At the risk of sounding like a broken record, those two clubs (and PHI) expended valuable assets to compete this season. The Celtics did not.
- Traded for a mega star who may very well leave after this season.
- Traded a 26-year-old Valanciunas for a 34 year-old Gasol who will make $25m next year.
- Traded 22-year-old Thon Maker for Mirotic, who will be a FA this summer.
- Brogdon, Lopez, and Middleton are all FAs this summer.
- Traded away Fultz for basically nothing.
- Traded away a bunch of stuff, including Landry Shamet and two future 1sts, for Tobias Harris.
- Traded Covington and Saric for Butler.
Philly of course is on vacation, just like the Celtics. 538 says Milwaukee has a 22% of winning it all this year, and Toronto has a 13% chance. (GSW is at 64%.)
Should Ainge have gone all in for this year, with GSW (and Rockets and others) lurking in the West, and knowing that those other three teams in the East will have a tough time keeping their rosters together beyond this summer?
It stinks and all, but I understand Ainge and company's thought process as it related to this season.
Lastly: The real lesson from Milwaukee and Toronto this year? Have a top-five player.