City Sports Report

Danny Ainge And Boston Are Up To Their Old Tricks

Danny Ainge is playing checkers while other GMs are playing chess (picture courtesy of www.espn.com)

The Boston Celtics traded away point guard Rajon Rondo earlier this season. They received point guard Jameer Nelson, big man Brandan Wright and wing man Jae Crowder. Boston also received a conditional 1st round pick in the 2015 draft along with a $12.9 million trade exception and a 2016 2nd round pick. But Ainge and the Celtics were not done just yet. The Celtics, New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies were involved in a three-team trade that helped Memphis land Celtics forward Jeff and helped Boston obtain another first round pick along with Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince and New Orleans Pelicans guard Austin Rivers. Boston also traded Wright, who they acquired in the Rajon Rondo trade, to Phoenix for a future 1st round pick as well.  The Celtics then traded veteran point guard Jameer Nelson for point guard Nate Robinson, who has been bought out of the last year of his deal. And finally, Boston is trading recently acquired Austin Rivers in a three-team trade to the Los Angeles Clippers for Chris Douglas-Roberts from the Clippers, Shavlik Randolph from the Phoenix Suns a second round draft pick and a $2.4 million trade exception (Douglas-Roberts and Randolph have been waived). With all these trades completed, the Celtics will have stockpiled 11 1st round picks over four years along with valuable cap space. Many will come at them and say they are tanking. But what Danny Ainge is doing is perfecting what he has done before with a better template. And with the execution this time around, it could be said that he is way smarter than many give him credit for.

Back in the 2006-2007 season, the Celtics were floundering. They had tons of talent, but none of it was proven and the Celtics were not sure what they had. On that team were big men Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, a young Gerald Green, Delonte West, Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo. The team also had a few picks they had acquired over time as well. That team was not doing that well, as they were near the bottom of the Eastern Conference while it seemed like Paul Pierce was going to spend the rest of his career struggling. That season was also tenuous for Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who many believed was in over his head and the main person responsible for the calamity in Boston. Despite an incredibly bad season, Ainge stood up for his coach and decided to make some changes before the 2007-2008 season. With the picks and the talent that Ainge had acquired over the years, he made some moves that no one even expected to happen. The first move Ainge made was the trade to acquire Ray Allen. On June 29th, 2007, the Celtics sent the 5th overall pick of the 2007 Draft (former Georgetown forward Jeff Green), Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to the Seattle Supersonics(now the Oklahoma City Thunder) for Ray Allen and the 35th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, which so happened to be former LSU big man Glen Davis. This trade gave the Celtics one of the greatest shooters of all-time that still had the ability to take it to the rack and a big man that brought great energy and could consistently knock down the mid-range jumper. But the Celtics were not done wheeling and dealing just yet. Later that summer, the Celtics pulled the trigger on another huge deal. Boston sent the Minnesota Timberwolves big men Theo Ratliff and Al Jefferson, forward Ryan Gomes, guards Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair, along with two 1st round draft picks and cash considerations for the services of Kevin Garnett. With his addition, Garnett added an attitude of aggressiveness and fight along with defense and scoring. Altogether, the Celtics sent three first round picks and seven players in total to Seattle and Minnesota to acquire the two eventually Hall Of Famers. This trade also allowed for Rondo to grow as a young player and Perkins to become the enforcer the Celtics needed. This Celtics would go from cellar dwellers in 2006-2007 to the best team in the NBA as they won the 2008 NBA title over the Los Angeles Lakers. The pain of watching a bad product hurt, but Ainge had a plan and a star to help facilitate it.

Fast forward to now and Ainge is starting down that same path as in 2007. He has a ton of young talent in forwards Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, point guard Marcus Smart and wing player James Young. All four of these guys are still trying to figure out what their role is on this team. Couple this bit of young talent with an average Evan Turner and you don’t have that bad a core of players. And with the draft picks they currently have and the cap space they have been creating, Ainge is setting the team up for another run. But what’s so different about this setup compared to the last one is Ainge has found a way to make this team a competitive Eastern conference team while making this transition. Currently, the Celtics are right in the thick of things, only three games out of the 8th spot in the playoffs. All the while, Ainge is potentially putting together packages for what could be another run at bringing stars to Boston. Unlike last time, he does not have a star player established to help make it all work. That will be the test going forward for Ainge: discovering a new star. Once he is able to identify who that is, then Ainge will be ready to pounce on the right players. Knowing he has the ammunition of picks and talented players to shop and help facilitate deals will help him. The Celtics may be down, but as long as Ainge is around, there will always be a plan.

Ainge, although some beleaguer him, is one step ahead of the game. Philly and the New York Knicks are trying to tank, but in doing so, they are not finding out much about their team and the players they drafted. As far as the Celtics and Ainge, he and the Boston brass are thinking a couple steps ahead. They are not just playing players but creating commodities. All a part of a plan for Mr. Ainge.

For more sports information, feel free to check me out on @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. Jason

    January 21, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    He’s making great moves for thst franchise. ….the 76ers and Knicks could learn a thing or two from him. The future could be bright in Boston.

    • Mike Patton

      January 21, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Indeed he is Jason and he definitely has a lot of assets to make some things happen.

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