Let's wind the clocks back a few years. In 2019, the Boston Celtics had the most championships in NBA history, leading the Los Angeles Lakers 17-16. With Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in place, they looked poised to increase their lead. That was especially true when Anthony Davis hit the trade market. Celtics GM Danny Ainge had been hoarding assets hoping to trade for the Pelicans star for years, and his patience looked like it was about to pay off. A new Celtics dynasty seemed almost inevitable. And then, everything fell apart.
Davis insisted on a trade to the Lakers, who tied the Celtics with their 17th championship in 2020. Irving and Hayward both walked in free agency. Brown and Tatum remain, but real questions about their fit together as two scoring wings that don't emphasize playmaking are emerging. Through 39 games this season, the Celtics are only 18-21, and one of the legends who helped get them those 17 titles isn't all that confident in their ability to break the tie with the Lakers.
"They should be a lot better than they are," former Celtics point guard Bob Cousy told the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy.