Last week we took a look at what would happen if the Celtics decided to trade Isaiah Thomas, and today we have a similar situation where the future of the franchise could be altered due to a quick decision.
The Boston Celtics are a model franchise. With a stable ownership, savvy and intelligent management, and a die-hard fan-base, the Celtics are simply the embodiment of greatness.
As mentioned before, one of the clear advantages the Celtics have over many of the teams in the NBA is their management, and it all starts with the man making all the tough decisions that everyone criticizes the second they are made: Danny Ainge.
Danny Ainge’s career with the Celtics goes way back to his playing days, as he was one of the many Celtics greats to play alongside legendary players like Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish. He was essentially one of the Celtics’ primary guards, taking up shooting guard duties alongside play-maker Dennis Johnson. And while many people credit Bird as one of the best shooters of all time, Ainge was a big part of all of their championship runs during the 80’s.
However, the most notable accomplishments that came out of Ainge’s career may have come in his days as a General Manager of the Celtics. The biggest moves, of course, were the trades that brought Kevin Garnett and sharpshooter Ray Allen to the Celtics and brought banner 17 to the Celtics during their 2008 run against the Kobe led Los Angeles Lakers.
But, like everything in life, good things must come to an end, and Celtics fans have to wonder: What if Danny Ainge decided to retire?
In this scenario, the Celtics reach the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets after a tough series against the Cavaliers during the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics, who fought hard to get to the Finals, see their opportunity and take it, as their defensive intensity overtakes James Harden and his 3-point shooting squad. After the 18th Banner is raised to the rafters, Danny Ainge sees his chance to go out on top, retiring and leaving the Celtics somewhat confused on their management future.
Ainge, however, reassures the Celtics he has the perfect candidate for the job and vouches hard for… Austin Ainge.
Austin, who by this point has an extensive resume of coaching with the Maine Red Claws and scouting for the Boston Celtics , takes the reigns from his father and promises to keep the legacy of the Boston Celtics going. His first order of business? The decision regarding Isaiah Thomas and the Brooklyn pick, who turns out to be the first pick in the 2017 draft.
Austin decides to keep Isaiah Thomas and opts to trade the top pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the 3rd pick and 2 future first rounders. Ainge then drafts former Kansas Jay-hawk Josh Jackson, essentially sealing the fate of forward Jae Crowder. Now with a much improved athletic lineup, Ainge goes into the season with a similar lineup, albeit a bit younger. He then manages to lure away prized free agent Blake Griffin from the Clippers, and prepares his team for a much expected repeat.
Needless to say, Danny Ainge is the mastermind behind every decision the Celtics make, so as fans we should really appreciate the fact that we have arguably the best general manager in basketball. He has built this team up to the top, just to see it fall down, and then built it up again. If his successor can replicate any of the success Danny had, the Celtics could be looking at another dominant era in NBA Basketball.