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.
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Celtics coach Brad Stevens coaches during Game 6 Thursday.</a></p>
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“There’s a minimum level of ability that goes into making this thing successful anyway,” Brad Stevens told me on a podcast in the weeks after accepting the he

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (center) shoots the ball against Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha (left) and forward Paul Millsap (right) during the first half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics forward Jae Crowder (center) was overmatched all series by the Atlanta bigs. (Mark L. Baer-USA Today Sports)

For the first 66 games of the season, Jae Crowder was the second-most important player on the Celtics. 

Then he turned his right ankle against the Rockets on March 11 and wasn’t the same the rest of the way, playing with an ankle he said was really never better than 70 percent. 

Crowder could never consistently get his shot to fall when Thomas was double and triple-teamed and his ankle prevented him from driving and cutting to the basket the way he did when he was healthy. He missed his first six shots and was 2-for-9 at the half. He finished 5-for-15 for 15 points in the season-ending 104-92 loss to the Hawks Thursday in Game 6. 

“Yeah, it was a very tough stretch for me,” Crowder said. “But, I’m not here to make any excuses about that, it was just tough, it was a tough series for me but my teammates never stopped believing in me. I just tried to get through it…. I gave it my best, so I can sleep good knowing that I gave it my all.”

In the series, he wasn’t the same forward who was a legitimate threat when Thomas was drawing attention early in the season. And he could never get comfortable against the Atlanta front court of Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Al Horford.  

“It will drive me to work harder for sure,” Crowder said. “It will drive me to be a different player than I am today, so we use it as motivation to move on.

“Like I just told Isaiah, we just got to keep chipping at it, keep getting better, of course its only going to be one team to have a successful year and that’s when you hold that trophy up. So, until we do that, its not a successful season. We are going to keep building, keep working, that’s all I got to say about it.”

As for the futures of Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger and breaking up some of the chemistry on the team, Crowder will leave personnel decisions to Danny Ainge. 

“That’s what sucks about it, but like Isaiah said its apart of the business, but we did build a bond with each and every guy in the locker room and it was fun,” Crowder said. “We just tried to have fun each and every night. We have a locker room that’s bonded like the way we do and have fun you never want to see it end, and it was tough to see it end.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Sam Packard break down how the ice-cold shooting of the Celtics combined with Atlanta’s defense on Isaiah Thomas powered the Hawks to a 104-92 win over Boston in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Thursday at TD Garden, ending Boston’s season in the first round for the second straight season.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia