Celtics

Could Kyrie Irving-Anthony Davis friendship boost Celtics' trade odds?

Could Kyrie Irving-Anthony Davis friendship boost Celtics' trade odds?

The Los Angeles Lakers appear to have a trump card in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes: Davis and LeBron James share the same agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.

But don't sleep on the Boston Celtics, who boast their own ace in the hole.

In a column Monday for Sports Illustrated, NBA insider Chris Mannix suggested Kyrie Irving's close relationship with Davis could provide Boston a "unique backchannel" as it pursues the New Orleans Pelicans big man via trade.

Will (the Celtics) offer (Jayson) Tatum in a Davis package without assurances Davis will re-sign there? No, but Boston has a unique backchannel: Irving. Irving and Davis maintain a close friendship: “Kyrie and Anthony Davis are boys,” former NBA forward and NBC Sports Boston analyst Brian Scalabrine told The Crossover NBA podcast. “I think they text like every day.” Irving would be a powerful recruiter next summer.

Irving and Davis, who went No. 1 overall in the 2011 and 2012 NBA Drafts, respectively, formed a close bond as USA Basketball teammates. Ironically, Irving's presence is preventing the Celtics from acquiring Davis before the NBA's Feb. 7 trade deadline, and the potential of Kyrie leaving in free agency could ruin Boston's chances of landing Davis this summer, too.

But this could go another way: What if the Celtics, who have the best assets to make a deal for Davis, make an offer New Orleans can't refuse this summer? That surely would convince Irving to stick around. And while Davis reportedly prefers to sign with L.A. in free agency after the 2019-20 season, what if he enjoys playing with Irving so much that he decides to stay for the long haul?

That's certainly a plausible scenario according to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, who added this nugget Tuesday:

For Davis, the whole appeal of Boston, according to league sources, would be to team up with Irving, one of his closest friends in the league.

Those are a lot of "what ifs," obviously. There are rumors gathering steam that Irving may renege on his promise to Boston and sign with the hometown New York Knicks or reunite with James on the Lakers. According to Mannix, however, the C's are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

What I do know is that the Celtics are confident Irving will be back, and won’t blink at offering a five-year, max-level extension to ensure it. Don’t dismiss the importance of that to a player who has had three knee surgeries in recent years.

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Classic Celtics: Watch thrilling finishes during 'Iconic Moments Week'

Classic Celtics: Watch thrilling finishes during 'Iconic Moments Week'

The Boston Celtics have won 371 playoff games over their storied franchise history -- and a few stand out above the rest.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series will continue during the week of Monday, May 25, by re-broadcasting five more C's playoff games that feature "iconic moments" we still remember to this day.

We'll take you as far back as the 1970s to a triple-overtime thriller against the Phoenix Suns and also re-live some recent heroics during Boston's latest championship run in 2008.

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Here's the full lineup for "Iconic Moments Week," which includes a new re-broadcast every night of the week starting at 8 p.m. ET:

'Iconic Moments' Week

Monday, May 25: Celtics vs. Pacers, 1991 First Round Game 5
Larry Bird returns from injuring his cheek in the first half to lead the Celtics to a playoff victory over the Indiana Pacers.   

Tuesday, May 26: Celtics vs. Lakers, 2008 NBA Finals Game 1
Paul Pierce exits in a wheelchair but returns later in the game to help the C's beat the rival Lakers at TD Garden. 

Wednesday, May 27: Celtics vs. Pistons, 1987 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5
Larry Bird steals the game, literally, for the Celtics in a pivotal Game 5.   

Thursday, May 28: Celtics vs. Lakers, 1984 NBA Finals Game 2
Gerald Henderson steals James Worthy’s inbound pass with 13 seconds left in the game to tie it, and the Celtics win in overtime to tie the series.  

Friday, May 29: Celtics vs. Suns, 1976 NBA Finals Game 5 
In what many call "the greatest game ever played," the Celtics outlast the Suns in three overtimes.

The action begins Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, where Brian Scalabrine will be joined by several key players in these games for additional color commentary.

Here's how to watch:

When: May 25, May 26, May 27, May 28 and May 29, 8 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and the MyTeams app (except May 25)

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Danny Ainge reveals why he initially rejected Celtics GM job offer

Danny Ainge reveals why he initially rejected Celtics GM job offer

Seventeen years ago, the Boston Celtics hired Danny Ainge to be their executive director of basketball operations and general manager.

Getting Ainge on board wasn't an easy task, though.

After spending seven-and-a-half seasons as a player on the C's in the 1980s, one would think Ainge would pounce on the opportunity to run one of the NBA's most iconic franchises. However, that was not the case as he was comfortable with his role as an analyst on TNT's NBA broadcast.

Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca extended the job offer to Ainge twice, but he rejected it both times before finally accepting it in May of 2003. Ainge explained in more detail why he was hesitant to take the job in a recent conversation with Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

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“They (Grousbeck and Pagliuca) told me that (former Celtics president) Red (Auerbach) had recommended that they hire me,” Ainge told Washburn. “I was flattered and I told them thank you. My three older kids had graduated from high school. I have my three youngest at home, so life is a little bit different. I told them I was not interested in the job and I gave them names of people in the league and some former Celtic players they should interview.

“I didn’t jump at it. It wasn’t anything I was looking to really do. As time went on, they had come a second time and a third time while I was broadcasting. I sensed my wife was warming up to the idea. Eventually, I said yes.”

With Ainge at the helm, the Celtics later won their 17th NBA title in 2008. After the championship season, Ainge was promoted to president of basketball operations.

Seems like taking the job turned out to be the right choice.