Danny Ainge Rumors
Speaking last Friday on Celtics pregame live, the former NBA player recalled the conversation when trade talks were buzzing around the league which centers around the superstar. “I remember last year around this time when teams were calling about James Harden and Houston actually wanted Jaylen Brown,” Perkins said on the segment. “I was on the phone with Danny Ainge for an hour, and I remember how our conversation went. He was like, ‘Hey, Perk, would you trade Jaylen Brown for James Harden?’ And I was like, ‘Danny, you know how I feel about Jaylen Brown, but I would trade him for James Harden.’ He was like, ‘ Are you kidding me? He’s not going anywhere. He’s not even 25 and he keeps getting better.’
What were your first impressions of Paul when you took the Celtics president of basketball operations job in 2003? Danny Ainge: I was not in love with the Celtics roster but I was in love with Paul. I loved everything about him. I loved how hard he played, how much he loved to play. It was hard to find anything wrong with Paul. Just a young player who had wonderful upside. On top of his talent, he just had a great mentality and mindset, a great competitor.
Given Paul’s talent and the Celtics team situation when you took the job, how much pressure did you feel during the Celtics rebuild to try to build a team around him in time to maximize his prime? Danny Ainge: I think everybody knows the story in 2007. When Paul got hurt, we sat down with Paul and discussed with him that we felt that he had been a great teammate, a great solider for the Celtics and he deserved an opportunity to win and we were going to do everything we could to try to put a winning team together. If we couldn’t, then we would try to move on to a different place but our goal was try to put a team around him.
Is there a specific moment or story that will stick out to you the most during Paul’s enshrinement this weekend? Danny Ainge: We had a moment where after the Ray and KG deal was done, that Paul and I had maybe our most special moment, maybe even more than the championship we had a year later. He just appreciated what we had just done. He was so excited, I’ve never seen him more excited than that when we got Ray and KG. He was just like a rookie being drafted in the NBA and that was after a pretty tough year with the team, etc. He just wasn’t sure we could pull it off and he showed his appreciation that day and we embraced and said, ‘Let’s get it done.’ That was probably the memory I have of Paul more than anything else. He took the time to appreciate it because he knew it wasn’t easy.