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Post-Game Ainge Quotes From Woj, Jackie Mac

 

Here are two pieces that touch on Danny Ainge’s thinking on the post-Rondo Celtics.

ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan had these nuggets:

At 4:45 p.m., as the Garden emptied out and Rondo retreated home with his family, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked to make sense of an afternoon with so much promise that went so horribly awry.

He expressed confidence in his personnel, said he would evaluate what moves need to be made in the coming days, then conceded the team “will be different.”

“We’ve had success playing for short periods of time without Rajon,” Ainge said, “but we’ve never had to play without him for long periods of time.

“It will be an interesting test for us. Not a test we wanted. And, frankly, I’m worried about that test.”

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

In a quiet corner of the TD Garden on Sunday, Ainge understood it was impossible – never mind futile – to make a sweeping declaration about his intentions.

“In our situation, you can’t just philosophically say, ‘We’re going to do this,’ ” Ainge told Yahoo! Sports. “You have to tell me what it is. You have to tell me what opportunities we have.” 

“Here’s the thing: If I wanted to say, ‘Hey, let’s play for the future,’ that’s hard to do. And if I play only for the ‘here and now,’ that’s hard to do.”

Those kinds of trades are hard to do, Ainge meant.

“I’m going to look and see what opportunities are there, like any other year,” Ainge said. “Last year, I was close to making a change that I felt would give us a better chance in the here and now, and in the future. And those are hard to do.”

  • nfrench88

    You never trade Pierce. It's a cardinal rule. If anything, Pierce has earned the right to request a trade, IF this team decides to move in a direction that would not include his services. He has done far too much for this team over his career to be shipped off. This post might be sentimental, but I hope above all hope that Danny is human like myself and can at least acknowledge the emotional side of this. NEVER TRADE PIERCE. EVER.

    • sense

      then don't complain when they suck for years to come

  • Vince

    If Ainge can make the 2013-14 Celtics better by trading Pierce, trade Pierce. A GM and/or coach never got fired for being unsentimental. They get fired for having crappy players and losing too many games. And fans don't want to watch an old sentimental team, they want to watch a championship team. Keeping old expensive players rarely works well, and getting the 8th seed in the playoffs isn't a wonderful prize we should mortgage the future for.

    • nfrench88

      All I'm saying is that Pierce deserves some respect when it comes to potentially trading him. He wont be expensive next year if a team elects to pay him, say, the minimum of $4 million that is guaranteed. In my mind, if he's willing to take a pay cut to stay, then keep him. Don't just outright trade him. It's not like we're gonna receive monumental pieces in exchange for him.

      • Vincent

        In that case I agree with you.

  • Mark

    The problem with Ainge is he’s never had the guts to end this. Sure he’s made side trades here and there but never the big one. Lets be honest, trading marginal players for KG and Ray in ’07 don’t count because a GM does that 10 out of 10 times. He’s never been bold.

    Oh yeah, had Ainge addressed the backup PG position over the last SIX YEARS things might not be as dire as they are.

    • Phil725

      The fatal mistake Ainge made wasn't not ending it early; they got to game 7 of the conference finals last year. The mistake he made was going all in on the run to end last year, completely abandoning the 'no long term contracts' rule that he had previously been abiding by. Now we have a bunch of highly paid role players on the roster with no role to play. It's a mistake that will probably cost Ainge his job.

      Backup PG is such a random thing to complain about though. You know the offense improves when Rondo sits, right? That's been the least of their problems. What difference would someone like Ramon Sessions or Aaron Brooks make on this team?

      • Vincent

        Was the mistake last year? Or signing Green, Terry, Bass, and Lee to long term contracts in the offseason?

        • Phil725

          The mistake was signing those contracts. My original point was that he looked at the run to end last year and expected that success to continue this year. That was a small sample size though, and with Bradley being hurt/missing his shot, Bass stinking and Pierce/KG a step slower. that season-saving lineup from last year never rematerialized. It's easy to forget that the team stunk last year before that late season run with Bradley.

          Ainge's hands were a little tied I guess; what would everyone have said if he didn't make any moves this year and he decided to pseudo blow it up after the team went to the ECF? That would've been the right move (hindsight being 20/20,) but he also probably would've been fired over it if it didn't immediately lead to success. That said, he didn't even attempt to play it both ways like he had been during the 10/11 offseasons (improve the team while keeping long term flexibility.) He went all in on trying to win this year, and he pretty much sabotaged the quick rebuild option in the process.

