The inevitable Anthony Davis trade finally went down, and it wasn't to Boston.
Sure, the Lakers loading up to potentially tie or surpass the C's in titles isn't ideal for Boston, but Danny Ainge trading for The Brow would be worse.
Think of it this way: If it were the Celtics who acquired Davis, right now we'd be on freaking Twitter breathlessly awaiting any crumb we could get from Woj or Shams (pronounce it right, please).
"What does this mean?"
"Will Kyrie return now?"
"Is Davis going to stay, even though his agent basically swore to God he wouldn't?"
With all the uncertainty surrounding that, we would be certain of this: The Celtics would no longer have Jayson Tatum and perhaps not Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown either. Reports vary on whether the Celtics would have traded Tatum for Davis, but that would be the starting point for to compete with the package New Orleans got from the Lakers.
None of the aforementioned players are as good as Davis, but it wouldn't just be that the C's wouldn't have Tatum or Brown (in addition to the draft picks they'd cede), it would be that they wouldn't have any guarantee of a foundation - or even a means of building one - beyond next season.
Just as important for my blood pressure: Steering clear of AD wasn't just in the best interests of the Celtics long-term, it kept alive the chance that we won't have to watch the sequel of the horror movie we saw this past season.
Which was, in case you forgot, a season overshadowed by a superstar who may or may not be planning his exit strategy. With Irving, at least there was the possibility that he might return. Given the words of Rich Paul, Davis might have shown up at his introductory press conference wearing an "I WON'T RE-SIGN HERE" shirt. The only difference between Irving leaving and AD leaving is that Irving is leaving a team that still has hope; Davis would be walking away from a team bereft of building blocks because they used their best ones to get him in the first place.
There is only one scenario in which Celtics fans should have wanted Davis, and that would be if the acquisition coincided with a long-term commitment from Kyrie. Then, you'd have a season of (hopeful) Eastern Conference dominance with Irving and Davis in hopes that success would convince AD to stick around, à la the current situation in Toronto with Kawhi Leonard. If Davis left, which you would have to expect, at least you'd still have Irving and maybe you'd be able to get another star to join him at some point.
That's what the Celtics had to have been envisioning for the year-plus of reports they were his most aggressive pursuers. Ainge wanted Davis. He just didn't want him at all costs.
Bottom line, per sources, is this: The Celtics knew that if they lost Kyrie after 2 years, the bounty they gave up to get him would not cripple them long-term, and If AD left after one, the bounty they would have had to give up would have crippled them long-term.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 15, 2019
The only thing the Celtics should now regret regarding Davis is that they seemingly saved each and every last club in their bag for an attempt to take a swing at Davis (I don't know how to golf). Had they known their circumstances (Kyrie) would change and make them less willing to go all-in on Davis, they might have used picks or players to try to add to their 2018-19 club at the trade deadline. When you consider the injuries of the Warriors, perhaps we aren't allotting the proper rage to the fact that the C's didn't make it through the East.
Now, the Celtics will have neither Davis nor (presumably) Irving. We can put to rest, for now, any thoughts of a "super-team" forming in Boston. Star power will be replaced with potential and the comfort of knowing that nothing could be as unenjoyable as the season we just saw.
Maybe Davis could have brought a title to Boston like Kawhi just did in Toronto, but there wasn't even a "maybe" when it came to his chances of sticking around. It's going to hurt watching him for the next however many years in LA, but that type of stay was never going to happen here.
The Celtics passed and they'll be better off for it.
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