Trade now just history
NEW YORK — There’s finally a sunrise in progress over the top of the Barclays Center. The Nets will have complete control of their first-round draft pick in 2019, putting an end to five years of indentured servitude at the hands of the Celtics.
Cleveland, courtesy of last summer’s Kyrie Irving trade, now gets to root for Nets failure leading up to the 2018 draft. The Cavs can only hope to have the same level of good fortune as the Celtics from the partnership, with Irving, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown the most obvious fruits of the 2013 trade.
It’s understandable Brad Stevens looks back on the results of that franchisechanging trade as a long piece of history. It has helped define his tenure as Celtics coach.
“I don’t think I realized when I came here how big it was, because it literally was happening as I was talking to Danny (Ainge) about coming here,” Stevens said before the Celtics defeated Brooklyn, 109-102, last night. “And I was thinking probably more of it from a standpoint of coaching a team and knowing you’re losing (Paul) Pierce, (Kevin) Garnett and those guys. You know, I’ve heard Danny talk about it a lot.
“That Nets team, as constructed, we all thought would be really good. And they went on especially that year, went on a tear there for a while where they were really, really good. And it’s a hard deal to be able to project into the future. We’ve been fortunate with regard to being able to get some players here in the draft that we think will help us for a long time. But it’s hard to project. Hey, at the end of the day, the unpredictability is the tough part of those guys’ jobs.”
Facing up to pain
Irving returned to action with relative haste — one game and 47:10 of another isn’t a long time to sit out for someone suffering a facial fracture — and it turns out teammate Aron Baynes wasn’t the only person who made contact with the guard’s face last Friday night.
Irving felt the pain from another moment of inadvertent contact, while he was putting his daughter to bed the night of the injury.
“It’s just accepting that you have a broken face and then going about your business,” said Irving, who returned to the lineup wearing a protective mask. “Like, that’s about it. The mask is just a safety precaution. But I obviously don’t want to get hit in it again. My daughter hit me in my face the other day and, that right there, I almost teared up. I did my absolute best not to cry in front of her. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, baby.’
“She hit me right on that spot. Like, literally right after. I came home and I was trying to put her to bed, and she hit me right on that spot by mistake.”
But beyond swelling and pain from contact — something the mask will theoretically prevent — Irving said he was good to go last night.
“Just trying to get your peripheral vision just to stay the same, understanding you’ve got a piece of plastic on your face. That’s about it,” said Irving, who added he will wear the mask for about two weeks. “I hate wearing it, but somehow it’s caused a craze on Instagram as well as social media, it’s masked man. But I understand that it’s just for my safety, so throw on the mask for a few weeks and go about my business.”
The remarkable part, according to Irving, is he wasn’t concussed.
“At first, I was in a daze a little bit. It was such a surprising hit. It happened so unexpectedly. I haven’t been hit like that in a while to where my nose starts bleeding.”
Count him as a fan
Adam Duritz, the Counting Crows vocalist, recently gave the following shoutout on Twitter to Brown:
“The first time I hung out with Jaylen Brown @FCHWPO he was an 18 or 19yr old freshman. My first thought was he should forget wasting time in the NBA and just run for the Senate. But then I remembered Bill Bradley and thought... (shrug) why not just do it all?”
The Brown/Duritz friendship isn’t as out of the blue as it might initially seem. The 53-year-old Duritz was a regular at University of California basketball games.
“Met him, talked to him, just kicked it with him. He’s a great guy,” Brown said. “We just talked about stuff. If it’s anybody who’s good at what they do and super passionate about it, it’s just good to hear from them. And I feel like you can apply it to basketball.”
HOLD IT: Aron Baynes looks to pass as he’s defended by Brookyln’s Timofey Mozgov during last night’s game.