Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

WALTHAM – With the cap flexibility and the possibility of names like Kevin Durant and Al Horford on the free agent market this summer, there’s one question at the top of everyone’s mind: Can Danny Ainge make Boston and the Celtics attractive to free agents next season? 

“I think our team is attractive to some,” Ainge said. “I think Boston and the tradition and the Celtics and their winning ways and our fan base and ownership group and sort of the chemistry that we have as an organization between coach, management, and ownership, I think that we’re an attractive place for free agents.”

Ainge is not permitted to talk about any free agents at all, not even potentially his own as they apply to next season, including Tyler Zeller, Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger.

What Ainge did make clear was that he believes with the coaching staff in place – led by wunderkind Brad Stevens – and the winning chemistry of a team that won 48 games a year ago, there is a lot to be drawn to in Boston.  

“But, ultimately, free agents want to come to a place where they can win,” Ainge said. “Where they get paid. Where they get an opportunity to play their game. There’s many factors. And some places people want to be closer to the sun, closer to equator, and I think that there’s just a lot of factors. But I do think that we are and we will be attractive to some free agents.”

Ainge is clearly aware of what’s at stake this offseason, including having a potential top-3 lottery pick and three picks in the first round to add to the free agent pool.  

“We look forward to every offseason. This offseason is bigger,” Ainge said. “My expectations are high this offseason, and yet I also know that it takes good fortune. We need the ping-pong balls to bounce our way to give us the best opportunity. Whether we use that pick or whether we trade that pick, and in free agency, we have opportunities.

“And that’s all we have. We have no guarantees of great things happening. We just have a lot of hope. And so we have a lot of work ahead of us, and we have to have plan A through Z. Usually it’s more A through G, but we have A through Z this year just (something) to have an opportunity to upgrade our team.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

WALTHAM  –  Turns out, Kelly Olynyk may need surgery after all to fix a shoulder that never fully healed after an injury that slowed his season. 

On Feb. 10 at TD Garden, he injured his shoulder in a collision against the Clippers in the first half. It was partially separated but began to heal after a 14-game absence. 

But upon his return he never fully regained the form that produced the most effective 3-point shooter on the team at 41 percent. He did help lengthen the Celtics bench and their spacing on the court but when he re-injured the same shoulder in Game 1 against the Hawks, he was reduced to a small bit player off the bench, missing Games 2 and 3 and playing sparingly in the final three games of the series. 

“Kelly is still deciding what to do with our medical staff and with the opinions that he’s received,” Danny Ainge said Wednesday. “We should know within the next week or so of what that decision will be, but surgery is an option and it is being discussed. He’ll make that decision soon.” 

As for other injured Celtics at the end of the season, Ainge said none will require surgery. Jae Crowder (right ankle), Isaiah Thomas (left wrist) and Avery Bradley (right hamstring) should all be back to full strength with rest and rehab. 

“Jae’s is a bone bruise in the foot,” Ainge said. “Some things just linger. He’ll be OK. Same with Isaiah, same with everybody else. I think the only surgery possibility is Kelly’s shoulder.”

Ainge made it clear that Bradley almost certainly would not have been able to return to the Atlanta series, simply because the team did not want to risk future injury. And returning soon after that was a “long shot” as well. 

“I think that first of all, the hamstring injury Avery had, a Grade 1 strain, it’s risky,” Ainge said. “You want to be really careful with that because if you get a second hamstring injury then they sort of have a tendency to linger throughout your career. So we probably wouldn’t have let Avery go back out unless he was just 100 percent and felt absolutely nothing. But I think that was always a long shot.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

 

WALTHAM  –  The Celtics are going in a different direction to change their lottery luck. 

Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations, confirmed the big news after draft workouts Wednesday that they’re not sending one of the legends like Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn or Jo Jo White to New York City for the May 17 draft lottery. 

 

Isaiah Thomas scored a season-low seven points Tuesday night. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas will be representing the Celtics at the lottery draft. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM  –  The Celtics are going in a different direction to change their lottery luck. 

Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations, confirmed the big news after draft workouts Wednesday that they’re not sending one of the legends like Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn or Jo Jo White to New York City for the May 17 draft lottery. 

