The Boston Celtics got a huge monkey off their collective backs on Wednesday night as they ended their five game losing streak with a 96-73 win over the Toronto Raptors. That victory however, still leaves them with a 5-8 record for the season; far below the expectations most NBA observers had for the club before the campaign started. Needless to say, Celtics President for Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has been far less than pleased with the way his squad has come out of the gate, and he spoke about that topic before the Celtics and Raptors game Wednesday night.
The “Boston Globe” has reported that the man who traded for forward Kevin Garnett and guard Ray Allen to team up with Paul Pierce during the 2007-2008 campaign; would not hesitate breaking up the “New Big Three” if the right deal came along. He does not want to see the team get mired in the basement of the Association as it did after the “Original Big Three” retired.
Ainge said “I sat with Red (Auerbach) during a Christmas party (in the early nineties). Red was talking to Larry, Kevin, and myself, and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time, and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red, ‘What are you doing? Why are you waiting?’ He had a chance to trade Larry (to the Pacers) for Chuck Person and Herb Williams and (Steve) Stipanovich, and he had a chance to trade Kevin (To the Mavericks) for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was, like, ‘Are you kidding? I mean, I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kinds of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal, to continue the success.”
The former Celtics guard who contributed to two Celtics Championship teams; remembers all too well what happened to the franchise after Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish left the club. The Boston President told reporters “After those guys retired, the Celtics had a long drought. But those things aren’t presenting themselves. In today’s day and age, with 30 teams in the NBA, 15 teams know they have no chance of winning a championship. They are building with young players. It’s a different era that we live in. It’s easy to say conceptually but you have to always weigh what are real opportunities.”
Ainge told reporters that his club simply was not ready to answer the bell when it rang on December 25. He said “I think there’s no excuses, because every team has had the same training camp, but we weren’t prepared. We haven’t been prepared mentally, physically to win. I’m not panicked, but I think, like the players and the coaches, I think we’re better than we’re playing. I’m hoping that this team does turn it around and start playing better. I don’t expect a miracle that all of a sudden it’s going to get better overnight. Is it incrementally going to get better? I hope that it can. Sure, I think in the next few weeks I’ll have a better feel. If the pattern continues like it is now, then I think that our hopes diminish, of course. It still doesn’t mean we do anything, because there may not be opportunities to do anything. But I think that we’ll have a better feel rather than a 12-game sample.”
Although fans hate to admit it; the NBA is a business first and foremost. When it comes down to it the theme song for the Association should be the old Janet Jackson tune “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Especially in a city like Boston that has always been a hotbed for hoops.