The fact that the Boston sports fans are talking about “blowing up the Celtics” makes me ill. You know what I think we should blow up? I think we should shove a grenade up Danny Ainge’s ass and throw him into the Mystic River. What is this? Rhode Island blasphemy? Nope, let’s look at Ainge’s career as the Boston GM.
Ainge took over as the Celtics GM in 2003. The first thing he did was sign Jim O’Brien to an extension through the 2005-2006 season. Then he traded Darius Songalia for two second round picks. Not bad right? Then he spun a deal with the Grizzlies on draft night to pick up Kendrick Perkins and Marcus Banks. We all know what what Perk turned into, six years later.. but he was a project. Right away we see a disturbing trend with Ainge. He likes to pick guys that would be projects rather than guys that can come and help right away. Perk was 18 years-old, skinny, and “raw.” He also resigned some bum vets like Walter McCarty, Mark Blount, Brandon Hunter, and Mike James. He also spun a trade with the Cavs for Jumaine Jones. Yikes. Three months later he traded Delk and Twan Walker for Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills, and Raef LaFrentz. We all know how that worked out. He also extended the contract of Kedrick Brown. To top the year off he traded Brown, Tony Battie, and Erick Williams to Cleveland for Ricky Davis and two other bums. He finished the 2003-2004 season by putting us through the Vin Baker saga, firing Jim O’Brien and his interim replacement.
The 2004-2005 season had to get better right? It started off right with the first really good move that Ainge made, hiring Doc Rivers. The draft was promising too. We ended up grabbing Al Jefferson, Tony Allen, Delonte West, and Justin Reed (whoever the hell that is). Three of the four picks were college players, but Jefferson was a project. Again, we all knew what he could be… but three years down the road. Then Ainge got all “schizo” on us again by trading with the Lakers for Gary Payton and Rick Fox, two aging veterans and Class-A douche bags. Speaking of aging veterans, he also signed Tom Gugliotta. Then he traded them to the Hawks to get Antoine Walker back to throw up forty-six threes a game. He also made ANOTHER trade with the Cavs, this one was Jiri Welsch for a 1st pick. Thanks Atlanta! He also traded fan-favorite Walter McCarty to the Suns.
Heading into 2005-2006 Ainge had one good draft, one bad draft, a couple of ok trades, and a few bad ones. The Celtics front office decided to give him a three year extension. True to form, Ainge drafted a “project” in Gerald Green. Another guy that was full of potential, young and raw. He did pick two more college players in Ryan Gomes and Oriene Greene. Ryan Gomes gave minutes and was ready. At last check Greene was in the D-League in 2010. He did manage to sign a new fan-favorite, for waaaay too much money; SCAL! After making a sensible move like that he traded Antoine Walker again, this time for Curtis Borchardt, Qyntel Woods, Albert Miralles, and two second round picks. He also signed Will Bynum and traded for Dan Dickau. Within a month, Woods, Bynum, and Borchardt would be waived. Three weeks after New Years in 2006, Ainge traded Ricky Davis, Justin Reed, Mark Blount, and two second round picks for Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, and Dwayne Jones… seriously, that happened.
The year 2007 started off well. We pulled some wheeling and dealing and were able to get Rajon Rondo in the draft. Ainge also managed to pick up Brian Grant, Sebastian Telfair, and Leon Powe in the deals. He also resigned and exercised options on Telfair, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, and Tony Allen. This would have been a decent year if he hadn’t spun yet ANOTHER deal with Cleveland for a guy named Luke Jackson.
I think in 2008, Ainge knew he had to do something after three years of nothing. He started on draft day by making a deal for Ray Allen. He then traded five players and two first round picks to the TWolves for KG. The only player worth note was Al Jefferson. For the first time in his tenure as GM, he signed some worthwhile free agents. He brought in rookie Glen Davis and veterans James Posey, Eddie House, P.J. Brown, and Sam Cassell. He also resigned Doc Rivers and brought in assistant coach Tom Thibideau. All of these moves lead to a championship in the 2007-2008 season.
Every Celtic fan was wondering how Danny and the C’s would follow up the championship season. The draft didn’t really start off well. Ainge picked J.R. Giddens, Semih Erden, and got the rights to Bill Walker. Uh oh, here we go. He resigned Tony Allen, Eddie House, and Sam Cassell. He also brought in Darius Miles, who was promptly waived for not being as awesome as he was in NBA2K for PS2. Cassell was traded for a pick, then Ainge brought in Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury. What a way to follow up a Championship.
The draft woes continued to start 2009-2010 season, with the selection of Lester Hudson, who was supposed to be awesome, but like most Ainge picks was not. He also signed Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, and Sheldon Williams. Rasheed was supposed to provided some length and a little bit of outside game. Sheldon Williams was apparently brought in to play the ugly guy role vacated by Walter McCarty, Eric Williams, and Sam Cassell leaving. Marquis was supposed to defend like Tony Allen and contribute some scoring. They also resigned Glen Davis and signed Mike Sweetney bringing in 600 lbs of uselessness. Lester Hudson and Sweetney would be waived. To replace them, Ainge traded away Eddie House, Giddens, and Bill Walker for Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry. A week later he signed Michael Finley for some odd reason. A month later Marcus Landry was waived. He also signed two guys named Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette. Yet another awesome season full of moves for Danny Ainge.
The 2010-2011 season didn’t get any better for Celtics fans. We need to bring in some length to help bolster the front line. They drafted Avery Bradley to replace Tony Allen’s departed defense. Jermaine O’Neal and Shaq Daddy were brought in. They also resigned Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, and brought Delonte back. Just when you thought things look promising… the Perkins for Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic. To top that off, he brought in Troy Murphy, Aleksandar Pavlovic, and Carlos Arroyo. On the bright side, he had enough sense to re-sign Doc Rivers.
Leading into the lock out year, we all knew that the window was closing on the Big Three. The lockout was party to blame for no one coming in, but Ainge has to be to blame for some of it. He drafted a really really skinny big man, yet another project. Don’t worry, we should be used to this for now. This guy will fill out and in a couple of years he will be a force, right? He traded Marshawn Brooks for Johnson. What do we need more? A big guy a few years from now or a proven scorer that can create his own shots? Yup, that’s right. I think that the Celtics season might be going a little bit different if we had Brooks’ scoring coming off the bench. The Brandon Bass trade was nice, but it remains to be seen whether he will learn how to fit into the defensive system. Jeff Green’s health problem was not Ainge’s fault, but the trade was. Ainge also signed guard Marquis Daniels, centers Chris Wilcox and Greg Stiemsma and traded for Keyon Dooling. The jury is still out on whether these moves will work out, but things are not looking good so far.
I have to say that the very idea of trading Paul Pierce angers me beyond belief. He needs to retire a Celtic. I have no qualms with trading KG. He is a mere shell of himself. His inside offense and defense are gone. He has lost a step and can barely dunk. Ray Allen can shoot the lights out and may be the easiest piece to move. I would really not like to see any of these guys traded because as I have shown you in this rambling, in depth assessment of Ainge’s handiwork, I shutter to think of the kind of trades that Danny is going to make. Frankly… age, lack of depth, and not preseason camp aren’t what is killing the Celtics. I feel that it is Danny Ainge. Doc Rivers is a great coach. There are some pieces here to keep this team competitive. To be honest, I think that this team’s biggest problem might be our GM and the time for change could be coming soon.