That little break from basketball wasn’t that bad, was it?
On June 27, 2013, Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge waved the white flag on the 2013-14 season when he traded away two of the franchise’s greats in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. But a mere 327 days after the blockbuster was first announced, the Celtics are once again the envy of the basketball world.
It may be strange to say, but no team outside of the Oklahoma City Thunder – who should have Kevin Durant for the next 12 years or so – and maybe the New Orleans Pelicans – who should have Anthony Davis for the next 15 years or so – have brighter futures at this particular hour than the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics have a whopping nine potential first round picks, including their own, to utilize over the next five years. For sure, some of those picks will be traded away for talent. In sum, the Celtics have more assets to work with in order to land a superstar or two or three in the next half decade than any other basketball organization. So, feel free to get excited.
The NBA Draft Lottery is Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN. This whole season we were under the impression that if the Celtics didn’t get a top 3 pick that somehow this whole experiment was something of a failure. But Sunday, the C’s received some outstanding news. Kevin Love, the just-entering-his-prime power forward from the Minnesota Timberwolves, wants out of the Twin Cities … like, now. If the Celtics have no luck in the lottery and stay at No. 5 or even slide to No. 8, all hope is not lost. Ainge can easily repeat history if he wants to. All he would have to do is trade a cache of picks and players to Minnesota and convince a potential Hall of Fame power forward named Kevin to come play basketball in Boston for the next several years. He could even needle the Celtics-hating Internet trolls by “taking advantage” of a Timberwolves executive with Green ties. Remember, current T’Wolves president Flip Saunders was a Celtics “advisor” in 2012 and Celtics haters – to this day – claim that then-Minny GM Kevin McHale is the main man to blame for the “inside job” that was the KG trade.
Truth be told, the most enjoyable path for Celtics success over the next 15 years would be to win this lottery thing outright Tuesday night and simply draft Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid. Building a championship team around one of these guys is a pretty solid plan going forward.
But plan 1A isn’t too bad either. A Love-Rondo combo would make the Celtics instant contenders in the East and they could use their treasure trove of assets left over to still find a third wheel to accelerate the process.
Ainge has already taken the biggest and most difficult step forward in getting the Green back into championship contention as he has acquired the right chips. Now is the fun part. We get to sit back and see who, exactly, he’s cashing those chips in for.
The brief basketball malaise in Boston is officially all over Tuesday night.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS