Celtics

Cavs owner sees Kyrie Irving leaving Celtics, calls 2017 trade a success

Cavs owner sees Kyrie Irving leaving Celtics, calls 2017 trade a success

What a difference two years makes.

When the Celtics acquired Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers in August 2017, it felt like a steal for Boston. When Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were off the Cavs' roster within a year and a talented Celtics squad reached the Eastern Conference Finals without Irving, it felt like a fleecing.

But if you ask Cavs owner Dan Gilbert now, he'll tell you Cleveland actually made out swimmingly in the deal -- because he believes Irving's tenure in Boston is over.

"I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” Gilbert told Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves (Cavs general manager) Koby (Altman) made, we killed it in that trade."

"Killed it" might be a bit strong, Dan.

The Cavs did use the Brooklyn Nets pick the Celtics sent them to draft point guard Collin Sexton. But turning Thomas and Crowder into Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson didn't exactly move the needle, and Cleveland dropped to No. 5 in the 2019 NBA Draft after tanking its way to a 19-63 record.

What Gilbert might be right about though, is trading Irving at the right time. Gilbert confirmed Irving's agent mentioned the All-Star guard could opt for knee surgery if the Cavs didn't deal him in 2017, and Irving's knee eventually held him out of the 2018 NBA playoffs.

One year later, Irving's future in Boston looks murky, as he's reportedly considering the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers in free agency this summer after cooling on his preseason promise to sign with the Celtics long-term.

As team success goes, the Celtics are still the clear winner of that 2017 blockbuster. But it sounds like Gilbert would view Irving bolting Boston as further validation the Cavs made the right move.

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Larry Bird receives lifetime achievement award at 2019 NBA Awards

Larry Bird receives lifetime achievement award at 2019 NBA Awards

The Magic-Bird rivalry had another moment in the spotlight on Monday at the 2019 NBA Awards.

Both Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson were honored with the lifetime achievement awards by the NBA.

The awards were absolutely deserved by both players. The duo reignited the Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers rivalry in the 1980s and from 1980-88, either Bird's Celtics or Johnson's Lakers were in the NBA Finals, and they squared off in three series. And in that time span, either the Celtics or Lakers captured eight of the nine NBA titles, which is absolutely remarkable.

Bird was one of the greatest Celtics of all-time. He averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game over the course of his 13-year career with the Celtics. He is top-five for the team in most major statistical categories including points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. He truly was a game changer and had many moments of greatness throughout his career.

And after his playing career was over, Bird became a very good head coach with the Indiana Pacers and later ran their front office. He won a Coach of the Year in his first season with the Pacers (1998) and also took home the NBA Executive of the Year in 2012.

Bird is simply one of the greatest basketball players, and minds, that the sport has ever seen. Between his statistical prowess, his three titles, two Finals MVPs, three NBA MVPs, and his resume as a coach and front office executive, it's easy to see why the NBA wanted to honor him. And doing it along with his long-time rival, Johnson, just made the moment sweeter for the highly accomplished and revolutionary duo.

Kyrie's high school coach offers his thoughts on the C's>>>

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Marcus Smart wins NBA's Hustle Award

Marcus Smart wins NBA's Hustle Award

On a night where the Celtics weren't up for many 2018-19 NBA awards, Marcus Smart took home a prize that would have made Red Auerbach smile. 

Smart won the NBA's Hustle Award, which couldn't have been a better way to recognize his play last season and over his entire career with the Celtics. He was also named to the NBA's First All-Defensive team for the first time, and it'd be surprising if it was the last. 

Smart had the best all-around year of his career in 2018-19. After signing a four-year contract to stay with the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2014, he shot a career-high 36.4 percent from three to go along with his consistently superb defensive output.

On a team that lacked the heart and will to win in the face of adversity, Smart represented the kind of wherewithal Celtics fans hoped the rest of the roster would show night in and night out. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and it contributed to the team's ultimate demise in the second round against the Bucks. 

The Celtics came up empty handed in the marquee awards Monday night. Al Horford came in third place in the NBA's Sportsmanship Award voting. 

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