Danny Ainge Rumors
The Celtics will gather tomorrow at their practice facility in Waltham for Media Day. It is a perfectly fine home for the club, a private section of a larger building that includes a health club and medical facilities. But in the ever growing and modernizing NBA sphere, the footprint no longer measures up to the Celts’ needs. So, as announced earlier this year, the club is expecting to move into a new building at Boston Landing in 2018. Groundbreaking for the development, between the Bruins’ new practice rink and the New Balance Building hard by the Mass. Pike, will come later this fall.
In addition to more court space, the Celts will gain greater room for corporate and community functions, and be closer to the team’s downtown offices. But what will it mean to the product, to the people in sneakers? According to Danny Ainge, quite a bit. “It is a big deal,” said the Celts’ president of basketball operations. “It’s a big deal for our players, and it’ll be a big deal for our team to have two regulation courts. I mean, that’s probably the biggest thing. Our facility’s good now, but one court’s not enough. I mean, with 15 players, we need two courts. We don’t have enough space. We’re trying to build a better facility to become a better team. “But,” he added, “we won 17 banners with one court, so it’s not, like, mandatory.”
Everything changed when Celtics general manager Danny Ainge struck gold by acquiring Kevin Garnett, a 10-time All-Star and former league Most Valuable Player, from the Minnesota Timberwolves on July 31, 2007. Everything changed because Garnett wasn’t just an elite basketball player; he was also an elite leader, a man who shifted the culture of an entire organization in one fell swoop. “Very few players can affect an organization like Kevin did here in Boston, both on and off the court,” Ainge said Friday, the day of Garnett’s retirement from the NBA. “He led our team by example every day with his drive, his passion, and his relentless commitment to winning.”
“While always putting team ahead of individual,” Ainge said, “Kevin earned his place among the greatest players in Celtic and NBA history.” Garnett’s arrival in Boston changed everything for the Celtics. The lasting impact of his work ethic, his leadership and his team-first mentality still oozes from the walls of the team’s facility. He was the driving force behind the restoration of Celtic Pride, and that pride has not waned since his exit from the team during the summer of 2013.
“Sure, it’d be great to add a knock-down shooter, but you don’t want to change the identity of your team by sticking someone out there that doesn’t have that same defensive intensity and toughness that is the foundation of us being a good team,” he said. “It’s just not as simple as finding a second baseman and putting him in there. In basketball, you have to do a lot of things — pass, dribble, shoot, rebound, defend. That’s why we like Jaylen [Brown], as an example. He does a lot of things. It’s like Marcus isn’t your prototypical NBA point guard, but he can play 1 through 4. He’s in there playing a power forward in a playoff game and doing well. He’s a basketball player, and you can play him with a lot of different combinations of people. That’s what I like about our team. But, yeah, it would be nice to add a rim protector that didn’t hurt our offense. It would be nice to have a shooter that didn’t hurt our defense. But I feel like we have a lot of guys that are good shooters. But the kind of guys you’re talking about,” Ainge said, “those guys are hard to find.”
“We got a big addition in Al Horford. Got my guy Gerald Green coming back to Boston,” Thomas said. “I’m excited. I think we’ve got the right pieces to go forward. Danny Ainge and those [front office] guys, they might have a little bit more work to do but, at the same time, the group that we have, I’m excited about the opportunity to get together and get things going. I’m anxious to get a new season going because it should be a lot of excitement around here in Boston.”