It’s been an active couple weeks for Danny Ainge in the height of the C’s offseason and he joined WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan this morning to discuss the team’s most recent moves and upcoming prospects.
It was a twenty minute wide ranging interview that I encourage everyone to give a listen to. In the meantime, here are a few of the highlights from the exchange:
On TA looking for a bigger role:
Well, first of all, we didn’t let Tony Allen get away. Tony wanted to play, he saw his role here. I think Tony can answer that question more, but we were in the same ballpark, money wise, and we don’t like outbidding [other teams] to keep our own players, but I really believe Tony wanted an opportunity to play more minutes and play a more significant role in the NBA.
He’s been playing behind these guys for a while and he wants to show what he’s capable of doing. You got to remember Tony played five minutes in Game 7 and that was the best defensive performance of our entire season. We held one of the top offensive teams to 34 percent shooting. So Tony is wanting to expand his career and play a bigger role and show he can do more than just play defense.
On The Team Wanting Jermaine O’Neal:
What was funny is when this whole process started, everybody knew we needed a center, nobody more so than [Kendrick Perkins]. Perk came into my office and he gave me a couple of names and one of the names was Jermaine O’Neal. That was one of the first things I said to Perk was, “Boy, he had a decent year, but he sure struggled for possession in the playoffs.” And Perk said to me, “Don’t hold that against him. Every big man plays bad against me.”
Right on down the line, all the guys on the team agreed that he was the best big man available. He’s 31 years old, they played against him, they know Jermaine and I think it was pretty unanimous that he was the guy we would go after.
On Negotiations with Shaq:
We’ve had conversations and we’re having ongoing conversations with Shaquille. In order to get Shaquille, it would have to be a sign-and-trade situation, but that door hasn’t been completely slammed, although it’s very unlikely when we sign Jermaine. We have had conversations with the Cavs and with Shaquille’s representatives.
I don’t want to mislead you, but I don’t think Shaquille’s that much of a possibility. The door’s not shut, but I don’t think that’s much of a possibility right now, certainly not our top priority, but Rasheed has decided he is retiring. Yes, he’s going to retire.
On Ray Allen’s Injury During The Finals:
I saw a very good Ray Allen. Ray Allen got hurt, had a very severe thigh bruise that nobody really talked about in the NBA finals after he had a spectacular game early, in the third game. He had a severe thigh bruise; his legs looked about two inches bigger and all black and blue. Ray had a terrific year, he had his best year of his career shooting inside the arc and then he really stepped up and shot the ball outside the three-point line in the second half of the season, so I’m encouraged that Ray has a lot more left in the tank.
On Perk’s Prognosis and Recovery Timetable:
It’s projected that he’ll be back probably after the All-Star break, could be my guess, sometime in mid- to late February. We’ll be very careful with Perk and not be in a rush to get him back, but I guess there’s a chance to get him back probably a little earlier, that’s probably realistic.