Throwback Thursday: One of the picks Boston traded to Minnesota for KG could have been used on Steph Curry
Steph Curry is in Boston tonight with the Warriors as the two teams face off at the TD Garden. Curry is fresh off becoming the All-Time 3 Point King, passing Ray Allen's record this week in New York.
Celtics legend Kevin McHale gets way too much flack for trading Kevin Garnett to Boston. Those who don't know the facts, label it a "gift." It was far from a gift though as McHale accepted the absolute best offer for KG. In addition to a very young Al Jefferson who as expected developed into an All-Star, the Wolves added recent 1st rounder Gerald Green and a solid young rotation piece in Ryan Gomes.
But as often is the case, those who review trades neglect to see the value in the first rounders traded. McHale and the Wolves acquired two first rounders in the deal, and one of them was their own very valuable 2009 1st rounder that had previously been traded to Boston for the Wolves in the Wally Szczerbiak for Ricky Davis and the brutal contract of Mark Blount trade.
Less than two years after the KG deal, the Wolves finally had a shot to use that valuable commodity when they were on the clock at the 2009 draft. They owned picks #5 and #6 and selected Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. They notably passed though on Stephen Curry who would then go #7 to the Golden State Warriors.
By this time Kevin McHale had lost his job as the team's general manager. David Kahn was the GM who made these picks. And who knows who McHale would have drafted with those two selections, but if one was Curry, he could have claimed to have acquired both Al Jefferson and Steph Curry for KG which would have rewritten history.
In the end, Ainge made a great trade adding the absolute perfect star and MVP candidate to pair with scorers Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, but McHale actually did well himself.
Note, that it wasn't like McHale wanted to trade Garnett, who he had drafted. KG wanted out, and ownership had asked McHale to find the best deal. And like I said, if McHale had been allowed to stick around for the rebuild, and based on the 2009 draft board, there's a good shot he would have indeed drafted Curry for the Wolves, history would be much kinder to him.
Next time someone claims that Ainge was gifted KG by a friend, reference this article to him. The Celtics weren't gifted anything. They made an elite offer. Ainge was able to squeeze out one title from this trade, but it really would have been more if not for KG blowing out his knee 1.5 years into his Celtics tenure.
KG would return for the 2009-10 season, but was much more limited on the court. He actually had a lot more in him the following two seasons. It's easy to imagine Boston with no KG injury not only repeating in 2009, but winning again in 2010. I mean they almost won anyway with less than a 100% KG working his way back. They were up 3-2 on the Lakers, but unfortunately, starting center, Kendrick Perkins, who was actually very good at that time, got injured in Game 6.
For Curry, it was probably best that he ended up in Golden State. Not because he wouldn't have become a great in Minnesota, but because I think Steve Kerr and the Warriors deserve credit for maximizing Steph's game by building an offense that best supported it.