On this date in 2007, the Boston Celtics made a move that would later secure them their league-best 17th championship in franchise history.
But before I get to that, you have to remember that Boston finished with the second-worst record in the league at 24-58 in 2006-07. They had a certified star in forward Paul Pierce who had proven himself to be one of the best players in the league. His frustrations were growing to the point where he demanded a trade if the Celtics couldn't surround him with players to build a contender.
With a young roster around him, the Celtics were far from a contender but they had a number of assets to give up. And thus began the "Trader Danny" title that general manager Danny Ainge still owns to this day.
The Celtics had the second-best odds to receive the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft and ended up with the No. 5 overall pick. It seemed the way of the world was working against a franchise that had otherwise been historically competitive aside from a few down seasons in the mid-to-late '90s.
On draft night in 2007, the Celtics selected Jeff Green with that No. 5 pick, immediately moving the Georgetown star forward to the Seattle Supersonics along with Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and a 2008 second-round pick in exchange for sharpshooting guard Ray Allen and Glen Davis.
Now with Allen - a player who was in his prime and widely renowned as the best shooter in the NBA - the Celtics were inching closer to the type of team Pierce demanded.
On July 31, 2007, Boston took a massive swing to complete their star player's demands - the Celtics traded Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and two 2009 first-round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves to land Kevin Garnett.
At the time, this seven-for-one deal was the biggest trade in NBA history. To this day, it is still the largest number of players traded for a single player.
Garnett was one of the most dominant players in the NBA - he was the 2003-04 MVP, a six-time All-Defense First Team selection, seven-time All-NBA selection and had played in nine of the past 10 All-Star games entering his first season with the Celtics. It gave the Celtics a third superstar in his prime and a team that was ready to compete with the best in the league.
The Big Three, the Boston Three Party ... whatever you wanted to call them, was born.
12 years ago today, the Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett ...- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 31, 2019
... and "The Boston Three Party" was born. pic.twitter.com/A12R0BDKzn
Garnett played out of his mind in 2007-08. Statistics-wise, the numbers weren't the most glamourous of his career - 18.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks over 71 regular season games - but he shot the highest field goal percentage of his career (53.9%) and put together one of the most impressive defensive seasons in recent memory.
Garnett received 90 first-place votes to earn Defensive Player of the Year, making him the first player in Celtics franchise history to claim the award. The next closest player was Marcus Camby with 12 first-place votes. Of 620 available "points," Garnett earned 492 points with Camby again trailing him with 178 points in second place.
KG also finished third in the MVP voting - behind Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul - on his way to All-NBA and All-Defense First Team honours.
The Celtics went 66-16 that regular season with all three of their superstars living up to their expectations. Starting point guard Rajon Rondo emerged as one of the brightest young talents in the league, centre Kendrick Perkins proved himself as a viable defensive anchor next to Garnett and a number of role players stepped up whenever their number was called.
This team was poised to win a championship.
Garnett turned things up a notch in the postseason averaging 20.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks, competing in all 26 of the Celtics' playoff games.
In the NBA Finals against a loaded Los Angeles Lakers team headlined by league MVP Bryant and Pau Gasol, KG averaged 18.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. In the Celtics' close-out Game 6 blowout, Garnett posted 26 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block to give Boston their first NBA title since 1986.
The Celtics' turnaround from second-to-last to NBA champions was historic, and Garnett gave us a message that will be engraved in NBA history forever.
While "super teams" had been around before with the likes of the old school Celtics and Lakers, the Chicago Bulls in the 90s or the 2000's San Antonio Spurs, the 2008 Celtics seemed to have revitalized the idea.
Soon thereafter, LeBron James took his talents to South Beach to link up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Then it was the Golden State Warriors with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, before adding a top-two player in the NBA in Kevin Durant.
It might be a stretch to say this Garnett deal (along with the Allen deal) single-handedly sparked what the NBA had turned into over the last decade, but there's no question that it helped inspire some of these teams that were assembled.
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