BOSTON -- Danny Ainge loves Isaiah Thomas. The Boston Celtics' franchise, from ownership on down, feels the same way.
No one knows fully how tough it was for them to part with him for a package centered around Kyrie Irving, who'd made it clear that he wanted out of Cleveland.
For those who question Irving’s motives as well as the Celtics’ desire to part with a player like Thomas -- who made such a huge impact in so little time -- here’s what you need to know.
You do that deal if you're Boston because you feel that, going forward, Irving gives you a better shot at winning a title.
You do that deal because you know that adding Irving to this culture would be a win-win for both the player and the franchise.
You do this deal because you believe Irving can elevate your franchise in a way that makes you, at a minimum, in the conversation to compete and ultimately win a championship.
Thursday’s game against Golden State?
That’s why you did the deal.
Because for all the second-guessing that went on relative to the blockbuster trade with Cleveland, the end-goal was to be positioned to win games like Thursday night’s battle with the defending NBA champion Warriors.
And making the matchup all that more enticing is that the Celtics (13-2) come in with the league’s best record -- not Golden State -- and have done it in impressive, emphatic and historic fashion.
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The newest member of the Golden State Warriors is known for his shooting stroke.
Jonas Jerebko is a career 36.3 percent 3-point shooter, and the 31-year-old shot 41.4 percent from beyond the arc with the Utah Jazz last season. That ability earned him a very flattering nickname from his former bosses: Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge and owner Steve Pagliuca.
Ainge acquired the Swedish sharpshooter from the Detroit Pistons in February 2015. When he was asked if Boston would re-sign the Swedish sharpshooter at his end-of-season press conference that year, Ainge compared him to a longtime teammate.
"The Swedish Larry Bird, you mean?" Ainge jokingly replied, according to ESPN's Chris Forsberg.
Ainge and Bird played together for parts of eight seasons, winning NBA championships together in 1984 and 1986. Bird, of course, is a Basketball Hall of Famer who led the NBA in made 3-pointers in the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons, and finished in the top 10 in four other seasons. Bird finished his career as a 37.6 percent shooter from deep.
Jerebko played with the Celtics for parts of three seasons, and he took the tongue-in-cheek comparisons to a Boston legend in stride.
“I laugh about it,” Jerebko told the Providence Journal in February 2016, “like everybody else. I don’t dislike, I don’t like it. People can say whatever they want. It’s not like I’m going to go home and tell them I’m the Swedish Larry Bird. If people think it’s funny and they like to say it, go ahead, but it’s not like I’m going to call myself that or use that nickname in any manner.”
On a team that features Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Jerebko probably won't draw comparisons to any Warriors legends. Plus, DeMarcus Cousins already has the title of third Splash Brother locked up.
The 76ers were just told no.
Philadelphia was unsuccessful in its attempt to hire Daryl Morey as general manager, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Monday.
Morey has been with the Rockets since 2006, and he was named GM in May 2007. He was just named NBA Executive of the Year.
Bryan Colangelo, who was the 76ers' president of basketball operations, resigned in early June after an investigation determined that he was involved in a Twitter scandal involving multiple accounts that his wife operated.
The 76ers' head coach -- Brett Brown -- currently is serving as interim GM.
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller