Ainge expects KG & Doc back, but "more than one player away" from contending

USA TODAY Sports

On his weekly call with WEEI, Danny Ainge gave us a glimpse of what the off-season might look like, but cautioned fans that the team is far away from a championship run.

It may have been Danny's way of forgiving the team for a lackluster run this year or it could be a hint of an off-season of major upheaval in the coming months, but Danny didn't mince words when it came to the future of the franchise:

Danny Ainge Says Celtics Are ‘More Than One Player Away' From NBA Championship

"We're more than one player away, unless it's a great player," Ainge said. "It'll be tough to become a championship team from where we are." While Ainge reiterated that he expects Rajon Rondo to be ready for the start of training camp, he had no updates on Garnett other than his hunch. Ainge will give Garnett about a week to "chill" before touching base with the 36-year-old big man about his future. Garnett is signed through 2015.

However, he was confident that Doc and KG would be back and said that Paul Pierce has "a lot of basketball left in him." Is that GM-speak for "if there's anybody that wants to trade for a reliable 35-year-old vet who can still play, I'm listening" or "Paul Pierce is still a cornerstone for our team and he's going to retire a Celtic?" As always, Danny was cagey in his interview and it's up to us bloggers and fans to read between the lines.

He also dispelled the Stephen A. Smith rumors about a possible trade with the Clippers and the outrageous allegations that there's a rift between GM and coach. He called Doc "the best coach in the NBA," but not necessarily the best golfer ("after a couple 92's on the golf course, he usually comes back").

The question remains though: if Boston isn't championship contenders right now, what moves can Danny make to push them in the right direction? That was his last appearance on WEEI and with Doc on a golf course somewhere and KG doing yoga in Malibu, it's probably radio silence for the next few weeks while the NBA playoffs continue without the Celtics.

One other bit of news as the Celtics close the book on 2012-2013:

Molly McGrath is leaving Celtics.com to join Fox Sports 1 in August. Best of luck, Molly.

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