Brad Stevens finishes 6th in COTY voting, Danny Ainge finishes 6th in Executive of The Year voting. Now while I had some issues with where Brad finished, this one feels about right. There are two camps in this city when it comes to talking about Trader Danny, and both sides have some valid points. Some will call him wildly overrated, that it’s crazy he has such job security in a city that demands championships and only producing one during his tenure. To some degree I agree with this, he has had some swings and misses just like everyone else (RIP Troy Brown, Fab Melo, JR Giddens etc), but he’s also had plenty of hits.
People want to talk about the KG trade saying it was all about McHale, and I’d say that definitely played a part, but Ainge also had to draft the pieces to even make that trade possible. Also, he brought us Isaiah, so that should be enough for people. But for the sake of this blog, I want to focus on Ainge’s moves this year, and how he did.
As we approached the July 1 deadline, all of these moves were pretty expected
Nobody expected them to bring back Gigi, and Brandon Bass was simply going to be a roadblock for younger players, and he didn’t have a future with the Celts, so see ya later. The FA of Jae and Jonas were all part of the plan, I don’t think anyone expected them to be gone for good
About a week later, we got our big “fireworks” of the summer! Around Twitter and upon first look many people scoffed at the Amir and Jonas signings. But there was beauty in them if you looked a little closer. Before we even get to how their seasons were, their contracts were valuable because both came at a tolerable price, and both second years were non-guaranteed. Throughout this whole rebuild Ainge has preached bringing in good players, while not sacrificing their flexibility. That’s exactly what this did.
I don’t think any of us can complain about the season Amir had, especially down the stretch over the last month or two of the regular season. He was exactly what they need, an athletic big who could rebound, run the floor, and protect the rim. For Jonas, it wasn’t as positive. His first full year in Boston regressed a little from what we saw from him in his 29 games the year before. Again it didn’t kill Danny because of the price and flexibility, but I can imagine he hoped to get a little more from Jonas when he signed him.
At the time, I liked the move. Kick the tires on this warm body, and if it doesn’t work out, you at least you get a good 2nd round pick for your troubles. Well, it didn’t work out, but hey, at least we got some “assets”!
Huge day here for Trader Danny. First, and most important, he resigned Jae to an absolute STEAL of a contract. 5/35M was a huge pay raise for him, but at the same time, the Celts kept their flexibility. As we would come to see during the year Jae obviously is worth more than this deal, but just like Avery’s 4/32M Ainge knew what he had and got it at a great price.
He also found a team to trade one dead body (Wallace) for another (Lee), but remember at the time, there was still hope for DLee. Ainge also pulled another Perry Jones III trade with Miami, and got more assets for a player they had no intention of keeping. Dunno if that trade really puts the Celts in a better position, but time will tell.
Also I included this image because of Dana Barros. You know the guy who’s career ended in 2004. That made me chuckle.
Now it wasn’t all perfect. In fact, I was a little disappointed in how quiet the Celtics were at the trade deadline. They couldn’t move Lee, and didn’t make a single move. I’m not saying I wanted them to blow up the team or give a player + BKN pick for Horford or anything like that, but it was a bit surprising that given their shooting woes, Ainge didn’t add some sort of help in that area.
That’s why I think that where Ainge ended up in this voting makes some sense. Some things worked out, Amir, Jae, Perry Jones trade, his draft (maybe), and other things blew up in his face, Lee, Jonas, Dragic trade etc. This award means about as much as the COTY does, and to me, it’s THIS summer where we will truly see if Ainge can come through. We’ve heard him come out since the season ended and play the “it takes two to tango” stance, and while that’s true, I can’t imagine the city and most of its fans will be happy ending up with a repeat of the summer we just had.
Trader Danny, do your thing.