Celtics Team President Danny Ainge Is Looking To Make The Boston Celtics Great, Not Good
The Boston Celtics are a good basketball team, not a great one. They achieved alot in a 53-win season that saw them atop the Eastern Conference standings only to get obliterated by an elite Cleveland Cavaliers team. Team President Danny Ainge understands it take a great squad to win championships, and that this current team is not that.
So when Ainge comes out and talks about this, one can assume a lot is to come for this Boston Celtics franchise.
“I know that we’re good. I know that we’re not great,” Ainge, whose Celtics squad made a five-win improvement, from 48 wins in 2016 to 53 wins this year, said. “I know that we still have more to do, and, you know, that next step is by far the hardest.”
The current Celtic core is led by players like Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas, but after them there is a steep drop off. Sure an Avery Bradley or a Marcus Smart is a nice complimentary pieces, but when Jae Crowder is your starting small forward you are going to run into problems when you face LeBron James. Trader Danny illustrated the concept of having good players, but not great players.
“We have a lot of good players,” Ainge noted, “but we need some great ones.”
The names of worth when looking into acquisitions are headlined by similar names that have been spewed the last several months. You have unrestricted forward Gordon Hayward who played for Brad Stevens at Butler. Then in the trade hunt you have players such as forward Paul George and guard Jimmy Butler. Or in the pipedream realm you have trade ideas for Anthony Davis or Blake Griffin.
Celtics Have A Full Roster With Not Alot Of Minutes Up For Grabs At The Moment
The Boston Celtics have nine players under contract for next season (10 if they exercise a team option on Jordan Mickey), and there’s simply not enough room for the Celtics to make an impactful addition without freeing up some of the minutes logged by those nine players. The Celtics also have just one more year before guys like Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart get significant raises, which could be in Boston or elsewhere. The current contracts and expiring deals are ones that Ainge knows he has to juggle.
“We have a lot of players. We have a lot of depth, and we have guys that want to play, that deserve to play. And I don’t think our roster is as balanced as it needs to be,” said Danny Ainge. “So, yes, we have a lot of very difficult decisions. And there will be difficult decisions in free agency and who to allocate the money to, difficult decisions in the draft, difficult decisions with opportunities to make trades — no different than trade deadline times.”
If the Celtics do indeed trade for a Butler or a George, it would likely take the 18 Brooklyn pick and in addition you would try and attach Crowder in that as well to free up minutes. Also if they use the number 1 pick on Fultz they will have to free time up on guard, which could mean they would trade one of their current expiring guards for a rebounder which they could also use.
For Danny Ainge though all of this is easier said then done.
“Just because you’re one piece away doesn’t mean you can get it,” Ainge admitted. “And if you force yourself to get it, and if you force a deal or force yourself to get the second-best available or the third- or fourth-best available player at that position that you need, then it might not make you that much better or make you still not good enough, and you’re stuck.
The Celtics have the luxury of being in a very nice position with an already solid roster and an arsenal of draft picks and sizable cap room to add another max contract this offseason. The options are plentiful and franchise altering, but the chances of a Celtics banner in the next five years looks good.