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The Honeymoon's Over

Mark down this day folks. April 29th is officially the last day of Danny Ainge’s honeymoon. Sure he was booed early in the season and criticized throughout the year. But nothing compared to what will befall him if he doesn’t produce now. He’s had scapegoats all along, and he’s systematically eliminated each of them from the organization. The last of the old guard were Carroll, Blount, and McCarty. With the slightly possible exception of McCarty, none will be back next year. Pierce is a made-man so he doesn’t count. I don’t pretend that he’s untouchable, but I put the odds of him not being back somewhere between slim and none.

So this is it. His vision is coming into focus. He has "his" guys in place. He has all his knights, bishops, rooks, and pawns set up. Now that the pesky season and playoffs are over, he can start the GM’s version of the playoffs, the offseason. While his legacy has already been defined by this last year of roster overhaul, what he does in the next few months will determine his fate.

Hiring Doc Rivers is a bold move. Doc is every sportswriter’s best buddy. You can almost make a case that this hire was in part, a publicity move. Celtics fans are already rinsing the bad taste of the playoff sweep out of their mouth with this fresh new face that was once voted Coach of the Year. From what I hear, Doc and Ainge are close friends and share an offensive gameplan vision. Doc took this job knowing full well what kind of meddlesome GM Ainge has been thus far. Perhaps he knows that if he’s on Ainge’s good side, he’ll get anything and everything he wants. Perhaps he got a promise from Danny that he would back off since Doc is "his" guy and he trusts him to an extent that he didn’t trust the Pitino-clones. Who knows? Here’s hoping it works one way or another. But Danny can’t blame the coach anymore. This is his hire and Danny will have to answer to the public if Doc fails.

The honeymoon is over Danny. If you thought they booed you before, just wait and see what happens if you don’t hit for the cycle this offseason (coach, draft, expansion draft, free agents, trades).