Danny Ainge is respected around the league for executing trades that changed the fortunes of the Boston Celtics. Ainge pulled the trigger in 2007 and revamped the entire roster after trading for Kevin Garnett. The Doc Rivers-coached Celtics team vindicated Ainge's efforts by defeating the LA Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.
The aforementioned deals have created an aura around Danny Ainge's savvy as the Boston Celtics' president of basketball operations, which is quite deserved.
Danny Ainge must steer the Boston Celtics in the right direction in the offseason
Modern-day professional sports require every involved person to prove themselves continuously. That hasn't been the case for Danny Ainge, who's not been hitting the mark lately.
Many reports suggested that the Boston Celtics were in hot pursuit of All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and rising star Jerami Grant. But the Green Nation only managed to land Evan Fournier ahead of the NBA trade deadline on March 25th. Moreover, the big names in the buyout market – such as Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge – went to places far from the TD Garden.
The Boston Celtics have failed to attract or retain star players over the years as well. Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward departed in free agency, while Anthony Davis did not consider Boston as a favorable trade destination. Even though missing out on these players prevented the Celtics from becoming a powerhouse, they still remained a top team in the Eastern Conference.
However, missing out on Orlando Magic's Vucevic and Detroit Pistons' Grant while not signing either Drummond or Aldridge is a different situation for the Boston Celtics and their fans. The team has a poor 23-25 record and is eighth in the East. The Celtics have played in the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons but are now fighting to secure a playoff spot.
The Boston Celtics need big changes in the coming year, but those will be difficult to come by with the same conservative approach from the front office. Of course, Tatum and Brown will be the essential pieces going forward, but those around them might have to be shuffled a bit.
Even if the Boston Celtics look to add some pieces in order to compete against the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, the equation is not so simple for the upcoming season. The Celtics already have $132 million in committed salaries for the 2021-22 season. The cap situation will put pressure on the front office and they may have to offload some essential pieces before trying to sign new players.
The Cs still have assets to look for a big, narrative-altering move similar to the one that allowed them to land Garnett in 2007. Still, we'll have to wait and see if the Boston Celtics actually sign a big name this summer instead of just coming close.
As far as targets are concerned, there have been several reports of the Cs keeping an eye on Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. But that's not an eye-opener, since Beal is likely to be the top target of half of the teams in the NBA.
Nevertheless, Brad Stevens' team desperately needs to steer in the right direction for the upcoming season. Stevens' job might also be in danger going forward, so the future doesn't look so stable for the record champions.
The Boston Celtics could still make a run to the 2021 NBA Playoffs because they have a talented roster and are just two games behind fourth-placed Charlotte Hornets. However, the team might need an extreme makeover, and Danny Ainge needs to deliver. It's time for him to improve his resume as the Boston Celtics' president of basketball operations.