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Danny Ainge Reflects On Big 3 Era

Danny Ainge wasn’t quite saying goodbye to it, not yet anyway. However Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald caught up with the C’s president of basketball operations over the weekend and got Ainge to reflect on a very interesting question: Did his team maximize its production during the Big 3 era? Here’s a sampling of what Ainge had to say in the terrific piece

“Hey, there’s always more that we all can do, so, no, I won’t say that things have gone perfect and that we’ve gotten all the people that we’ve wanted,” said Ainge. “But within the sort of structure that we have and the business model we have, I think we’ve done a good job in putting players around them.

“But, no, there’s things that I wish had gone differently. There are decisions that I would have done different if I had to do them over again. But I don’t think many of those decisions prevented us from winning. I don’t think that in 2010 there was anything that I would have done different that prevented us from winning.

“And this year things didn’t go real well physically, health-wise, for our team, and I think that if they had gone better we would have had a better chance.”

As for what moves he regrets, he said, “There’s a few guys, minimum contracts where you had some opportunities, and you picked some right ones and you picked some wrong ones that might have helped our team in a different fashion. But coaches don’t coach perfect and GMs don’t make every decision perfect and players don’t make every decision perfect. But I feel like organizationally we’ve done very well over the last five years.”

It’s not over for them, at least not yet. Ainge didn’t address the future specifically on his veterans in this piece. However, when you read the way he talks about it, it’s tough not to think it might be coming to an end sooner than later. Here’s what Ainge had to say on the future:

“My objective is never to stay the course,” said Ainge. “My objective is to get better each and every year, so every year is a new year and every year is a re-evaluation of what you have. The fact that they’re still here is a testament to them and how good of players they’ve been.”

  • LACelticFan

    Show Eric Gordon or OJ Mayo the money!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 7 year deals, yep!!!!!!!!

    • LACelticFan

      Give a reason for not wanting to upgrade with a younger SG. FAs are not flocking to Boston. We could strike out and not get either one. Depth is what we need. Unless you really love E'Tuan Moore. Yes I consider Bradley a PG(6-2).

  • noche

    I don't think we can call this the Big 3 Era anymore (was it ever, other than 2008, just the big 3? Doesn't that short sell Rondo?). Let's leave the Big 3 to the Bird era Celtics.

    From now on this should be referred to as the "What If" Era. We had 5 years where we could have won the championship barring injuries. Twenty years from now we'll be talking about the potential of what could have been with these Celtics.

    2008 – Won
    2009 – Garnett Injured
    2010 – Perk injured for Game 7 (where we lost the game on rebounding)
    2011 – Perk traded and Rondo playing depressed and with one arm in the playoffs.
    2012 – Everyone playing hobbled except for Rondo and without our best defender in Bradley and we STILL took the Heat to 7 games. Plus the Green and Wilcox heart issues.

    Regardless of who stays and goes this off season, we are turning the corner into the Rondo Era (Just like early 2000s and late 90s was the Walker/Pierce Era and then just the Pierce Era). For better or worse Rondo is our guy going forward. It's Rondo's team.

    For the first time since 2007 we have no idea what the future holds. The Celtics are no longer automatically a competitor for the title. We can't just throw money at B level stars like OJ Mayo and Eric Gordon this off season and expect results for the future. Do we weather the storm for the '12-'13 season? Be stuck with several years of being not good enough to compete but not bad enough to draft out of the lottery? I do not envy Danny Ainge's position. I wouldn't put it past him to blow things up and try to make a trade. I just don't think the pieces exist to make something happen.

    At the end of the day, Danny could have put the C's in a better position for the future by blowing it up at the deadline. But the 2012 Celtics post trade deadline may go down as one of my favorite C's teams of all time. And I'm happy with the run they put together. I'll live with the consequences of the next few years for the chance to watch the last few months of grit and balls. Grit and Balls. We won't ever see a team like the one we just witnessed will their way this far in the playoffs ever. How many times did you watch these playoff games and go from thinking "My lord this team is terrible" to "OMFG we can win the championship" in the same game? Grit and Balls my friend's. Grit and Balls…

    Also – shout out to Janos on his comments in the game thread after Saturday's game. That shit was pure poetry.

  • W2.

    No thanks to OJ Mayo. Eric Gordon is interesting. Can the Hornets match?

    I think something like this…..

    Rondo/Avery Bradley
    Danny Green/Dooling
    Pierce/Jeff Green/ Jeff Taylor/Quis

    Though I can't help but think that KG is gonna walk away. 82 games sounds like a lot.

    • AWebb

      He'll be fine if we can give him a supporting cast. The fact that three guys at 34+ made it as far as they did without a bench is remarkable.

    • Anthony

      Agree with not getting OJ Mayo. Gordon has to be right price. Still think he's too injury prone for a young guy. Also no thanks to Danny Green or Carl Landry. Landry is undersized PF who isn't a great rebounder. For the kind of salary he commands, why not just keep Bass who already has a year under his belt with the team?

      I like the Celts to try to get Lou Williams if possible. Instant office, great jumpshot, good size, decent ball-handler and reasonable salary. Would be a great offense-defense backcourt of Rondo, AB, and Lou.

      PG – Rondo ($11), Etwaun ($1)
      SG – AB ($2), Lou ($8), Rookie Two ($1)
      SF – Pierce ($16), JGreen ($9), MP ($2)
      PF – Bass ($5), JJJ ($2), SWilliams ($1)
      C – KG (??), Stiemsma ($1), Rookie One ($1)

      Total salary estimates is roughly $60 million with KG and 1 roster spot still to be signed. Salary cap will probably be in the mid-60s (it was ~$59 this year). Even if Celts sign KG for $10 mil, salary position wouldn't be too bad.

