly like doing. He must stand pat.
Kyrie is gone. Let’s just get that out of the way now. But there have been murmers that Ainge would deal for Davis even if Kyrie leaves.
The Celtics trading for Davis under this scenario would be a colossal mistake. As we’re learning with Kyrie, the risk of having a superstar player leave town without getting anything in return is oh-so-real and the cost to actually get Davis this summer would be enormous.
You’re looking at trading both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as Tatum’s stock around the league has plummeted following a disappointing sophomore season.
Now, a team that features Davis, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and (likely, under this scenario) a returning Isaiah Thomas would do OK. It would likely get you to the Eastern Conference Finals, but in no way is that a lock NBA title contender.
The best course of action this summer for the Celtics, I believe, is to let Kyrie walk. Renegotiate Horford’s contract to free up some cap space, re-sign Isaiah and see if you can get any blood out of that stone, hope Hayward re-finds his game, and hope Tatum and Brown raise their games considerably.
That’s not sexy. That’s a lot of hoping. And that’s no guarantee that the Celtics make it out of the second round next spring.
But make no mistake about it, it’s the safest bet out there. And it’s a bet that Celtics fans would be just fine with.