But dreams die fast. Davis got dealt to the Lakers. Irving left for the Nets. Al Horford even left for the 76ers.
Celtics president Danny Ainge:
When we got done with the draft and started our preparation for free agency, as we started planning for Plan A, our Plan A was Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.
This might be technically true, depending how you’re willing to interpret it. It’s not accurate.
The Celtics didn’t begin preparing for free agency after the draft. Those plans were being laid years in advance. They didn’t prioritize Walker and Kanter.
But if you grant that we’re talking about only Boston’s post-draft preparation, this could be true. It was already pretty apparent both Irving and Horford were exiting. Los Angeles had already traded for Davis.
Walker-to-Boston reports didn’t emerge until after the draft. He looked like the best free agent realistically available to the Celtics. Getting him would deplete their cap space. Kanter is a high-quality player for the room exception.
Even so, I’m not totally convinced Boston had given up hope immediately following the draft of the mercurial Irving re-signing. Welcoming him back to the locker room would have been complicated. But he’s more talented and younger than Walker.
So, maybe – maybe – Ainge is telling the truth on a technicality. But I’m not even sure of that, and he’s being inaccurate in a wider context, anyway.