First, if you haven’t heard it all by now, let’s start with the details from last night’s trade. Celtics get #3 and the 2018 Lakers pick as long as its not #1, or 6-30. If that happens, they get the 2019 Kings pick. Theoretically, this could mean the Celtics would have two top 5 picks in next years draft, one that is supposed to be LOADED with a position the Celtics truly need.
There’s one thing we all need to remember. Danny Ainge does not give two fucks what we fans think. He never has, and his history suggests he never will. He did not care that we all loved Perkins. He did not care when fans wanted him a few years ago to trade BKN picks + Jae Crowder for Jimmy Butler. He did not care that Twitter demanded he take Kris Dunn last year and instead went with Jaylen Brown…who we all now love. He did not care that many fans wanted him to make a move at the trade deadline, giving up assets for what would probably be a rental player. Again, Ainge gives no fucks. Will you boo on draft night again? Go ahead he says. Ainge cares about one thing, making this team better for the foreseeable future, and this is where the debate comes in for the rest of us. Did he do that last night? After hours of seeing Celtics Twitter react to this trade, I decided it made sense to look at this trade from both sides. Each have a case, and one is not more correct than the other, at least at this current moment.
The way I see it, it breaks down like this…
One side of the coin: This was a good trade
Once you get past the initial shock, try and put yourself in Ainge’s shoes. The problem with this take is those who oppose the trade will just call you a Celtics homer and Ainge apologist. That this move is the worst thing he’s ever done and he should be fired for it. Calm down. Trading the #1 pick is never easy to stomach, so let’s try and understand his rationale.
– First and foremost, he and the Celtics front office are convinced Fultz isn’t the guy. That may be hard for us fans to understand because all we’ve been told for months and months about Fultz is that he IS the guy. YouTube sure makes you feel that way. But, if Ainge was presented an opportunity to still get the player he wanted AND get a high future lottery pick in return, don’t you want him to do that? Remember, if the goal is to continue to build this team for the future, doesn’t this move fit along those lines? Now the risk is obviously whoever he selects actually turns out to be the better player, but to me there is no way of knowing right now which 19 year old is going to be that guy.
– I thought this tidbit from last night was pretty interesting
This is probably what makes this trade so hard to fully accept right now, and that is the unknown. What is the NEXT move? Is there a next move? Maybe Ainge doesn’t care about the protections because he isn’t keeping the pick. Now if that #3 is for Jimmy Butler, we have problems, but we ALL agree Ainge is better at evaluating NBA talent, so this trade now allows him more flexibility to pull something off. Here’s what I mean. Before, if Ainge wanted to move a 2018 pick for a really good player, it had to be the BKN unprotected pick. No player we ever heard being talked about warranted that chip. But now, Ainge can still move a high 2018 pick and not be shit out of luck if he so chooses. Or, if he does have to trade the BKN pick, he now has insurance. Now the craziest idea is if there is a superstar player out there that IS available (that we don’t know of), maybe Ainge needed more Draft capital to pull it off, which he just got.
– Let’s not act like this was a one player Draft. I find it hard to go from “this is one of the deepest drafts in years” to now being of the stance that whoever Ainge now gets is going to be a bum. Danny didn’t want to draft another PG. He doesn’t feel like a PG is what is going to get them over the top, and it’s his job to get the most out of that pick for the type of player/deal he thinks puts them in a better position moving forward.
Is it hard to stomach that Isaiah/Smart/Avery/Rozier is the reason the Celtics aren’t selecting at #1? Partly, but let’s not act like this is a scrub backcourt either. Without knowing what potential trades are on the horizon, Ainge clearly wants to invest in this group. Perhaps Rozier’s play in the playoffs made him feel more comfortable. Avery and Marcus are high quality defenders who are 26 and 23, and Isaiah is an All NBA player. I fully understand the argument about how you get Fultz for 10+ years, but I also understand the argument of riding with the known commodity, especially when it isn’t even that old and can obviously continue to get better.
– Remember, moving from #1 to #3 now HELPS the Celtics clear enough cap to bring in that FA we all want this summer. Had they kept Fultz, things got a whole lot more complicated. I know on Twitter we just throw names/lineups together and think they work, but there is math behind it. This move helps you in that regard.
The other side of the coin: Danny Ainge ruined this franchise last night. This was the worst trade of all time and he should be burned at the stake. What a fucking MORON.
If your not a fan of the Celtics, you had some fun at their expense last night. The Knicks/Sixers fans I saw on my timeline sure did look like they were enjoying themselves. The internet’s reaction to this trade was interesting all around. Celtics fans that were OK with it were homers, some Celtics fans hated it, and if you were a Sixers/Knicks fan you came away saying Danny Ainge got fleeced.