      • W2.

        Forgot about Lou. I like him better than Danny Green too but wonder about stretching the floor. Bass would do that which might give him the edge over Landry. But I like Landry better than Bassy cuz the dude is tuff as nails….and I feel like he is a better defender. Who takes more charges?

        TP for the Lou reminder. I wish we lived in a world where S Williams got it, and did so while playin ball for the Celts.

  • AWebb

    Bird needs to replace Ainge.

  • GreenM&M

    Let's get the band back together for one more run.

    It's really only the logical option. The FA market isn't all that great (OJ Mayo? Gordon?). And we don't have any assets to trade for top picks (except RR and PP – but they are untouchable as they shouldl be).

  • hdavenport

    "Yes, there were some decisions I'd do over again. NOT THAT ONE."

  • Anthony

    As long as Pierce, KG, and Rondo retire as Celtics, I'll be happy as a fan. Ray belongs there too but that's unlikely to play out the same way.

    Post-Bird/ McHale era wasn't too pleasant, Pitino era was dreadful, Pierce/ Twoine era was decent but the Big 3 era was an absolute joy to watch and be a part of.

  • Miggy_Miggz

    This era had a few too many "what ifs?" for my comfort. A bunch of key injuries and the Perk trade, which I hated DA for at the time, but looking back it wasn't that bad of a move since it would have been dumb giving Perk the kind of money he wanted. But we got at least one championship out of it so it's not a failure by any means. As long as Paul, KG, and Rondo retire Celtics I'll have no complaints at the end of the day regarding this era.

    The future looks very uncertain thanks to this years FA market and I don't know whether to be confident or depressed. However, we must build something promising in order to bring back KG for one more year, the impact he can have on next year's season and the Celtics of the future could be vital.

    • Rav

      We could have kept Perk till the end of the year, and then let him go. It would have meant we didn't get Jeff Green and the Clippers' draft pick (the one that's #23 this year), but because of his heart condition this year and sucking last year Green didn't actually give us anything. Then again, Perk was terrible for the Thunder that post-season. And it wouldn't have mattered had Shaq been healthy – that was the gamble there, and it failed.

  • James Patrick

    It's hard to picture KG and Ray in other uniforms next year, even though they didn't start off in Celtic green. We definitely should've won 2 more titles in the past 5 years but it is what it is.

    KG and Ray should retire as Celtics. It should be about titles at this stage in their careers, not $$$. But if they take off for bigger deals elsewhere, then best of luck. I don't know where they're at financially, but something tells me they're two of the more responsible players in the league and won't be filing for bankruptcy anytime soon.

  • skeeds

    In my opinion, (and I think in Ainge's too) the only way to go is keeping the foot on the gas. Right now, you have Rondo entering his prime, you have 2 more decent years of PP, and most important of all, you have Doc.
    So you retool carefully and aim for the C/Finals again next year. ESPECIALLY next year, with Rose out.

    The weird thing is that re-signing KG and Ray is a very good move. With Avery showing a lot of promise, you need a backup shooter SG, a true gunner. Well… Ray's perfect for the job, isn't he? Except if he doesn't want to stay in Boston.
    Also, let's be clear. Era over, new generation c's, call it what you like. If KG decides to hit the market, you go after him HARD if you're Ainge. Because if you forget about the storylines, and the labels, KG can give you 25 world class, mvp worthy minutes at either C or PF. He is still GOLD.

    • James Patrick

      Ray doesn't want to stay in Boston? Is that confirmed? I've heard Ray saying he'd love to retire a Celtic.

      • asds

        He doesn't want to come back as a sub

        • skeeds

          Naah, all of that is speculation. I've heard all kinds of crap, like that he and Rondo aren't getting along. I honestly don't think anyone has a clue. What'll matter for both those guys, will be being able to win. Loyalty is important, but Ainge needs to prove he has a winning plan.

  • Mike C

    Back when RA's name was being bandied about as a trade option, I remember hearing he wanted to stay in Boston because of the medical facilities here (important when you have a kid with diabetes). Wonder if that was actually true, then or now…

    • wildcat96

      Always been true

  • Leeboo1211

    There are rumors of the Spurs pursuing KG as a free agent, to pair him with Duncan.Two of the most efficient, fundamentally sound, and defensive oriented PFs of the era on the same team. Sounds scary. Age may still be a problem.

  • Anthony

    I think everyone agrees that they would love to have KG and Ray back. But realistically, at what costs? In my opinion, KG just mean so much on every level to this team, he can command $10mil+ from the team. Like Doc said, he's the life of this team. But where does that leave Ray. How many people here think he's worth say $8 mil per? or even $6 mil per?

    Just with 6 players (PP, Rondo, AB, JJJ, Etwaun, S Williams) and 2 rookie contracts, already $35 mil is accounted for. That just leave roughly $30 mil for the 7 remaining roster spots. Guess my point is that it'll really be tough to have both KG and Ray back unless they both take substantial paycuts. I just don't see that happening so I'm preparing myself to think only 1 of them will be back. As much as I love the current team, they have to correct some of the glaring deficiencies.

  • mugi


    damn those kg push ups lol. lotsa really good stuff to take away from this team.

  • AWebbs

    The Post Bird Era wasn't bad because of not trading away players, it was bad because core players like Lewis and Bias passed away…. R.I.P.