          • KillerGymRat

            I'm not sure you can fault Ainge's approach. In the second half of the season,Doc found a line-up that proved to be one of the best in the league (they had the 3rd best record from the all-star break I believe). Then in the post season, that same team gets to within one game of another finals appearance and came the closest to knocking off the eventual NBA champion despite injuries to a starter (AB) and key role players (Green, Wilcox and J Oneal).

            You could make a strong argument last years squad was the second best team in the league based on post-season performance which is all that really counts.

            It wasn't unrealistic to assume that with AB, Green and Wilcox healthy, by adding some key role players this team this year could be even better. You also had to look at who was available. Howard and Williams were not going to come to Boston, so what other big free agents were available?

            I do fault him for not dealing with the rebounding problem first and missing out on guys like OJ Mayo, and not handling the Ray Allen situation better. And it was a big mistake to pay Green so much on a guaranteed contract.

            But ask the Lakers, chemistry is everything, and you can't just grab a bunch of star players or make drastic roster changes and expect it to work out. Refining what is already working is always the best approach.

            Today's win proved him right. We beat arguably the best team in the league and without one of our best players. It was all because of the effort. If that same effort was there every game we would have likely won 4 of the last 6 games and possibly all 6. Even if we just split those games we'd be 24 – 20 and knocking on the door of a 6th seed.

            It's really a lack of effort and motivation with this team and that's not something you can ever predict. Again, just ask the Lakers.

            AND I say all this not being a fan at all of his work. I'm still fuming he traded Perk and then blew it on signing David West.

          • Phil725

            When I talk about where Ainge messed up, I'm talking about judging objectively using what we know now. My personal stance on the offseason (before the year started,) was that there were two mistakes; I thought that they should've overpaid Green to make him take one or two years (who was beating 20m/2 years? He was coming off 9m/1year that was nullified by a life threatening injury.) The other problem I had was that I thought they wasted a 1st round pick on Melo, but that's still up in the air I guess. The point is that aside from that, I thought it was perfect.

            If everyone was playing to their projections (instead of no one except Sully and KG reaching theirs,) we wouldn't be talking about rebounding or effort or anything like that. We would have the great lineup from last year's run flanked by a new bench.

            Making the right move based off the projections at the time isn't always right though. Plenty of people have lost their jobs for making the right move and not having it work out, and that seems like what we're looking at now. It's hard to see how this team makes another run with KG and Pierce as members of the core given the recent evidence we have, and there's a painful rebuild as the contracts of guys like Bass and Green will be haunting the team for years.

          • KillerGymRat

            Ah, gotcha. I totally see your point. The way I see it the X-factor here really is the fans.

            I would hate to be the guy who traded away either Pierce or KG, and somebody is definitely burning down your house if you trade away both.

            Who is paying to see Rudy Gay or (insert traded player here) with none of the current Big 3.

            I love the Celtics and still (occasionally) watched them during the 22 years they went without a title, but to be honest, if KG and Pierce go and Rondo is out…I'm not watching.

            It sucks to watch your stars fade. But sometimes you have to honor your fans and stick with the players that made them fans. My 2¢ anyway.

          • Phil725

            Sort of an aside (not really sure if you're arguing this or not,) I think fans in general are willing to accept being bad for a few years if there's a clear idea for the future. The go to example I always use is Detroit 4 years ago when they had a ton of cap space and no one worth using it on. They ended up signing Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon for like 20m a year total for 5 years, and the team is still paying for it now (they just sent out a 1st round pick to get out of the last year of the Ben Gordon deal.) The fans at the time hated it because they knew what was coming; the whole idea that you need to make a splash to satisfy the fan base is an antiquated concept. Tell your fans you're bottoming out, and they'll understand. The stance on having to win every year has softened, there's more understanding now.

            It's not possible to pull off a Patriots like run in the NBA (well, very difficult at least; the Spurs are ridiculous.) You need to play your cards right between runs so that it doesn't take 22 years for the next one, and sometimes that involves sucking for a few.

            For the Celtics specifically, I think the best case scenario would've been set things up to end after 13-14. Sign Green for 2 years, modify the Bass and Terry deals so they don't affect the 2014 offseason, etc. Then you play out this year and next, then send Pierce and KG off honorably and start rebuilding a brand new team around Rondo and the still cheap deals of Bradley and Sully and hopefully another good draft pick or two. It's all so easy when you know what happens though.

          • Los

            agree with you 100 percent on that one. The gm's job is to build a contender whether it be in the present or future, not to satisfy the fans

          • KillerGymRat

            The entire league is built to satisfy the fans. No fans. No league.

          • hydrofluoric

            Let's be honest, it's not possible to pull off a Patriots-like run in the NFL either. In fact it's even harder. The NBA lends itself better to dynasties (Kobe Lakers, Duncan's Spurs, Dirk's Mavs, etc) than the NFL.

