The fact that the Celtics find themselves – in whatever fashion – involved in the Kyrie Irving trade rumors is a testament to Danny Ainge’s calculated aggressiveness and only cements his reputation as one of the best GM’s in the league. It also doesn’t hurt that that “Trader Danny” have been sitting upon a treasure trove of assets for nearly half a decade now.
“I think a big key to Danny’s success is that he’s wide open. A lot of guys around the NBA – especially a lot of general managers around the NBA – just play everything really close to the vest,” Boston Celtics play-by-play commentator for CSNNE Mike Gorman said on Sunday’s episode of Celtics Beat.
“They don’t want to have any hypothetical discussions with you, they don’t want to talk about anything at all. Danny’s wide open. You want to talk about potential trades with Danny, he’ll say ‘what do you got?’ and then he’ll tell you why it will work or it won’t work. I really love Danny for that.”
Despite having the assets, Boston’s chances of landing a player of Irving’s ilk has always been suspicious. The Celtics’ current lead guard, Isaiah Thomas, just finished fifth in MVP voting and Irving’s current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are the Celtics’ biggest threat for an Eastern Conference title. The chances of seeing Irving getting traded to Boston are highly unlikely.
Gorman doesn’t see Irving-to-Boston as a likely scenario either, but he wouldn’t completely count out the proposition.
“Danny’s always open to talk and the Celtics still have a lot what people want which is young talent and draft picks,” Gorman said. “I wouldn’t rent Kyrie Irving for a year, but if Kyrie Irving came out and said ‘Boston is a destination I would be very interested in,’ I would like to see what it would take. He’s a terrific player.”
Gorman added that the likelihood that Irving is traded to another team not named the Celtics: “I would say it’s more than a 50-50 chance – probably 60-40 – that he [Irving] won’t be there.”
An Irving-less Cavs team would most assuredly be weaker than previous versions and would bump Boston’s chances of advancing past Cleveland up a notch and to the top of the Eastern Conference’s pecking order.
The situation – as with most things – is dependent on a variety of variables, including Irving’s status as a Cav.
“Barring some major injury along the line I would think that the Celtics are right there against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals again,” Gorman commented.
“Who’s the favorite in the Eastern Conference Finals will depend a lot on what’s the situation in Cleveland. Is Kyrie Irving out there representing the Cavs or is he long gone? If they think they can substitute Derrick Rose for Kyrie Irving then the Celtics are going to the NBA Finals.”
Everyone seems to be drinking the Green Kool-Aid this offseason and why shouldn’t they? The team added a max contract level player in Gordon Hayward, drafted No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum, and brought in a mix of up-and-coming youngsters and tough-minded vets that would indicate that the Celtics – at least on paper – appear to be more than worthy adversaries to a Cavs team on the brink of self-destruction.
With anything new – and a majority of the Celtics roster is new this season – there should be added caution, particularly during the season’s beginning stages.
“This team will be tested fast and if all of a sudden the Celtics open the season 2-5, there’ll be a lot of people wondering what the heck is going on here?” Gorman said.
“Again, I think the fans are going to have to be patient…I play in a lot of charity golf outings over the summer and everywhere I go people are like ‘wow Mike this is great...we’re going to be so much better than we were last year,’ and I keep going back to the fact that they were in the final four of the NBA last year. I hope people are patient out of the block.”
Gorman – who picked Boston over Cleveland in six games in 2015 because he was “pissed off they [the Celtics] were being disrespected” – will be more rested himself this season considering Adam Silver’s expanded schedule (which calls for more off days) and a heavy national TV presence that unfortunately often times calls for Gorman to watch the game from the sidelines.
If you were at all worried about the regular season grind for the Dorchester native, don’t be. He’s still working his dream job.
“Nobody needs to worry about my life or my health. I got a good deal,” Gorman said. “For 30-plus years now I’ve been sitting beside one of my best friends talking about a basketball game for two-and-a-half hours and getting paid for it, so I’ve got no complaints.”