“The day you sign a client is the day you start losing him.” — Boston Celtics
Speaking of Riley, it’s almost too easy to say that of every NBA exec working today, he’d have been the most natural fit in the world of Mad Men. After all, if Don Draper had championship rings, he’d definitely be the guy to dump them on the table in front of a prospective client and walk out of the room.
I’m not taking the bait. For the true NBA embodiment of Don, only one man fits the bill. He’s cold, calculating, and would trade his own mother if he thought it would help the team. He’s the best there is.
Danny Ainge realized long ago that he needed to view NBA players like stocks – buy low, sell high – if he was going to survive. How else could he have mustered up the gall to strip the team of two first-ballot Hall of Famers in the most lopsided trade in NBA history. Just like a client is always ready to walk out the door in the advertising world, in sports, a player should only be kept around as long as there’s no better asset you can replace him with. It’s a mentality that’s allowed him to rebuild the Celtics without that pesky period of prolonged sucking.
That’s what makes the next 12 to 24 (and really, 36) months so fascinating for Boston. There’s a very real chance that the Celtics are the best team in the NBA right this second. That said, they’re missing the one guy who you look at and say “that dude can lead us to the promised land” without thinking twice.
(I’m of the belief that Tatum can get there, but this is probably a minority opinion)
They may not even need that player to win it all. Even so, you know Trader Danny has already begun calculating Boston’s place in the Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo sweepstakes, should either ever arise. They seemingly balked at including Jaylen Brown in any potential Kawhi Leonard discussions. It doesn’t mean he’ll be around forever.
In the meantime, Celtics fans should buckle up and enjoy the ride, because this team is going to be good.