          • KillerGymRat

            We're absolutely in agreement here. I'm not suggesting Ainge stick with Pierce and KG at the expense of trying to win games or making the franchise better. I'm saying that trading away aging stars (especially when one is the friggin team captain) is a toxic practice. It's a short fix that alienates fans. There is nobody you can trade either of them for that will make this team an instant contender. So what do you really gain? You win a few more regular season games (maybe) and wind up losing in the second round (at best) and are left with a useless draft pick.

            Unless KG or PP actually want to be traded so they can possibly get another title elsewhere (which I would fully support – they've earned it) then you don't trade them. You let them retire in Green. I mean, seriously, the team just gave Ray Allen a friggin thank you ceremony when he just jumped ship to the enemy for less money. Boston fans are loyal. This isn't LA where you either win or they cry for blood and want the team to buy the next big superstar or coach. LA won't be giving a ceremony to Andrew Bynum, trust me.

            I fully agree Ainge definitely should have contracted for just a 2 year run. It's obvious the future of this team is Rondo and likely Bradley and now Sully. With PP down to only a $4 million guarantee next season and the possibility that KG retires the end of this season, I would have even liked to see Ainge position us to make a big free agent push this summer. Especially with Josh Smith, Howard (hate him but have to include him) and the other possible stars opting out.

            But my feeling is you don't need to trade PP and KG to do it.

            Does anyone think adding a Rudy Gay makes us a contender?

          • Anthony

            Agreed KGR. It's easy to criticize DA for making or not making moves. It's tough enough just making those decisions in a fantasy league, let alone with with real multi-million contracts.

            I've defended the JGreen trade, the contract not so much. But all things considered, is there any other player on the roster, besides Rondo, that fans would like to watch? He's shown flashes of a poor man's James Worthy and has had quite a few highlights this year. And has played very good D on Melo, Lebron, etc.

            Even without Rondo, I feel the Celts is still a playoff team. Not sure why everyone on ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV thinks they are a lottery team without Rondo. Only problem is they may have a hard time get past the first round if they can't move up to the 6th seed or higher.

            Lastly, Hopefully Rondo can rehab and be back for the start of next season.

            I'm not giving up on the season. Go Celts!

      • KillerGymRat

        Curious, as you seem to be on top of things with numbers.

        What are the facts to support the team being better offensively when Rondo sits?

        • Phil725

          Here's a quick look at the numbers with him on and off the court: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/r/ron

          Obviously that doesn't tell the whole story (and it's also not meant to damn Rondo,) but it speaks to how what the team is doing with him in the starting lineup this year isn't working. It's kind of remarkable just how poorly the different starting lineups they've thrown out this year have done on offense. The bench lineups are hardly lighting the world on fire (their numbers are better by comparison, but still below league average,) but they get just as good of shots (eFG is the same,) in their own way.

          • KillerGymRat

            Thanks, Phil725!

            I have to scratch my head at those numbers. According to them the team is just as good overall defensively with Rondo in as they are when he goes out. That can't be true? Can it?

            It's also curious that the team shoots a higher percentage and gets way more assists and steals, but with a big dip in offensive rebounding while he's on the floor. It reads like the things that have his rating down aren't things he's responsible for…like rebounding…especially since he's the #1 rebounding PG in the league.

          • Phil725

            I called that a quick run down of the numbers because it lacks context. The offensive rebounding numbers are almost entirely a result of Rondo not sharing the court with Sullinger very often. If you click on the 'BOS' link in that chart it'll give you everyone's numbers on the roster. That helps to see where players stand out, but you have to have some lineup knowledge regarding who plays with who most often. It can be really hard to isolate noise like that (which is why no one stat is perfect,) but it's still a good place to start.

            On offense, I think everything besides that Sully caveat checks out; the team assists on more baskets when Rondo is on the court, but not all assists are created equal. A contested Bass 16 footer isn't a great shot regardless of whether or not it's assisted. It's probably equal to a Courtney Lee (unassisted) pull up off the dribble. Rondo has a high steal rate, and the team turns it over less with him on the court, so those show up.

            I think the defense numbers make sense, but I also don't trust them as much because defense is much more predicated on who you share the court with. Offensive numbers show up individually, but defense is truly a team game. On this team, defensive /- is basically related to how much time you spend with KG. That's why Bass' bad numbers are even worse than they already look.

  • Fast Eddie

    Who is the likely choice to start in place of Rondo?

    • Sir William

      C. Lee should get his chance!

      • krod

        I like Lee. He has the most upside of all the guards!

