Kevin Garnett Injury Exposes Danny Ainge's Failures As Celtics GM

After Losing Garnett, It Becomes Clear That Danny Ainge Is Who We Thought He Was

4/16/09 in NBA   |   Pat   |   5222 respect

Danny Ainge won the NBA Executive of the Year award, following the Celtics winning the championship in the 2007-2008 season. This, of course, was after 4 years of utter failure, as he took the Celtics from being consistent playoff contenders to their 24-win 2006-07 season.

Once he acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, everyone seemed to forget all of Ainge's past failures, and of course all was forgiven after the Celtics won a championship.

Now, as they enter the playoff sans their injured superstar Garnett, it is becoming painfully obvious that Ainge isn't all that he's cracked up to be, and that he is still the same mediocre GM that he has always been.

Am I blaming him for Kevin Garnett's injury? Of course not. Should the Celtics (or any team, for that matter) be expected to compete for a championship without their best player? Certainly not.

However, when you look at the team and their outlook for the future, it's clear that Ainge has sacrificed the future for temporary gain, and it is really starting to cost the Celtics.

Far be it from me to complain about a team that just came off their first championship in over 2 decades. I don't want to sound unappreciative. But was it because Ainge did a great job as the Celtics GM? Or was it simply because there was a GM out there who was worse than him, and that allowed Ainge to stack his team for a quick run at a championship? Pretty much. And did it jeopardize the Celtics chances for another run in the near future? Again, yes, it pretty much did.

If the Celtics hadn't traded for Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett, they wouldn't have won their 17th NBA Championship last year. That's for sure. However, their roster right now would include rising stars like Al Jefferson and Randy Foye and Jeff Green. Or, if Ainge had drafted a little better, they could be sporting a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Rudy Gay (instead of Randy Foye, who was traded to the Timberwolves in the KG deal), Al Thornton (instead of Jeff Green, who was traded in the Ray Allen deal) and Kendrick Perkins. While that's not as imposing as the Big 3, it offers something that the current version of the C's does not: a future.

The Celtics, even if they had KG healthy for the playoffs, wouldn't even be the favorites in the Eastern Conference this year. Cleveland has improved, and the Celtics have dropped off a bit from last year, even when they're playing their best. The Lakers in the West have also improved with the addition of Andrew Bynum, who was hurt almost all of last year, and throughout the playoffs. The Celtics' window is closing quickly, and there's a great chance that next year, Orlando and others could pass them in the East, and there's really nothing they can do.

Eddie House, Leon Powe and Glen Davis could all be gone after the season. The next season, Ray Allen and Tony Allen could be moving on. Even after those potential departures, the Celtics won't have the money to replace them with equal talent, and if they decide to keep them, they'll have to pay them more to stay. They would be better off letting guys like Ray Allen leave anyway, since he's already getting older, as are the other two thirds of the Big 3.

This team has one shot left to win another championship, and that's next year. After that, the future is not bright at all for the Celtics, and there's really no reason to believe that Danny Ainge will be able to take another rabbit out of his hat and magically rebuild the team once again through the ineptitude of another GM.

Hopefully, the Celtics can see this at some point, and replace Ainge with someone who is more deserving of the job. Otherwise, it could be a long few years for Celtics fans.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

4/17/09   |   x34meganx43

One championship shouldnt make him a great GM.They defiently couldnt have won with KG and Ray Allen so the trade was worth it. That championship is one of the few things thats even keeping them in the race right now. Were not as good as last year, but without Kevin Garnett the Celtics have a very hard time winning it. The Cavs, Lakers, and Magic (as well as other teams) have improved enough to make it questionable that the CEltics will make it to the finals.

4/16/09   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Jubanator14 wrote:
So you are saying you'd trade last season's title for a young foundation that may or may not ever get you another title? The goal is to win a title and that is what they did last season.

Sure the Celtics could have held onto Al Jefferson and had they not screwed up a possible Pierce to Portland for the 3rd pick in the 2005 NBA (which Pierce vetoed once he heard about it) and taken Chris Paul the Celtics would have had a great future but they wouldn't have that title from last year.

Keep in mind that Jefferson blew out his knee this year, and there's no guarantee he'll be the same. Yes, there's no guarantee that he would've blown it out as a Celtic, but still.

4/16/09   |   Pat   |   5222 respect

wrote:
Celtics + Money = Yankees + Money     How many championships has that equation won?

Actually, this clever little equation that you created is one huge steaming pile of fail.

4/16/09   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

wrote:
Celtics + Money = Yankees + Money     How many championships has that equation won?

That makes perfect sense....if the NBA didn't have a salary cap and luxury tax that penalizes teams for going over the cap. Teams have sold draft picks for cash and have valued having huge expiring contracts so they can trade them and get them off their books.

4/16/09   |   Pat   |   5222 respect

Jubanator14 wrote:
So you are saying you'd trade last season's title for a young foundation that may or may not ever get you another title? The goal is to win a title and that is what they did last season.

Sure the Celtics could have held onto Al Jefferson and had they not screwed up a possible Pierce to Portland for the 3rd pick in the 2005 NBA (which Pierce vetoed once he heard about it) and taken Chris Paul the Celtics would have had a great future but they wouldn't have that title from last year.

