Why is Danny Ainge looking to make a charge at Kyrie Irving for? At what point is enough, enough for the Boston Celtics? Throughout this offseason, the Celtics name has come up in every trade or free agent signing you could think of. There was the trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. The mention of Blake Griffin, Paul George, and Gordon Hayward. Now, there is talk of a possibly Irving deal that could send MVP candidate– Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder plus a draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Irving.
When looking over their seasons, isn’t Irving (25 points, six assists on 47 percent shooting) and Thomas (29 points, six assists, 46 percent shooting) pretty much the same player? Is it because Irving has been to three straight NBA Finals that Ainge feels he’s better suited for the Celtics than Thomas? I will give Irving one thing over Thomas and that’s on the defensive end. They both are great offensive players but neither offer too much on the assists side but defensively is what will set them apart.
However, what has helped the Celtics gain attention throughout the league the last two seasons has been their chemistry. Well, Ainge is out to undo what has made his team so special. First, it was bringing in Gordon and now it could be taking away the player who makes it all work. Thomas may be small, brash and has an ego the size of Mars but his teammates love him and so does the Celtics faithful. Is Ainge really willing to throw all that away for a sidekick? Yes, I called Irving a sidekick as he’s managed to do nothing without the services of LeBron James and Kevin Love.
Let’s not forget that Irving has missed close to 30 games in 2011, 20 games in 2012, and almost another 30 in 2015. He’s good but he’s also injury prone and let’s not forget his $18M a year price tag. While his name does ring bells in arenas, he’s also the same guy that Thomas is.
Thomas is soon to be a free agent and will look to make close to $30M in 2018 but he’s the player Ainge hooked the Celtics wagon to when the team was down in the dumps. Thomas was the one leading the charge with a cast of players no one outside of their parents’ house has heard of. Thomas helped lead them to 53 wins last season and Ainge may throw that all away for a sidekick.
A lineup that features Thomas, Marcus Smart, Hayward, Marcus Morris and Al Horford will win 45-50 games but is Ainge trying to say that Irving will push them past the 53 win mark they did last season? Or a better question is– why didn’t Irving help the Cavs win the East over the Celtics in 2016?
Ainge has made some smart moves over the years but this is one he needs to let pass.