Danny Ainge on Paul Pierces legacy and the rumored industry that by no means was once
When Danny Ainge elected to make the transfer from broadcasting to Bostons entrance place of work in 2003, Paul Pierce was once the largest explanation why. The younger All-Star had carried an underwhelming Celtics squad to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 and was once simply getting into his top as Ainge took keep an eye on of the franchise.
For the following 4 years, Ainge labored to construct a contender round a franchise cornerstone in Pierce, atmosphere the degree for a ten-year run in combination that featured six directly playoff appearances, 3 journeys to the Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA identify. Pierce was once wholesome for all of the ones runs however some higher damage success amongst his teammates most likely would have produced no less than yet one more identify for the franchise.
With Pierce set to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, Ainge spoke completely with MassLive on Pierces profession, their bond and the rumored industry that by no means was once.
What had been your first impressions of Paul whilst you took the Celtics president of basketball operations activity in 2003?
I used to be no longer in love with the Celtics roster however I used to be in love with Paul. I cherished the entirety about him. I cherished how arduous he performed, how a lot he cherished to play. It was once arduous to seek out the rest unsuitable with Paul. Just a tender participant who had glorious upside. On peak of his ability, he simply had a perfect mentality and mindset, a perfect competitor.
Given Pauls ability and the Celtics group state of affairs whilst you took the activity, how a lot drive did you’re feeling all over the Celtics rebuild to check out to construct a group round him in time to maximise his top?
I believe everyone is aware of the tale in 2007. When Paul were given harm, we sat down with Paul and mentioned with him that we felt that he have been a perfect teammate, a perfect solider for the Celtics and he deserved a chance to win and we had been going to do the entirety shall we to check out to place a successful group in combination. If we couldnt, then we’d attempt to transfer on to another position however our purpose was once attempt to put a group round him.
Do you suppose the early a part of Pauls profession (sooner than the industry for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen) is underrated in hindsight?
He undoubtedly wasnt underrated to us. Was he underrated across the league? Maybe, as a result of other folks simply suppose successful — I take a look at one of the most biggest gamers of all time, like Steve Nash, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton, Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, proper on down the listing of the top-50 gamers within the recreation who didnt win. I undoubtedly dont underrate Paul within the early years. I took the activity as a result of I assumed he was once particular and he was once. Not simply the ability, however the traits of labor ethic, his like to play basketball, his pastime for the sport, his competitiveness and on peak of that, Paul was once a low upkeep participant.
Paul would come as much as my place of work and we might communicate team of workers periodically, however I imply he wasnt a top upkeep man. He was once no longer stuck up within the drama or character conflicts. He was once a man who didnt in reality get entangled with the ones problems and stayed at the facet and preferred all of his teammates and handled all of them neatly. He didnt in reality pick out aspects when there have been battles internally.
I admire that he was once low upkeep and he simply sought after to play basketball. I heard the ball bouncing within the follow facility in Waltham at nighttime a lot of occasions and I glance out my window and its simply Paul dribbling and enjoying basketball or 1-on-1 or running on some footwork. I cherished that about him.
Do you admire him being a low-maintenance megastar extra in hindsight, in particular after youve gathered extra revel in as an govt?
Yeah. Im no longer announcing Paul was once a super participant or a super individual or an angel. Im announcing he was once no longer top upkeep for me to regulate. I dont suppose he was once in most cases too tricky to train. He was once a man who practiced at all times, he hardly overlooked follow. His pastime for the sport was once the overriding issue, together with his ability, after all. He was once a talented participant.
Is there a selected second or tale that may stick out to you essentially the most all over Pauls enshrinement this weekend?
We had a second the place after the Ray and KG deal was once completed, that Paul and I had perhaps our maximum particular second, perhaps much more than the championship we had a 12 months later. He simply preferred what we had simply completed. He was once so excited, Ive by no means noticed him extra excited than that once we were given Ray and KG. He was once similar to a rookie being drafted within the NBA and that was once after a horny difficult 12 months with the group, and so forth. He simply wasnt certain shall we pull it off and he confirmed his appreciation that day and we embraced and stated, Lets get it completed. That was once most likely the reminiscence I’ve of Paul greater than anything. He took the time to realize it as a result of he knew it wasnt simple.
Marc Cuban tweeted previous this week that the Mavericks had a deal to procure Pierce after Bostons 2008 identify however a 3rd group pulled out on the final minute. Did you guys come on the subject of dealing Paul sooner than the Nets blockbuster?
We had been by no means on the subject of buying and selling Paul in that point. That by no means took place. I dont have any recollection of that. I dont imagine it ever took place. I do know that we by no means have a industry name involving Paul Pierce. I do know that not anything ever were given shut. There was once some dialog in there however we had been by no means on the subject of buying and selling Paul at the moment. We had been seeking to win championships then. Paul was once the captain of our group. I dont in reality know what Marc is relating to however that didnt occur.
How appreciative are you that Paul was once keen to help you deal him when the Nets deal got here up in the summertime of 2013 and helped to permit you the franchise up for the following technology?
I if truth be told idea it was once a excellent deal for Paul, KG and us. I believe they got here to the similar conclusion however they needed to be keen to take part in that, in a different way that deal shouldn’t have took place. Paul jokes round that he is helping us get a championship, which he did. Im at all times thankful for Paul and KG for being keen to try this industry that did assist us get a jumpstart at the subsequent alternative. We wouldnt have Jaylen and Jayson with out that.
Paul spoke this week about seeking to mend fences with Ray Allen and different participants of the 2008 identify group. Are you hopeful that may occur?
Im happy that they’re. They will have to. I am hoping that it will occur. Whether it occurs or no longer, Im happy Paul is making an attempt to make that occur.