It’s September 25, 2000, a timestamp of great underestimation from the entire league of what a young Paul Pierce was capable of becoming.
Danny Ainge. The General Manager who ripped off the Brooklyn Nets to get Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for some old super stars.
One of the most lopsided trades in history. He created a super team in the 2007-8 season. Can he make one now?
He’s done everything he possibly could to get the Boston Celtics to the top. To another potential championship. But can he lose it all? Or will he make the right moves this offseason?
This year the Celtics have been struggling. Everyone had their doubts for the team. Everyone.
The team started off poorly for how everyone expected them to be, despite climbing to back to fourth in the east. Just before the break they had a ten-game win streak during the first half of the season but that has been the only real time we saw the Celtics in their best form this year.
Now, Ainge has a few problems. No GM will have to do as much work as Ainge will in the off season. It could lead to multiple championships or an average team who had it all but managed to screw it up.
There are three major things Danny Ainge will need to consider during this offseason: a potential Anthony Davis trade, four free agents and the starting line-up.
The Anthony Davis talks have been all over the place in the last few months. The Pelicans toyed with the Lakers by basically asking for their entire future which ultimately lead to the Lakers giving up on a trade, ruining their team chemistry and costing them their season. Davis not being traded before the deadline ultimately tells us he could be moved to the Celtics in the offseason.
This wouldn’t be a surprise. Anthony Davis averages 28 PPG, 12 RPG just this season. He’s a three-time block champion and a three-time all defence member.
He is regarded to be one of the most skilled forwards ever. And he’s only 25.
You can see the hype around him. Ainge knows it, Brad Stevens the coach knows it and the Boston Celtics young guys definitely know it.
Trading for Davis could mean Danny gets a potential top three player in the league for the rest of his career or a simple two-year rental. It’s a big risk.
Considering all the assets the Celtics currently have, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Horford and Hayward plus picks, they could be put to waste or put to good use.
Ainge will have to make the call as to whether to pull the trigger on a deal.
The four free agents, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Al Horford and their star player Kyrie Irving. Despite Ainge looking to potentially make a push for Anthony Davis he will first have to deal with the free agents.
Fortunately and unfortunately their backup point guard Rozier is a Restricted free agent.
Which means if any other team offers him a deal and the Celtics can match it – no problem. But if a team asks too much then what? Kyrie’s looking for a max contract. Horford knows his impact and how good he is on the floor and he’s brilliant floor spacing plus he’s already making $27 million a year.
They can’t afford to pay a backup $20 million a year.
So they might have to let him walk. Fortunately, again for Ainge, Horford loves Boston and has showed it with various comments on social media. He will most likely re-sign for much less then he’s currently making.
The big free agent is Irving. If Ainge wants to make a push for Davis, he must re-sign Kyrie.
If he doesn’t re-sign the Australian-born superstar, there’s little to no hope Davis will re-sign. Ainge’s best option is to push for Kyrie to re-sign. Whether or not he wants Davis, he has to re-sign him.
The 26-year-old point guard is regarded as the most clutch player in the whole league.
The main reason Danny would let Rozier walk is to give Kyrie more time as well as Brad Wanamaker more time this season. He has showed Ainge and Stevens that he is an effective and efficient player in the few minutes he plays per game.
Marcus Smart a fellow guard said Wanamaker plays like he’s playing 25-30 minutes a night when they’re doing five on five drills.
Danny should give brad Wanamaker a chance rather than taking on a massive contract for a player who is the sixth or seventh man. And we aren’t even talking about Marcus Morris who is currently starting, he has shown that he loves Boston but only time will tell whether he stays or not. If he re-signs he won’t be paid much.
The line-up, where do we start? This team has been through a whole lot of line-up changes starting from: Kyrie, Brown, Hayward, Tatum, Horford to now: Kyrie, Smart, Tatum, Morris, Horford. After their slow start to the season this change of line-ups greatly benefitted the team as Boston had finally arrived into the win column. Climbing the board.
But what keeps itching at every Celtics fan is the playoffs. Last season Jaylen Brown became the youngest Celtics player to score 30 points in a playoff match. The person who previously held that record (Tommy Heinsohn) did it in 1957, you read that right, and now he’s riding the bench.
And what about Terry Rozier? otherwise known as ‘Scary Terry’ he single handily took down the Milwaukee bucks who have this year’s frontrunner for MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
And how he’s also riding the bench. Come playoff time Celtics need to become a different team. A much more defensive and hustling team. They can do it. We’ve seen them do it. They just need to figure out how. If they want to go far in the playoffs their line-up should consist of:
PG – Kyrie Irving
SG – Jaylen Brown
SF – Jayson Tatum
PF – Marcus Morris
C – Al Horford
The only change I’ve made is swapping Hayward/Smart in the line-up. Smarts been an incredible defender all year and has pushed the team to be its best defensive self.
While Hayward was an all-star just over two years ago. countless times this season he’s proved himself to be an all-star player but also a player who may only take three shots a night. He’s a risk but he’s a risk worth taking.
Danny Ainge will have a lot of things to consider this offseason: bringing Kyrie back, as well as Horford, Morris and Rozier.
What to do with four (potentially) first round picks, and the big one, whether he should trade for Davis or not.
If Ainge truly wants to win a whole lot of championships in the future his safest bet is to keep all his assets including Irving. He can let Rozier walk for that matter. With Brown, Tatum and a surprising 27th pick from last season that got them a centre who is second in blocks per game for all rookies.
As well as 2-4 first round picks? Keep the team. But if he wants to win now? Anthony Davis will suit brad Stevens style of play very well.
The Celtics community can yell at Danny Ainge to do this or that but all in all. The choice is his to make. Can Danny push the Celtics back into their title-winning ways?