— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) July 5, 2017
What a time to be a Celtics fan. Not only is Gordon Hayward coming to Boston, but it feels like the landscape of the NBA is starting to change. And it’s changing for the better for Celtics fans.
With the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, the Western Conference is still loaded. Plus, I’m always afraid the Los Angeles Lakers could become serious contenders again overnight. But the Eastern Conference hasn’t been this wide open for a decade.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to look a lot like the Lakers at the end of the Shaq/Kobe years. Still a lot of talent there, but it doesn’t feel like everyone is buying in. It feels like there are some serious cracks in the foundation. I wouldn’t write off LeBron, but he might already be plotting out the next chapter of his career [like Shaq in Miami].
The Celtics were already the Cavaliers’ top challenge in the east going forward. Signing Hayward now makes the Celtics a legitimate threat to stop the Cavaliers from getting back to the Finals. And even if the Cavaliers can hold off the Celtics again next year, which team would you rather be for the next four years?
The Celtics will now be the prime landing spot for anyone who wants to come east and get to the Finals to challenge Golden State. It’s a good situation with a good coach and a young, talented roster. The Cavaliers still might be better on paper, for now, with Lebron, but the clock is a lot closer to midnight for the Cavs than it is for the C’s.
After the Lakers signed Shaq, they were relevant for almost 20 years. This could be a similar moment for the Celtics. This moment is bigger than the acquisitions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett ten years ago. Those moves instantly made the Celtics relevant, but every one knew their window was going to be short.
Even though he won’t be here for twenty years, this signing could be what sets off the chain of events that keep the Celtics relevant for the next two decades. Sign me up.
Danny Ainge gets his man… 🍀 pic.twitter.com/q4lldlgHDa
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 5, 2017