Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge already brought Banner 17 to the Garden with the first Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
This summer, he constructed another Big Three: Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. However, the Irving acquisition was not without a major blow to Celtic assets. Boston gave up Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round draft pick, the Miami Heat’s 2020 second round draft pick and most importantly Celtic point guard Isaiah Thomas—commonly known as IT.
The question remains: Is this new Big Three worth the loss of IT? Celtics fans—in Walpole and across the state—hope Ainge’s big moves will bring home Banner 18.
William O’Malley, chemistry teacher at WHS and Celtics fan, believes that Irving has the capability to take the Celtics to the next level—one that Thomas could not quite reach.
“IT would have gotten us to or possibly through the Conf. Finals every year. Irving gets us to the League Finals and gives us a much better chance to win,” said O’Malley.
Trey Wilkes, senior Captain of Walpole High School’s varsity basketball team, holds Irving’s offensive talents as some of the best in the NBA.
“Having Kyrie Irving gives the [Celtics’] offense a huge boost, as he’s one of the best offensive players in the game right now” said Wilkes. “Just being 25 [years old] he hasn’t even really hit his prime yet which is promising for the future of the franchise.”
On top of his experience—particularly in high-pressure, post-season games—Kyrie is one of the best scoring guards in the entire league. In the 2016-2017 season Irving averaged 25.2 points per game—especially impressive considering he had to split his field goal attempts with James—placing him at 11th in the NBA. Additionally Irving’s unique ball handling and ability to craftily finish around the rim makes him one of the flashiest players in the league. Although being able to perform fancy moves does not necessarily make a player better, it certainly sells tickets to games.
Not many Celtics fans are angry to have picked up Irving on the team, but there are some who believe Ainge gave up too much for him.
“It’s a heavy price to pay, no doubt,” said Matthew Geagan, writer for CBS Boston. “There is no doubt Trader Danny took a gamble on this move.”
Many fans were extremely displeased with the loss of the first draft pick, since it is predicted to be a top three pick this year, and they were even more aggravated when they discovered that the Celtics would be losing a second draft pick.
“They really only have the cap space for one more large contract anyways,” said O’Malley. “If they use this on Irving, which over the next two years I believe is the plan, they would not have been able to fit a high first round draft pick with Brooklyn’s pick this year.”
Whether the Celtics gave up too much for Irving is up for debate, but from the moment Ainge made the trade official it became history. He cannot go back and negotiate anything different, so the only thing left for those who bleed green is to hope this new Big Three can return Boston to the NBA Finals.