With the trade deadline coming and going, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge chose to keep his roster as-is. Marquee players were rumored to be available for trade, and the Celtics were linked to most of them. Stars such as DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Andre Drummond, and Paul George.
The Celtics hold the Brooklyn Nets first round pick in this year’s draft, which could be the no. 1 overall pick. The Celtics also hold Brooklyn’s first-round pick as their own in 2018. So with all of these assets collected, how could Danny Ainge be on the hot seat?
The Celtics have been known for a franchise destined to compete for a championship yearly. It is in their franchise DNA. Yes, they are achieving success this year and getting it done with the players Ainge has acquired throughout the years. However, they are still outmatched by the Eastern Conference powerhouse that is Cleveland.
Ainge has failed to pull the trigger on a trade to lure in superstars like George and Butler, due to his belief in the players that he has now as well as the players that will be acquired via the draft or free agency. Ainge was beyond reluctant to send away players like Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley at the trade deadline. By failing to bring in players like Butler and George, the Celtics missed their chance to be the hunted rather than the hunter in the East.
Fellow Basketball Society writer B.J Boyer was quoted as saying, “If you’re in this position, you go and get that guy. With Kevin Love and J.R. Smith hurt, Cleveland is limping right now. We also see Toronto making tweaks…I don’t know, I would’ve gone for it.”
It makes sense with Cleveland showing signs of weakness and vulnerability, to trade these assets and make a hard push for the title by acquiring a player like George or Butler, especially with everybody else around the NBA seemingly making moves to get better. Ainge cannot expect to have Isiah Thomas and Al Horford defeat these super teams alone. They need help.
If the Celtics keep these picks and the players currently on their roster and do not obtain at least an Eastern Conference championship appearance, it will not look good for Ainge. One might look back on this trade deadline as a make or break point for Ainge, when he could have brought in a superstar, and possibly question his future as the Celtics GM.