A long, challenging offseason awaits Danny Ainge this summer. Before he dives in head first, he joined Salk and Holley on WEEI-FM 93.7 to discuss the multitude of decisions facing him this offseason, as well as the progress of Rajon Rondo in his rehab from ACL surgery. A few of the notable highlights from the interview.
Ainge on Kevin Garnett’s future: “With KG, I do the same thing as I do with Doc, give him some time away. I’ll touch base with KG sometime next week. He puts so much into the game. He invests as much as any player I’ve ever seen. He just needs time to chill and contemplate his life, and we’ll talk at some future time. I do anticipate that KG will play, just like I did last year. I don’t know for sure, but hopefully we’ll know more in the next couple weeks.”
Ainge on Doc Rivers future: “Doc is always unsure. Coaching is very, very draining. Doc’s had to go home and recharge and ask himself that question. I understand that, so we give him time to unwind and relax and after a couple 92’s on the golf course, he usually comes back. I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics next season.”
Ainge on his relationship with Doc, amid reports from Stephen A. Smith that’s it’s ‘rocky’: “You’d have to ask Doc what he thinks, but what I think is I have the best coach in the NBA. I’m not the least bit tired of hearing his voice. We have a great relationship from what I feel and what I perceive. I have no idea where that’s coming from, but it’s not coming from my side of the table.”
Danny talking candidly on the future of Paul Pierce, as well as the progress of Rajon Rondo in his rehab and timetable for next season, after the jump.
Ainge on making a decision on Paul Pierce’s future: “The first decision we will have to make is Paul. A conversation with my coach, a conversation with Paul and his representatives, opportunities that may present themselves, there’s a lot that will go into it that hasn’t even started yet. We have until June 30th to make a decision. Paul has been one of the greatest Celtics of all-time and that will play a part in it. We love what he’s done for us, but ultimately we have to do what we think is the best for us from this point forward. I think Paul still has a lot of basketball left in him.”
Ainge on Rondo’s progress from ACL surgery: “Yes [he’s expected to be ready for the regular season]. So far he looks good. Him and Leandro Barbosa have been rehabbing. They both look good from their ACL injuries. This season, you saw Iman Shumpert got back and looked better than ever after his ACL injury. Ricky Rubio took a little while to get going, but eventually he looked really good again. Everyone of these surgeries are unique and individual, and I don’t know all the details about why Rose has taken longer. I have learned over the years, each one of these are different and unique. Not all ACL tears are the same. Our medical staff has said Rondo is doing great and he should be ready by training camp.”
Ainge on Rondo as a player: “Well Rajon is a terrific player. We know he can step it up and have great games and lead a team for an entire half and sometimes for an entire game. He’s had that ability and has done that in the past. Players like that are not easy to replace and are hard to find.”
Ainge on the team being a championship contender next season: “I certainly don’t think we’re one player away. We’re more than that, unless that was a really special player. I think we’re more than that away. It would be tough to become a championship level team where we are with the salary cap and our structure. We invested a lot in this year, in hopes we can maximize Paul and KG’s career and it just didn’t work out. The injury to Rondo and Sully and Barbosa really hurt us.”
That’s a lot to take in for right now. We’ll have plenty of thoughts on these takes in the coming days, and what they might mean for Boston’s future, but for now, Ainge clearly has a lot of things to balance on his plate.