For years, everyone wondered why Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was holding on to his bevy of draft picks instead of trading them in a package deal to acquire a superstar player.

Well, we may have our answer now.

In an interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Ainge admits that former Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James played a big factor in his decision to keep his coveted assets instead of trading them away. James went to eight straight NBA Finals from 2010-18, four with the Miami Heat and four with the Cavs.

“I’m not big on draft assets at the trade deadline,” Ainge said. “Most of the time those trades don’t work out. Occasionally they do. We were never faced with anything that was tempting enough to trade our assets that would get us over the hump or would guarantee us that we were going to beat LeBron or Golden State.”

For the past few seasons, the Celtics were linked to Jimmy Butler and Paul George. When the Chicago Bulls were trying to trade Butler in the summer of 2017, the Celtics were reluctant to give away any assets to acquire Butler. The same goes for George, who told the Indiana Pacers he wasn't going to re-sign with them and that the franchise should trade him so they don't lose him for nothing. Ainge didn't budge, and he looks like a genius now considering how good Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have played so far in their young careers.

Now that James is in the Western Conference, the Celtics are the favorite to win the East this season. Boston went to the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals last season and was a game away from reaching the Finals. They did all that without the services of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Now that both All-Stars are back and healthy for this season, expect the Celtics to be even more lethal.