Danny Ainge reacts to Cavs player’s profane praise for Kyrie Irving trade
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on Thursday diplomatically played off an anonymous Cleveland Cavaliers player’s profane praise over last offseason’s Kyrie Irving blockbuster trade.
The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd revealed this week how when things were going south for Cleveland at some point during the regular season an unidentified Cavs player frustratingly bemoaned the Irving deal while referring to Ainge as an “(expletive) thief.”
Irving ended up with Boston after the Celtics sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick (which is slotted at No. 8 after the Draft Lottery earlier this week) back to Cleveland. Suffice to say, the deal has been widely hailed as an absolute fleecing of the Cavs by Ainge and Co.
The Celtics boss was asked during his weekly interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub about the trade and the anonymous Cavaliers player’s lament over it.
“First of all, time will tell,” Ainge said. “The pick that we gave them had the chance to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. It turned out to be No. 8, but who knows? They may get a really good player with the eighth pick in this year’s draft.”
Ainge added there were plenty of critics of the move at the time of the trade, too.
“At the time, we were criticized for giving up too much,” Ainge said. “And we gave up a lot. We liked Jae Crowder and we liked Isaiah Thomas and we liked that Brooklyn pick, so I thought it was a fair trade at the time.
“Both key players — Isaiah and Kyrie — aren’t playing in this series, which is interesting, but we liked the trade for us then, we like it now, and hopefully it works out good for both teams.”
Thomas and Crowder obviously did not fit with the Cavaliers and were sent packing. Cleveland in turn received Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood. Suffice to say, with the Celtics up 2-0 in the series — in Irving’s absence, not to mention Hayward’s — Ainge’s restraint in discussing the lopsided trade is admirable.