After years of wheeling-and-dealing and player development, the Boston Celtics have been making all of the right moves in building a team that's capable of sustained success.
Except they may have made one big mistake.
While it's understandable that the Celtics feel that Kyrie Irving is essential for a championship run this season, they may have screwed themselves over by not trading away the guard who appears to be poised to bolt at the end of the year and may be slowing them down this year.
While there no doubting Kyrie's talent, the Celtics have proved that as a team they are capable of winning without him. Last season the team made it all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals while he was injured and this season the team is 8-2 when he does not play, which includes last night's victory over the high-powered Philadelphia 76ers.
With those kinds of numbers without their star player, you'd think that Danny Ainge would have been aggressively shopping the six-time All-Star to add a different impact piece, but instead, the team will keep winning in spite of Irving and will end up getting nothing for him when he (likely) leaves this offseason.
The only saving grace of this whole fiasco will be if the Celtics are able to lure a different max-level free agent with the cap space that Irving's departure will leave behind.
At least they traded next to nothing to acquire him from the Cavaliers.