I'm not saying that I would trade last season's title for anything. And don't get me wrong... I appreciate it. I'm only saying that one championship doesn't make him a good GM. He sucked bad enough to stock up on high draft picks, didn't really even draft well with those high picks, got extremely lucky with one deal, and completely threw away the Celtics' future simply for a 2-3 year window of contention, after which the Celtics have no chance at all, and little hope for rebuilding in the near future. The worst part about is that his one championship, which he'll never be able to duplicate, will buy him another 5-10 years in his current job, no matter how bad he does.

4/16/09   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

WhoDat12 wrote:
That trade was only lopsided in numbers. Both teams made out like bandits in the trade.  He's not a failure as a GM.  His point guard kindred spirit Steve Kerr is a failure. Matt Millen is a failure. Isaiah Thomas is an uber failure. Ainge has done well

Man, Steve Kerr. Where do I begin? He killed the funnest team to watch in the league. He sucks. He should have stayed in broadcasting. He eats babies. Etc.

4/16/09   |   arv3403   |   20 respect

Jubanator14 wrote:
So you are saying you'd trade last season's title for a young foundation that may or may not ever get you another title? The goal is to win a title and that is what they did last season.

Sure the Celtics could have held onto Al Jefferson and had they not screwed up a possible Pierce to Portland for the 3rd pick in the 2005 NBA (which Pierce vetoed once he heard about it) and taken Chris Paul the Celtics would have had a great future but they wouldn't have that title from last year.

I entirely agree, blaming Danny Ainge for winning a championship for the C's last year is absurd, and it just sounds like a basketball fan who's sitting at their keyboard saying "I could have done better and here's why". People seem to forget about the responsibilities of a GM, and specifically, the situation in Boston. As the writer mentioned in the article, it had been over two decades since the C's won a championship, and the fans, and city were waiting. You can't imagine the pressure these people are under to win, which makes sense given thats what the goal is. Now you say he crippled the team to win a championship, but by winning a championship, he brought the band wagon fans back into viewership, he brought in money, and a barganing position for the future, the C's, from a fan stand point, didn't have the time to wait for the rising stars to rise for them, they needed a win, a win brings in money, which opens up more moves in the future.

Now maybe Danny isn't a great gm, I'm not saying he is, however, he did his job last year, which is more than you can say for every other gm in the league, because his team won.

4/16/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4209 respect

WhoDat12 wrote:
That trade was only lopsided in numbers. Both teams made out like bandits in the trade.  He's not a failure as a GM.  His point guard kindred spirit Steve Kerr is a failure. Matt Millen is a failure. Isaiah Thomas is an uber failure. Ainge has done well

Kerr is definitely a failure.  I will never forgive him for killing the Suns and I'm a Lakers fan.

Ainge has a ring, which is more than most GM's can say.  However, it wasn't built in a traditional sense in any manner.  I realize some luck goes into building a title contender.  The Spurs got lucky with the lottery, the Lakers got lucky that Kobe ended up being so great, and that the Grizzlies were willing to sell off Gasol for almost nothing.  However, all those teams were able to build a consistent title contender by adding on their own role players and what not.  I haven't seen Ainge do that yet and don't believe that he can.  He'll be given the chance to though because he bought himself extra time with the title run last year.

4/16/09   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

kantwistaye wrote:
While everyone likes to rail on Kevin McHale on the KG trade, the Timberwolves won that trade just as much as the C's did.  Al Jefferson is a young KG and while Jefferson may not be a franchise player, didn't become a bit obvious in last year's playoffs that KG truly wasn't either?  The trade ended up being worth it for the Celtics because they won the championship and thats why we play the games.  However, like Pat said, they have no future and really should not expect Danny Ainge to be able to build one.  Unfortunately for Boston fans, they shouldn't expect Ainge to be fired anytime soon.

That trade was only lopsided in numbers. Both teams made out like bandits in the trade.  He's not a failure as a GM.  His point guard kindred spirit Steve Kerr is a failure. Matt Millen is a failure. Isaiah Thomas is an uber failure. Ainge has done well

4/16/09   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

So you are saying you'd trade last season's title for a young foundation that may or may not ever get you another title? The goal is to win a title and that is what they did last season.

Sure the Celtics could have held onto Al Jefferson and had they not screwed up a possible Pierce to Portland for the 3rd pick in the 2005 NBA (which Pierce vetoed once he heard about it) and taken Chris Paul the Celtics would have had a great future but they wouldn't have that title from last year.

4/16/09   |   derms33   |   17642 respect

CAVS BABY!

4/16/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4209 respect

(Edited by kantwistaye)

While everyone likes to rail on Kevin McHale on the KG trade, the Timberwolves won that trade just as much as the C's did.  Al Jefferson is a young KG and while Jefferson may not be a franchise player, didn't become a bit obvious in last year's playoffs that KG truly wasn't either?  The trade ended up being worth it for the Celtics because they won the championship and thats why we play the games.  However, like Pat said, they have no future and really should not expect Danny Ainge to be able to build one.  Unfortunately for Boston fans, they shouldn't expect Ainge to be fired anytime soon.