Anderson: Cavs’ first mistake was trying to beat Danny Ainge’s trade hustle
Give them credit for a valiant effort, but the Cavaliers most definitely made a mistake when they tried to hustle the ultimate hustler in Celtics president Danny Ainge.
Under the guise of concerns over a lingering hip injury to Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs clearly tried to extort more out of the Celtics and/or see if another team would step up to the plate with an offer that put the Câ€™s in second place and stuck holding the bag.
And why wouldnâ€™t the Cavs try to do that?
For one, you would be telling your biggest rival to go screw after they just raved about the player they believed they were acquiring. Aingeâ€™s quotes definitely told the whole story of how he viewed Irving as a need for them to take that next step, and they also served as a cold dose of reality as to how he viewed I.T.â€™s long-term fit in Boston. A vetoed trade would have meant that the Cavs directly helped create seemingly irreparable harm to the relationship between Bostonâ€™s best player from a year ago and the team, and in a contract year. Thatâ€™s something that the Cavs, with LeBron James expected to bolt to form a superteam somewhere else (again) in 2018, certainly know a lot about.
If the Cavs were going down in a pitiful East, they were going to do what they could to take the Câ€™s with â€˜em.
But whether the Cavaliers — led by general manager Koby Altman and team owner Dan Gilbert — admit it or not, itâ€™s obvious that they knew that Thomas had a bum hip.
Thereâ€™s absolutely no way that they did not know that. The entire NBA knew that Thomasâ€™ hip was beat to hell. It was one of the biggest reasons why the Cavs made such easy work of the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals this past season, taking the Câ€™s down in five games, with the 28-year-old Thomas a total shell of himself in the first two, and then missing the final three because of that hip ailment. And for what itâ€™s worth, even after the trade the Celtics remain adamant that they did not hide any of the 5-foot-9 Thomasâ€™ medical information from the Cavaliersâ€™ doctors and medical staff.
But this was never about Isaiah’sÂ hip. This was always about a last-second change of heart and traderâ€™s remorse on the part of the most-definitely-declining Cavaliers.
This was really just Altman realizing that an Irving exit and banged-up Thomas meant that the Cavs would be left with the rotting corpse of Jose Calderon and The Living Season-Ending Injury known as Derrick Rose as their starting point guards, and thatâ€™s probably only because Eric Snow probably found something better to do in 2017.
This was basically Altman reading a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, peeking ahead to what happens, and then casually deciding to reroute his path like nothing happened.
It was then that Altman thought he was sane when he asked for the Celtics to add Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, or another high draft pick to the trade package. Ainge, of course, did not budge. Altman then pivoted towards radio silence, wondering if that would change Aingeâ€™s approach and force the Celtics to break. Nope.
We even hit the point where other teams were â€˜lurkingâ€™ in the shadows with potential offers should the Cavaliers willingly say bye to a potential No. 1 overall pick in 2018 (the Brooklyn pick that the Celtics sent as part of their four-piece package to the Cavaliers) and cancel their deal with the Celtics. Ainge, the same man that robbed the Tâ€™Wolves in 2007, and more recently the same man that has been in on every recent blockbuster but with zero connections on those potential deals, seemingly welcomed the challenge.
But nobody answered, and Ainge knew thatâ€™d be the case all along.
As believed to be the case when the deal went down, and reinforced when the window undoubtedly reopened upon the delay in making everything official, nobody could offer what the Celtics — even with an injured Isaiah — were offering. And even the ones that could, such as the Suns or Nuggets, didnâ€™t have the stomach needed to do it. That, above all else, is why Altmanâ€™s attempted callout of the Celtics was always a mistake.
The Celtics were short on time, sure, but the Cavaliers were short on options. So when push came to shove, and when moving a player of Irvingâ€™s caliber and future impact, it was going to be one — one being the legitimate offer from the Celtics — or nothing.
So for all that trouble, the Cavs received one extra second-round draft choice in 2020.
What a steal. Thatâ€™ll certainly convince LeBron, whoâ€™ll be 35 then, to stay.
Sure, Ainge did give in and send a second-round draft pick to the Cavaliers. Itâ€™s a 2020 Miami second-round pick only in name, if you care, and thatâ€™s just because 2020 Please For The Love of God Just Go Away canâ€™t be the official title of a trade piece. And even after moving that future second-rounder, the Celtics still have Brown, Tatum, and at least six future first-round draft picks over the next three seasons still in their arsenal. The Celtics were not going to get Nets’d and let their long-term success be dictated,Â derailed, or taken out of their own control by anÂ overpayment via trade.Â
Alsoâ€¦ itâ€™s a second-round pick. In the last five drafts before 2017, 150 players were taken with second-round picks. 47 of them have never sniffed an NBA game (thatâ€™s over 30 percent), and the lone legitimate star to come out of that group is the Warriorsâ€™ Draymond Green. Second-round picks are actual lotto tickets in the NBA, even in 2017, and when you have as many future assets as the Celtics do, you can afford to lose one.
What the Celtics could not afford to do, however, was let this trade fall apart. Which is something that was clearly never going to happen on Aingeâ€™s watch.
Not even on Altmanâ€™s time. Especially not on a rookie general managerâ€™s time, actually.
Full article @ Anderson: Cavs’ first mistake was trying to beat Danny Ainge’s trade hustle
Source: GreenStreet Blog