Danny Ainge spoke to The Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes about last June's blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets. In the interview, Ainge talked about why he decided to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and what he thinks about the decision now. He was even asked about the thought that this trade was a huge steal for Boston, and he called it a "gutsy move" by Brooklyn.
I thought it was a really gutsy move by Brooklyn. I admired it. I thought the way KG finished last year, and Paul - both of them looked like they had a lot of basketball left in them, as the season finished last year. And so, I felt that it was a good deal for both teams. Like, I wasn't able to put Joe Johnson and Deron Williams and Brook Lopez around Paul and KG. I wish I could have. They still would've been Celtics. But we weren't in that position, to become a contender, I don't think. I didn't think that Paul and KG could carry us like they had for the five or six years previous. We were a team, I felt, that was destined to mediocrity as opposed to excellence with those guys.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Q&A by clicking here.
Holmes did a great job prodding Ainge by asking the right questions, as he gave very candid responses. While, it's hard to tell through reading the text, Ainge appears to be completely happy with the result of this deal. He feels bad that the season in Brooklyn hasn't gone as well as planned for Pierce and Garnett, like all Celtics fans do, but there seems to be a bit of a justified tone in his words, as if to say, "I knew they didn't have that much left in the tank."
Danny's response to the final question in particular was quite interesting. When asked about how to properly judge a trade, he said that you can really only go by what you think is best for your franchise at the time. He says, "Whether it's making a trade for the advantage of salary, or making a trade to project a younger player into a bigger role that would've been difficult had you not made a trade."
It's easy to look at past draft picks or trades and say, "they should've done this or that," but really, the assessment at the time of a transaction is all that counts. In retrospect, most fans that disliked the trade at the time probably feel better about it now.
When Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett make their return to TD Garden tonight, fans will get the chance to thank them for all of their years with the Boston Celtics, no matter what they still think about the decision to trade them.