        • miguel

          !!!

    • Sl2343

      I don't think it was coincidental that Doc started Lee in place of Rondo tonight. He new before the game that Rondo would be out for the rest of the season. I think we will see more of the Lee/Bradley back court.

  • Pale Rider

    What about Terry? He has more experience!

  • JR99

    Two words, Danny: Delonte West. No trade required. No risk. Excellent ball handler, good insurance. And there's still room for the one additional big we've been looking for.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Who thumbed this down? I really don't see ANY problems with bringing West in. I'm sure he'd love to be back in Boston. Its got to be better than playing in the D League, traveling on buses, and staying in crappy motel rooms.

  • X Factor

    Barbosa looks good. He is probably the next best ball handler besides Rondo!!!

  • Miggy_Miggz

    I have a feeling I will end up hating DA after this whole ordeal is done.

    I have a bad feeling about the chances of seeing the captain in a green jersey for much longer. I pray I'm wrong… I pray

    • KBA

      I think it's best to start Green and move PP to shooting guard. He can take advantage of favorable lineups this way which should help improve his efficiency, Pierce has also shown to be an effective point forward and AB and Green can do spot duty on ball handling as well. I think this lineup would work and you bring Barbosa, Lee and Bass off the bench, move JET to #11 on the team (I would move Bass also but we have no size).

  • Morpheus

    I have a feeling Pierce will be traded along with Ass.

  • I_Love_Green

    February 21st will probably be one of the most nerve wracking days of the season honestly. I'll be constantly refreshing twitter, and praying DA doesn't do anything stupid. Either way, I'm with this team through thick and thin and I love these guys.

    Go C's.

  • High Rollers

    Great read. From a Heat reporter at that.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-1301

    • JR99

      Thanks for the link HR…. good one.

  • Phil725

    Brian Windhorst is great. There are a couple of NBA writers I really like that ESPN is wasting by keeping them on the Heat beat. I don't hold any kind of irrational disdain for the team, I just don't care about them any more than Utah or Golden State. Do people who click on everything Heat related really care about quality writing and analysis?

    • Anthony

      High Rollers… nice post. Definitely made me feel more optimistic. With today's win, the Celts has beaten every team that's currently in the east playoff.

      Phil725… Lol for the "quality writing and analysis" question. Surprised Miami trolls haven't been on the CH lately.

  • bigticket

    honestly paul pierce would be great to come off the bench behind green at the sf spot. Pierce is an offensive threat still no matter what anyone says. he isnt the same young paul pierce but he still is the truth and can light it up. give green starter minutes and see how his potential is. he will either rise to the occasion or flop. ive seen enough good play from green lately to warrent the minutes and we needa see if hes worth the contract or if he should be traded off. but pierce coming off the bench would be great i have a feeling. but most importantly of all WE NEED A SKILLED BIG. boards and post threat is what we need. we are deep in guards but theres no point if we cant spread the floor with some post presence. i also wanna see what fab melo has to offer now. man is destroying the D league and that should lead to at least average play with the big boys witch is a hell of alot better than jason collins

  • Donnell Kent

    GM Danny, the ball is in your court.

  • The Cardinal

    Other than Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving, I would rather have Rondo any day of the week. That said, Bradley, Lee, Terry and Barbosa are as good as any four guard combo you'll find, and each one of them is a better combo guard than Delonte West or anyone else that's even slightly available. The C's will win with this group because of three things: enhanced ball movement, enhanced on the ball pressure, and the opportunity to show the world that while their individual talents may not equal Rondo, as a group they tend to go all out with their efforts.

    Somehow find a decent big who can play the pick and roll and block shots, and another defensive small forward who can hit a 3 pointer every now and then for depth, and we will continue to be a threat if we play to our potential. The thought of Pierce getting injured is scary because for the first time in years, we have no depth beyond Jeff Green after the release of Kris Joseph.

  • CG12

    As stated above by Phil, you can make the right move and still have it not work out. The C's biggest problem the last few years has been their weak bench play. Danny shored up the bench in a major way in the off-season, and fans were rightfully over the moon about it. Take the same starting lineup that tore it up last year and bolster it with the first impact bench we've seen in years, what's not to like about that? The issue is, of course, that things change and player chemistry is an incredibly tricky thing. With Bradley out the team never had the chance for people to slide into their planned roles. He came back and they were, and still are, sorting out how that will work. The plan also made sense for the future. KG and PP dial back their roles over the next couple of years, with other guys like Jeff Green, Bass, and Lee stepping up to frontline status. You then acquire another star to pair with Rondo and, BAM, you are still right there.

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