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.
Enes Kanter (jokingly) trolls Kyrie Irving on why Kanter will wear No. 11 with Boston
It’s one of the oldest sales tactics in the books: “Limited time offer, if you don’t agree in the next five minutes this deal goes away.” Scarcity — real or made up — is an effective way to get some people to sign up.
After a strong playoff run in Portland where Kanter played through a separated shoulder and helped the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals, Portland fans and management hoped to see Kanter return. Instead, Kanter signed a two-year, $10 million contract in Boston. Portland traded for Hassan Whiteside instead to fill in minutes until Jusuf Nurkic‘s return.
Then, not long after Kanter signed with the Celtics, he sent this text to Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Kanter has a reputation for liking to tell stories, and Damian Lillard responded on his Twitter account that it was more like 45 minutes.
Sometimes there’s a chance you lose out on two ppl because you’re waiting on one. What I can confirm is that my boy was not given 6 mins lol… he was prob down to 6 mins from the original 45 https://t.co/vDn4cfxVHg
The most likely scenario: Portland had the Miami trade for Whiteside on hold, but it was part of the larger four-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, so the Trail Blazers couldn’t keep everyone waiting forever. So they gave Kanter a deadline.
This is a signing worth making. But with Kanter’s defensive issues, consider this another reason (behind Kyrie Irving leaving) the Celtics won’t contend for a title next year despite remaining quite good.