Bean: Trade with Sixers paved the way for Celts to acquire Irving


Bean: Trade with Sixers paved the way for Celts to acquire Irving

Danny Ainge didn’t know he was going to get Kyrie Irving when he traded away the first overall pick days before the draft. He just knew that he didn’t want Markelle Fultz that badly, and that was enough. 

As the rest of the offseason has unfolded, a trade that was initially met with skepticism has looked better by the day. What looked like a decision between Isaiah Thomas and Fultz as the team’s future at point guard was not that at all, as Ainge eventually added what many would agree is a better option than both. 


When the trade with the 76ers was made, many wondered if this meant Ainge was hitching his wagon to Thomas. In reality, he was continuing to hoard assets, because those are the only two speeds Ainge knows: collecting and cashing in. 

Had the Celtics not moved down and gained that protected Lakers-or-Kings pick from the 76ers, maybe they’d have considered the 2018 Brooklyn pick less expendable. Ainge didn’t now how he’d be moving his assets, or for whom. He just figured, in unsurprising fashion for him, that he was better off having more. 

So he swapped having Fultz for having Jayson Tatum and another potentially high pick. It’s a little early to judge who will have the better career, considering neither of them have played a single game, but Ainge added The Ringer’s No. 2-ranked player in the draft and saved some dough in the process. 

Then July happened and the Celtics landed Gordon Hayward in free agency, which made those assets even more expendable given that the only thing Boston had to do to add an All-Star was trade someone (Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris) to create the cap space. 

Signing Hayward provided another reminder that you can’t have a million picks and spend them all, as the Celtics now seemingly had three eventual long-term starters in Hayward, Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That’s not to say that suddenly the Brooklyn pick was burning a hole in their pocket; if nobody great was available via trade, they could have happily kept both the Nets pick and the Lakers/Kings pick and either spent them both or packaged them to get the apple of Ainge’s eye in the 2018 draft. 

But someone great did become available and Ainge pounced. That the player acquired happened to play the very same position as Fultz is more coincidence than stealth maneuvering, but it’s a coincidence that’s made the Philly trade look a hell of a lot better. 

Say the Celtics don’t make that trade, and they choose take Markelle Fultz. What’s that trade with the Cavaliers looking like? Would the Cavs still take the package that you gave them, or would they insist on Fultz? You’d still need to give up a lot more than Fultz to make the money work, plus you wouldn’t have that extra pick you got in the 76ers trade. The moves that the Celtics made have meant they got to add Irving without losing the guy they took at the top of the draft. 

Combining the Fultz trade and the Irving trade, here’s what the Celtics have added and subtracted: 

In: Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Lakers 2018 first-round pick (if between Nos. 2 and 5)/higher of Kings and 76ers top-1 protected 2019 pick 

Out: 2017 first overall pick, Nets 2018 first-round pick, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic

Rearrange that any way you’d like. That’s a lot going out and a lot coming in, but in a league dependent on stars, the biggest takeaway is that the Celtics got the biggest star out of those two swaps. 

Fingers crossed that Fultz stinks, though. 


Against Magic, C's do what they're supposed to

Against Magic, C's do what they're supposed to

Beating one of the few teams already eliminated from the playoff race is in itself not that big a deal.

It’s called doing what you’re supposed to do.

But for these Celtics, their 92-83 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night was more than just another victory.

It was the latest installment in a season filled with teachable moments and lessons that can bolster in some fashion their chances at a deep playoff run.

While there’s no way they’re going to go far without their core guys Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, getting guys to fill in for them and still manage to win, is important in this team’s overall development in both the present and future.

No one on the Celtics’ roster can score like Irving, the league’s 11th-ranked scorer at 24.4 points per game.

Still, getting his fill-ins Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin to go for 17 and 10 points certainly helps.

And Jaylen Brown’s ability to play both ends of the floor at a high level is huge, but rookie Abdel Nader has shown he too has some potential to be a solid two-way talent.

Smart’s defense sets him apart from others, but the Celtics collectively were able to make up for that with an impressive defensive rating of 83.1 against the Orlando.

And their collective efforts serve as yet another teachable moment for the Celtics.

Here are five takeaways from a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might lead one to believe: 

There may not be another Celtic whose stock has risen more than Terry Rozier’s this season. He has become a reliable two-way talent off the bench whose capable of giving you starter-like production when needed. He had 17 points against the Magic along with seven rebounds and five assists.

With Marcus Smart (right thumb) out for the rest of the regular season, Terry Rozier in the starting lineup along with Marcus Morris, those are three really big chunks of Boston’s second unit no longer coming off the bench. The second unit players might have been different, but that didn’t affect the Celtics’ bench from impacting the game in a significant way. Against the Magic, they outscored Orlando’s backups, 39-28. 

He signed with the Boston Celtics at a time when a role for him was far from defined. His patience and Boston’s faith in him has paid for both as Larkin continues to be that utility player that Brad Stevens has leaned on at times. Larkin was solid off the bench, scoring 10 points.

This may be one of the closest Coach of the Year votes we have ever had in the NBA. Regardless how short the list may be, you can bet Brad Stevens will be on it. The way he has been positioning the Celtics to be among the last teams standing despite all the injuries they have endured this season, speaks to his ability to not just draw up X's and O’s but also his ability to develop players who when called upon to play, are more than ready for the challenge.

It’s fair to expect the Celtics are going to be short-handed for the rest of the season, which means those still around have to step their game up – Horford included.

For Horford, stepping up involves being more assertive as a scorer and not rely as much on his skills as a play-maker. We saw that from Horford on Friday, as he tallied a near double-double of 15 points and nine rebounds but more important, he took a game-high 18 shot attempts.


'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

AP Photo

'Big Baby' busted with 126 grams of pot, $92K in cash

Former Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis was arrested last month in a hotel room in Aberdeen, Maryland, with more than 126 grams of marijuana and more than $92,000 in cash.

Davis, 32, who played on the Celtics 2008 championship team was last in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015, was arrested Feb. 7 after the hotel owner at the Aberdeen Hampton Inn smelled marijuana coming from Davis' room, WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported.

“They recovered 126 grams of marijuana,” Aberdeen Police Lt. William Reiber told WMAR. “In addition to that, there was a briefcase that contained 92,164 dollars of U.S. currency along with a ledger that contained language which is consistent with someone involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics.”

Davis is charged with seven counts of drug possession and distribution.

Police said the strains of marijuana were from a Los Angeles wholesaler that court records show Davis told police he was in business with.

He told officers he was visiting family in Maryland. Davis' attorney told WMAR the former Celtic (2007-11) adamantly maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court next month to clear his name.