Instead, they’re sending a current star who seems perfectly suited to fitting the bill of bringing good luck: Isaiah Thomas. 

“Sure. Yeah. He’s our leprechaun,” Ainge joked Wednesday. 

Ainge said it was actually a decision made after consultation with owners Wyc Grousbeck and Stephen Pagliuca and team president Rich Gotham.  

“Wyc and Rich and I collectively, and Pags, we talked about it and thought it would be a great idea,” Ainge said. “And Isaiah when he was told, it was like his eyes lit up. He loves that stuff.”

Ainge was asked to respond to those who argue that Thomas is not a foundational piece of the Celtics and key to their team moving forward.

“Have they been to any games?” Ainge replied. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WALTHAM  –  The comparisons have already begun with the Celtics this offseason. 

Jan 26, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge looks on prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge will be busy trying to retool his roster this summer for a title run. (Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM  –  The comparisons have already begun with the Celtics this offseason. 

Many Celtics fans are hoping for the kind of reset that the franchise underwent in the summer of ’07, when Ainge was able to trade for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and put together a team with just enough youth, veteran talent and depth that resulted in Banner 17 the following June. 

With Brooklyn’s lottery pick on the horizon as one of three first-round picks and eight overall in the draft and the prospects of a Kevin Durant in free agency, the potential is there. 

Does Ainge see any similarity with summer of ’07?

“I’m not sure we have a Paul Pierce on our roster,” Ainge said. “But I do think we have a lot more things to trade, a lot more things to move.”

This, of course, brings up the next point, is anyone on the current roster untouchable? 

“Nobody’s ever untouchable. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gets traded, you know there’s no such thing as an untouchable in the NBA, or in any league for that matter,” Ainge added. “There’s certain guys that we want to keep and build around and move forward with.”

Ainge acknowledged there are certain players he’d like to keep, a not-so thinly veiled reference to Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. 

Ainge said he doesn’t have a good feel for the pending salary cap (estimated at $89 million next season and $109 the next) and how that might alter trade market.

“I don’t know that. I don’t know. This is new territory for all of us,” Ainge said. “We can all make our predictions but really, I’m not sure. Every team is in a unique situation and a different situation. We’ll be making lots of calls, trying to make trades. Listen, the transcendent players, the good players that you all need to win and to be successful in the NBA, they’re very hard to find and there’s not that many of them. And there’s 30 very qualified teams out there trying to find them all.”

Ainge said the pending explosion of the cap along with the Celtics’ position in the draft makes this year different when looking at free agency and the draft. 

“They’re not independent. Some years they’re independent but I think that right now where we are, it’s all combined,” Ainge said. “We have to look at trades, draft and free agency in order to build our team. And with the assets that we have, with the draft, it’s probably one thing.”

If the Celtics land a top-3 pick, there’s the assumption they can add a transcendent player like Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons.

“I don’t know yet. I don’t know yet. We see guys that have been drafted in the thirties and forties that are transcendent players,” Ainge said. “They’re out there, and the possibility. That’s what makes the draft so exciting is the hope and possibility of what could be but there’s certainly no guarantee. I mean the chances of a player picked in the player picked in the twenties is maybe 10 percent chance of that player being a rotation player. So, the odds of using draft picks and those becoming [transcendent] are very small. But they’re still possible.

“That’s eight swings, eight swings of the bat. I’ve got eight mulligans. Maybe we’ll draft all of them and hope one of them comes out, fight it out in training camp.”

Ainge said he’s not sure how many of the top picks will actually come to the team’s facility in Waltham for a workout. 

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I’m not sure of that. So much depends on the ping pong balls and where we are. I’ve got a feeling of certain guys that’ll only visit two or three teams so I don’t know. I don’t know. By May 17, we’ll probably know a lot more.” 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Kevin O'Connor of CelticsBlog joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for a breakdown of what went wrong in the Celtics series against the Hawks. they then played Celtics free agent tinder and looked ahead to the big moves in store for the offseason.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens coaches during Game 6 Thursday.</a></p>
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MIKE PETRAGLIA

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