From a Celtics fans perspective, it’s 100% understandable to be upset this morning. For the first time in many of our lifetimes, the Celts finally had the #1 pick, and could take a guy we’ve all been drooling over. On some level I think that’s why fans are upset, that when it comes down to Adam Silver saying “with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft….” he won’t be saying The Boston Celtics. For selfish reasons, we wanted to hear that sentence. That’s now gone. Years and years of watching BKN box scores and praying for the #1 pick to then get it and not make the pick is quite the kick to the dick for all of us. But if you’re truly upset, that’s not the only reason
– The most obvious being, at least for me, is you just traded in your own damn division. You essentially gave PHI the missing piece. Had they been stuck at #3, they probably take a SF, or maybe trade down to take Monk when what they really always needed was a PG. They now have that PG, and if EVERYTHING goes right for them, could be a force you compete with for the next decade. You have to see Fultz at least four times a year which will be great when he hits a game winner we ALL know he is going to make at some point next season against the Celts.
Aside from the player, there is that risk that next year’s pick also becomes #1. If that were to happen, PHI walks away with three straight #1 picks. At some point they are going to have to start winning right?
– Maybe you’re of the stance that Ainge should have gotten more for the #1 pick. When all is said and done, no matter what pick 2018 or 2019 turns into, Ainge basically gave away Fultz for one additional lottery pick (as we know of right this second). If we’re being honest, this did surprise me. I would have thought Ainge would come away with both 2019 PHI 1st round picks instead of a protected Lakers pick, and maybe some 2nd rounders as well. I think we’re so used to Ainge throwing a billion picks at teams in previous Drafts trying to move up, that we just assumed that’s what would happen with our #1 pick. If there was a better offer out there I’m sure Ainge takes it, but because it doesn’t look like there was, I can see why fans think this haul is a little light.
– Fultz truly could turn out to be the best player in this draft, Ainge over thought everything, and missed out on a transcendent player. This could absolutely happen, and I think it’s the main reason why people are so upset. If you look at the list of consensus #1 picks, they VERY rarely miss. The first that come to mind like Lebron, Kyrie, Wall, KAT, Anthony Davis, Blake, Rose, Dwight etc all turned out to be pretty fucking good. Yes, there are some misses at #1 in NBA history, but not really with the consensus pick, especially if that player is a PG. History suggests that Fultz will be pretty damn good, which is why this is such a gigantic risk that people might not be OK with.
– Then there’s this
Of all the reasoning I saw last night as to why this move happened, this is the one that annoys me. This did not matter to me when I thought Fultz was going to be a Celtic, and it still doesn’t now that he isn’t. Who gives a SHIT what happened on a dogshit college team? Isn’t the whole idea that you get these elite talents into YOUR system, with YOUR coach, and YOUR environment? So he lost to Yale, he still had a ridiculous game. I didn’t hear those same concerns when it was Ben Simmons and his dogshit LSU team. Plenty of guys have won 30 games in college and flamed out in the NBA. How did Adam Morrison work out? Or Dee Brown? Let’s say Ainge prefers someone like Tatum. Well, what did he win? He and guys like Jackson played on better college teams, thus had more success. If this was really a main reason for moving away from Fultz, then I am just as angry as anyone else.
It may seem like a cop out, but the reality is, this is still too early to know if this trade was the right move. I’m not even talking about waiting years and years to see what the players turn out to be. I’m talking just with the next few weeks. What if there is more to come? What if this is all part of a plan to land a big time talent while still having really good future assets? If that’s the case can we really be mad? On the flip side, what if nothing happens? Then what the fuck was Ainge thinking?
Where you stand on this issue is entirely up to you. Being OK with the trade does not make you a homer who just goes along with whatever happens, the same way being really upset about this trade isn’t without merit. I know if you’re upset this morning this might not be what you want to hear, but shouldn’t Ainge get some benefit of the doubt? Look at where he has this team in 4 years of rebuilding. Some might say he knows what he’s doing. That doesn’t make him perfect, he has his misses just like every GM in the NBA, but as a fan, at least for me, you want a GM who is not going to cave to public pressure, and is going to make decisions that set you up for success both in the present and the future. Maybe that’s what Ainge is doing. Maybe he fucked up. Only time will tell.
My official stance is obviously I was all in on Fultz. I’m pissed they aren’t getting him, and it’s annoying he’s going to a team within the division. I also trust that there is a plan to this madness. I can understand getting more value out of the pick if Fultz wasn’t your guy to begin with. I think both can be true.