Leor on Sports: Celtics’ patience at the trade deadline

From Leor, Shugerblog sports editor:

Despite numerous rumors circulating days before the NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics shocked everyone by staying put, and not making a single deal. Here’s why general manager, Danny Ainge made the right decision by not pulling the trigger:

In 2013, Ainge made a brilliant move by dealing the aged out Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for multiple assets that have turned into extremely high draft picks. This move set the Celtics up perfectly to go in one of two directions: Either wait for the picks to turn into talented players, or to trade their picks away for already talented players. Four years later, the Celtics had to make that very decision on which way to lead the franchise in the week leading up to the 2017 NBA trade deadline. The Celtics came into the season with low expectations. But by February 17th, (one week before the deadline) the Celtics were in second place in their conference and only a few games behind the first place Cleveland Cavaliers. At this point Celtics fans had high hopes that Boston could compete for the championship with the help of a blockbuster trade. Even I got excited over the idea of the Celtics landing superstars such as Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Blake Griffin. The Celtics could reach great heights in the near future with the lineup of Thomas, Bradley, Crowder, Horford, plus an elite all-star. We had the draft picks and young talent to pull off something big. But on further thought, I realized that Boston is in no rush to make a big move. The Celtics shouldn’t squander their bright future to become contenders in the next two or three years. We are not in a desperate position to throw away multiple high draft picks and young players to land one super-star. The Pacers’ final offer to the Celtics was Paul George for The Celtics’ 2017 first rounder and three out of four of the following players: Crowder, Bradley, Brown, and Smart. The Pacers would have snatched away our precious pick, while also digging deep into our line up, taking out very valuable and young players. However, if The Celtics were offered a more reasonable deal, then I would most likely be in favor of Ainge making a move. Earlier in the week, The Kings traded away one of the best big men in the league, Demarcus (Boogie) Cousins to the Pelicans for multiple mediocre and unpromising players and draft picks. If The Celtics would have been offered a deal like the Pelicans, then I would have been thrilled to make a trade. Although many fans were disappointed that Danny Ainge didn’t make the exciting move to chase after a superstar, Boston will end up in a much better position by remaining patient.

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and political ambition (a cause of mass incarceration), and "The Imaginary Unitary Executive," on the myths and history of presidential power in America.

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