Danny Aingeis the definition of a go big or go home GM, so his acquisition of free agent Al Horford and his “so-close-yet-so-far-away” pursuit of Kevin Durant has led many to believe that this is the summer in which he’ll push all his chips to the center of the table.
Durant’s landing in Golden State has undoubtedly changed the mindsets of GMs across the league and has alreadycreated something of a domino effect. Because Durant went to Golden State, Russell Westbrook might be available. Because Durant went to Golden State, previous Western Conference contenderslike the Clippers might be waiving the white flag.
The Celtics have also had to have changed their thinking. For instance, is it still even worth it for Ainge to assemble a super-team this year considering the Warriors most likely already have the Larry O’Brien trophy for the 2016-17 season locked up?
Let’s assume for a moment that Ainge will say “screw it” and take the Warriors (and LeBron’s Cavs) head on next season. What would it take to at least compete with those teams? Well, it would take a trade for Westbrook (which was rumored Wednesday) and a trade with the Clippers for Blake Griffin (which was rumored Thursday). If the Celtics could somehow hold onto Isaiah Thomas, even better. This would be one legit starting five for Boston:
C Al Horford
PF Blake Griffin
SF Jae Crowder
SG Russell Westbrook
PG Isaiah Thomas
The big issue here is that both Westbrook and Thomas are point guards, but Ainge has long held the belief that positional slots don’t matter. Hell, when he was head coach of the Phoenix Suns he put three point guards (Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson and Steve Nash) on the floor at the same time, with a 2-guard (Rex Chapman) playing “power forward.”Having Westbrook and Thomas on the court at the same time would be chaotic, but maybe it would simply be chaotic for the opponent. In a league that has aninnovative trend pop up every other season, who’s to say a midget backcourt of Westbrook and Thomas would not work?
As for what it would take to get both Griffin and Westbrook to Boston without giving up Crowder and Thomas? It would take, well … everything. All the remaining Nets picks, Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk,future Celtics first roundpicks and anything else the Clippers and Thunder would want.
There’s also that small detail of retaining both Westbrook and Griffin after this coming season. It would be one of the greatest gambles in the history of organized North American sportif Ainge went ahead and made those moves.