NESN's Gio Rivera finds it hard to believe that Orlando Magic forward Moritz Wagner doesn't hold a grudge toward his ex-employer, the Boston Celtics, based on the way the 2018 first-round pick performs against the franchise that cut him less than a month after acquiring him in the first of three Daniel Theis trades (thus far) the Cs have been involved with.
"It’s hard to imagine that Moritz Wagner doesn’t have any reserved resentment for the Boston Celtics — really hard," Rivera wrote.
"Is it just a coincidence that Wagner records a season-high when facing his old team? Perhaps. Or maybe there’s more behind Wagner having just 12 20-plus-point career performances under his belt, including four against the Celtics."
Wagner certainly didn't add any fuel to that fire postgame, delivering a generic message about letting the game come to him.
“It’s a game, it’s not controllable -- sometimes it comes to you and then you just take advantage of it,” Wagner said after the Magic's 113-96 victory on November 24, according to NBC10 Boston's Dick Scanlon. “There’s something really enjoyable about that process. You can get lost in that and just play, and it’s going to come back around.”
Boston Celtics chose Luke Kornet over Moritz Wagner in 2021
Back in April 2021, the Celtics were in dire straits roster-wise; about to be without Jaylen Brown, who'd be weeks away from being ruled out for the season due to surgery on his wrist. Tristan Thompson was ineffective at the 5, and the two centers they got in the Theis trade didn't look like keepers.
As it turns out, Brad Stevens thought differently about Luke Kornet, who he'd go on to re-sign several times and is still on the team now.
Was it the right decision? Well, while Wagner has superior stats, Kornet has become a serviceable stand-in center when the starter is off the floor. Celtics fans likely wouldn't trade away the "Green Kornet" for a re-do on Wagner.
Well, most fans anyway. There's certainly some who would've rather seen what Wagner could accomplish after helping lead Michigan to the 2018 NCAA National Championship game.