As the first big decision of the Celtics offseason came in though, a brighter light begins to shine down now on Danny Ainge and the rest of the decisions he has to make this offseason, as well as the chain effects they may cause. Yesterday, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald caught up with Ainge in Chicago at the NBA Draft Combine, who gave him some candid thoughts on the future of both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Ainge comparing this summer to last summer: “Last summer we had a lot of different scenarios that we could have gone into,” Ainge said yesterday as he watched the NBA pre-draft combine. “Once KG came back, there was only one scenario. It took all the A-through-Z scenarios and took it down to one quick decision.
“I don’t think this year is quite that simple, because I think that we have to do more regardless. With Paul or KG or without them based on their decisions, we have to do more. So I just don’t think it’s going to be as simple as bringing our team back.”
Ainge on KG’s impending decision to come back or retire: “We’re moving forward no matter what. Right now we’re preparing for the draft, and then we’ll prepare for free agency. But somewhere along the time, I will have a conversation with Kevin. I don’t know when that will happen. But I want Kevin to take some time and think about it. I’m not making any decisions over the next week, so at some point we’ll have that conversation.”
On making a decision on what to do with Pierce/KG: “I think that I have to base my decision on basketball things only,” Ainge said. “Listen, I love those guys and I owe a lot to them. They know that, and we know that. And I think there’s a chance that they come back together, but I have to base our decisions on basketball and what’s best for us and the continuity of our franchise.”
Lots of great stuff from Bulpett (I encourage you to read the full piece) that gives you perspective on how Ainge is approaching this offseason. A couple other items of note from Bulpett’s piece.
-Assistant GM and lead counsel Mike Zarren TURNED DOWN that the Sixers GM job. It was the second straight year Philadelphia had gone after him. Guy is a Celtics lifer….or maybe he just wisely didn’t want to deal with Andrew Bynum. Either way, Celtics are far better off having him.
-Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe reports that Paul Pierce’s family is preparing for possible relocation. That’s less news, and more of just a reality of the situation. Does it mean Pierce is getting traded? No. It’s just an acknowledgement the possibility definitely exists.