NBA

Isaiah Thomas.

Danny Ainge nearly traded Isaiah Thomas for lottery pick last season

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Isaiah Thomas has been one of the breakout players of the season, and the Boston Celtics wouldn't have managed to achieve the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference without him.

However, Thomas was ruled out of the rest of the postseason with a hip injury earlier this week, putting the Celtics' quest to winning the NBA championship in serious doubt. After 15 games in the playoffs, he averaged 23.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. That kind of productivity is going to be hard for the Celtics to replace in such a needed time for the team as well.

At one point before the start of last season though, Boston's star player almost was no longer part of the team.

According to Bleacher Report, via the most recent episode of Bob Ryan's Boston Podcast, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was so aggressive in trying to acquire an additional lottery selection that he was making Thomas available for teams to trade for.

MacMullan said: "[Ainge] was on the phone with everybody from coast to coast, and he was offering everybody. That includes Marcus Smart and [Thomas], and anything else they needed to get where he wanted to go. There were no untouchables on that team last year."

If Thomas was traded for a lottery pick, you could almost guarantee that the Celtics wouldn't have finished in the top seed in the Eastern Conference this season. So many times this past year he has been the reason why they have won games.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Two

In fact, he was the main reason why they're in the Conference Finals in the first place after his on average 28.9 points per game this season after 76 games played.

Although, Ainge does deserve some credit for the team's success with Thomas this season, despite his ambitions this time last year to move him on. He was the one that instigated a trade with the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Marcus Thornton and a top-10 protected first-round pick.

Boston is now going to have to try to come back from 2-0 down in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Cavaliers without Thomas now if they still have ambitions of winning the NBA championship.

But if they had traded Thomas this time last year, they might not have been in the playoffs in the first place.

Topics:
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Isaiah Thomas

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