BOSTON — The Celtics were the favorite to win the 2019 Eastern Conference championship at dusk Sunday night.

Before the sun could set completely on the first day of July, the Celtics were, in pure Bostonian terms, the wicked favorite.

After taking LeBron James to seven games in the Eastern Conference final without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Cleveland colossus has been cleared from their path. At least in regards to the playoffs on this side of the Mississippi, LeBron is LeGone.

This time there was no hideously awkward television special to trumpet his departure for Miami. There was no well-planned and let’s-get-every-word-just-right as-told-to release on Sports Illustrated’s website for his return to Cleveland.

There was only a press release by his representative, Klutch Sports:

“LeBron James, four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, fourteen-time NBA All-Star, and two-time Olympic gold medalist has agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.”

It could have added, “Mr. James thus bequeaths the Eastern Conference and all its joys to the Celtics.”

Sure, some guys in Toronto may seek to argue, but with the Irving/Hayward return and what the club developed in their absence with its young players, for the Celtics to finish anywhere shy of the East crown would be to underachieve.

The prospect of his despised rival flexing on him isn’t what got LeBron to abdicate for the much tougher West, but the latest installment of this now quadrennial drama had its own set of plot twists.

James took to Instagram to try to smooth over what he was doing to Cleveland again – and maybe to quell the sales of lighter fluid. He posted a photo of the 2016 championship parade. So like, hey, I may be walking out again, but remember that party I gave you?

Really, though, the great fans of that great area are just collateral damage. James obviously felt like he had accomplished what he could there and that things wouldn’t be able to improve significantly any time soon.

And there were branding and lifestyle and maybe more acting opportunities to be had in L.A. The Lakers are certainly willing to do what it takes to make it work on the court, too. And LeBron, through his agents, is more than happy to help.

Shortly after the Lakers got LeBron, the news broke that they had agreed to a contract with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – who is represented by Klutch Sports.

So evidently LeBron isn’t just going after his fifth MVP award. He also wants to be Executive of the Year.

That desire worked out pretty well when he was the linchpin in getting Chris Bosh to team up with Dwyane Wade and himself in Miami for two titles.

But trying to please LeBron saddled Cleveland with people like Antawn Jamison, who’d been brought in to make him happy and prove the club was willing to go to great financial lengths to support him.

Owner Dan Gilbert signed off on more James-centric moves in his return, and now he’ll be paying $87,808,590 to Kevin Love, George Hill, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson in 2018-19.

So much was done to please King James and get him what he needed, what he desired. But Cleveland’s opportunity to win a title this past season was ruined by the fact he wasn’t as magnetic as needed.

The worst move the Cavaliers made was because Kyrie Irving didn’t want to play with LeBron James anymore.

Now Kyrie and his new team only have to play against LeBron twice in the regular season and not at all in the playoffs before a potential finals duel – a Celtics-Lakers one at that.

Certainly LeBron James departure from the East enhances the local chances to keep the date.