The Boston Celtics are down 3-1 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The odds are not in their favor to advance to the NBA Finals, which would mark the third time in four years that Boston has gotten all the way to the ECF but couldn't get over the hump and fight for the right to earn a ring.
Boston has not only lost three games to a very good Heat team, they've done so in exceptionally disappointing fashion. Each of the three losses could have been victories if not for terrible turnovers and the occasional inexplicable defensive lapse. It's frustrating for Boston fans, but at the end of the day, they still have one of the best young cores in the NBA with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as their cornerstones.
The Celtics would not have Brown or Tatum if it weren't for the infamous trade with the Brooklyn Nets in 2012, when Danny Ainge cleaned out then-Nets GM Billy King. In case you need a refresher, Boston sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to Brooklyn for four first-round picks and salary filler. It gave Boston two top-three selections and a third lottery pick they used to acquire Kyrie Irving.
The reason I bring all this up is that the Celtics' likely failure to advance to the NBA Finals was apparently enough to spark a discussion about whether or not that trade was actually a win for Boston, since the Nets are now championship contenders for 2021 after signing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant last offseason. Andrew Bogusch, Shaun Morash, and Damon Amendolara of CBS Sports touched upon the topic on today's edition of The DA Show.
Morash is convinced that the trade can only be seen as a disaster if the Nets hoist a championship trophy before Boston does.
This is a certifiably insane take. That trade is objectively successful by any measure. Boston sent two aging stars who had one year left in the tank and a role player. In exchange, they ended up with two players who will keep them in regular title contention for the next five years at least and probably longer. The goal is to win a title, and it would be quite a disappointment if this young core never reached that mountain top. But I don't think anybody in the Celtics building at any point ever would say that they wish they didn't pull off that trade, which feels like a qualifying factor to label a trade disastrous.
I don't think even the Nets would agree that trade was a disaster for Boston. I'm sure they would have liked to have had those picks and maybe landed players like Irving and Durant earlier. It wasn't some type of grand master plan where they completely bottom out with apparently no hope and then build a good culture to lure high-level free agents. They're probably thrilled everything worked out, but the path they walked was not an easy one and not one they ever want to tread again.
It's just dumb. I would perhaps entertain an argument that this year's ECF has been a disaster given the talent discrepancy. But the trade that got the Celtics to this point? Calling it anything other than a resounding success is absurd.