Danny Ainge used to be known as Trader Danny. Now, he can be referred to as Almost Trader Danny. In what has been a very disappointing year for the Boston Celtics, it became even more disappointing after Ainge failed to pull the trigger on a significant move Thursday.
The Boston Celtics need a shakeup
To put it very mildly, the Boston Celtics are underachieving. One year removed from the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics might find themselves out of the playoff picture altogether. As of Thursday, the Celtics are seeded eighth with a dismal record of 21-23. They are a half-game in front of the Indiana Pacers for the final playoff spot.
The season has been ugly for the Celtics and their fans. The team has been in turmoil and has lost five of its last six games. Players have been griping and GM Danny Ainge has taken the blame, saying his roster isn’t good and it’s his fault. Last month, when the team was sitting at 14-14, Ainge went on a local radio show and absorbed the blame.
“Our roster obviously is not good. I mean, we are a 14-14 team,” Ainge said. “There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. That’s who we are. This team, where we are, 14-14, if there’s somebody to blame, this is Danny Ainge to blame. This is not Brad Stevens. It’s not Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. It’s not good enough right now. And we all know that. And, you know, we need to get better.”
Ainge blew a chance at a big offseason move
Danny Ainge got greedy. Back in November, Gordon Hayward opted out of the final year of a deal that would have paid him $34 million this season. It was reported Hayward told the Celtics he wanted to play in Indiana. The Pacers were interested. Reports said the Pacers offered Myles Turner and Doug McDermott for Hayward, who no longer wanted to be in Boston.
Ainge reportedly didn’t think Turner and McDermott were enough, even for a guy who was going to walk away. He wanted T.J. Warren or Victor Oladipo instead of McDermott. The Pacers moved on.
Hayward bolted Boston for the Charlotte Hornets, who signed him to a whopping four-year deal worth $120 million. The Celtics received a $28.5 million trade exception.
Celtics make a couple of minor moves at the deadline
The Boston Celtics are fighting for their playoff lives. Danny Ainge didn’t seem to be too interested in making that playoff push at the trading deadline. While rumors were floating around, as they always are at this time, Ainge managed to bring in Orlando’s Evan Fournier and Chicago’s Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet in two separate deals. Lately, Ainge has been the king of the ‘almost trade,’ always stating they were so close to getting the big deal they wanted.
The Celtics also lost Daniel Theis in the Bulls deal, while Fournier was had for two second-round picks and guard Jeff Teague. Those moves certainly aren’t putting the Celtics over the top. With the moves, Ainge created a roster spot that could be filled with a player just bought out. As of now, Celtics fans are blasting Ainge for basically waving the white flag on the season.
When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Celtics traded Theis to the Bulls, one Twitter user wrote, “Only Ainge trades a guy for someone worse.” The #FireDannyAinge hashtag was quickly making its way around Twitter shortly after the deadline. Celtics fans aren’t happy right now, but Ainge could still sign a useful player (LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond) who was bought out. Ainge could almost sign them, too.