The Boston Celtics haven’t been in rebuilding mode since the 2006-2007 campaign, a season before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce to form a title-winning Big Three. In an address to season ticket holders, GM Danny Ainge assured the fan base that the team is now even better positioned to return to the top. Per the Boston Globe:
“I think we’re in a better position,” Ainge said in a video discussion live-streamed to Celtics’ season ticket-holders earlier this week. “I think it’s similar, though. We did have some good young players in Al Jefferson, who was a wanted commodity around the league. We were able to get Kevin Garnett for Al Jefferson [and] he was a big part of that.
“We have a lot of draft picks . . . I think our positioning is better.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham, who also participated in the discussion, sided with Ainge.
“We’ve got 10 first-round draft picks over the next five years,” Gotham said. “We’ve created enough salary-cap space that we can be opportunistic when opportunities present themselves, either at trading deadlines or when the draft comes up, and we feel like we’ve developed our young players this year.
“So when we gauge our season, that’s how I’m gauging it. I think we’ve executed well [with] those three things. I think we’re in a better place than we were last year even though the win-loss record doesn’t necessarily reflect that.”
The team is preparing for the draft and free agency, Ainge said. “At that same time, once our season ends, the trading period opens up again,” he added. “The three D’s — development, deals and draft — are how we build our team.”
As always, the question is whether Boston is an attractive destination for free agents who might instead choose, say, Miami or Los Angeles.
“If temperature and superficiality are the measures, no, we don’t compete well,” Gotham said. “But if coming to an organization that has got a great winning tradition and a proven track record of winning recently is attractive, then I do think we can attract players.
“I do think that what we have here is different than what other organizations [have]. When you see Kevin and Paul come back like they did this year and see the treatment they received from the fans and how special it was for them to have been part of the Celtics family, part of the Boston sports landscape, those guys understand what that meant.”
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck recently said that there would be “fireworks” this summer with regards to potential moves the team could make.
“That’s why we love Wyc,” Ainge said. “He’s a risk-taker. He’s not afraid. And he’s not afraid to spend the money and he’s not afraid to take chances. We sell to him, but we have to do a good job of selling him sometimes.”