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Party Like Its 1988?

Ainge to Red - you gotta trade these guys!
Ainge to Red - you gotta trade these guys!

Some interesting (if oft-repeated) quotes in the Eagle Tribune that shed light on why Danny is apparently busy looking around the league for deals.

Why break up a contender? Look no further than the painful end of the Larry Bird Era.

After losing in the finals in 1987 to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games, the beginning of the end was near. Like now, there was an aging Big 3.

"I lived it. I was there," said Ainge. "In 1988, I sensed that the era was over. Larry had two Achilles' heel injuries. Kevin (McHale) had a bad back and screws in his foot. And Robert (Parish) was nearing the end."

Then-Celtics president Red Auerbach either didn't sense the same thing or let his loyalties get the best of him. Or both.

"The funny thing was that at Christmas Party in 1988, I remember talking to Red, with Larry and Kevin right there, saying 'Why don't you make this deal for Larry? Why don't you make that deal for Kevin?''' recalled Ainge. "I even brought up my name. But that was a difficult time. The (death of 1986 top pick) Len Bias still was a little bit of a cloud on the organization."

By the time the 1990s started it was too late. The Big Three were The Old Three and ushered in a 15-year era in which the C's were perennial also-rans.

Ainge is looking at 2009 as 1988.

"I never feel we're good enough," said Ainge. "I obviously don't want to do bad deals. But we're always looking to get better and we'll make a deal if we believe we can."

The Celtics may be trying to create cap space for the 2010 offseason, when Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James will be free agents.

LeBron to Boston, sure, it sounds crazy. But so was Garnett.

The moral of the story is Ainge is not sitting on his laurels.

"I wasn't afraid of taking the last shot when I played and I'm not afraid to do something if I think it will help us in the long run," said Ainge. "The goal is to win championships."

If recent history is our barometer, don't we have to trust him?


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