Simmons podcast: 60 minutes with Ainge
September, 6, 2013
AP Photo/Steven SenneGrantland’s Bill Simmons had Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge on his B.S. Report podcast earlier this week, talking for more than an hour about a variety of topics.
Here are our top 10 takeaways from the interview (listen to it yourself HERE)
1. Update on Rondo: Ainge was asked by Simmons when fans can expect to see Rondo (rehabbing after an ACL tear) back on the court playing for the Celtics.
"I’m not sure [when Rondo will be back],” Ainge said. “Rondo was working out [Tuesday] with all the guys. He’s not near 100 percent yet, but he’s out doing shooting drills and ball-handling drills. I really don’t have a date yet. We want to be careful with him, obviously. He’s hungry and anxious. I like the communication that’s going on between him and Brad [Stevens]. I think Rondo is looking forward to this stage of his career and, obviously he has to get healthy, but I think he really likes the challenge that’s ahead of him."
2. Rondo rumors: Why there seems to always be so many trade rumors involving Rondo, whom Ainge called a “very special player.”
3. Doc’s departure: Was Ainge disappointed with how Doc Rivers’ exit played out?
"I understand the Clippers have much more to offer right now than we do on the court,” Ainge said. “I just thought that Doc wanted to participate with me and Wyc [Grousbeck] and Pags [Stephen Pagliuca] in continuing to try to rebuild this thing as we had done before. But at the same time understand that that's not fun, and that’s not fun on coaches.
“Once Doc made that clear that that was something he was interested in, I think we had a very rational and reasonable conversation and if there could be a situation that would work for everybody that we would consider doing that. That's when we started that conversation, when he let it be known that that was something he would consider and that he really didn’t have a desire to rebuild."
Ainge also said he didn’t think it was fair to say Rivers quit on the Celtics, adding he would be the first one to give him a standing ovation when he returns as an opposing coach.
4. Departures of KG and Pierce: Ainge discussed how the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets went down. He also reflected on what Pierce meant to the Celtics. "I think Paul is one of the best offensive Celtics of all time,” Ainge told Simmons.
5. Ainge’s outlook for this season’s Celtics.
6. Reflections on rebuilding: "Right now there are a lot of teams that are trying to get younger. Half the teams in the league, their main objective is not winning a championship this year but accumulating assets and moving forward. Everybody wants to be that team that's in the hunt for a championship each year. We hope to able to rebuild to be that team."
7. Why he hired Brad Stevens to lead the rebuilding.
8. Reminiscing about the mid-80s Celtics teams he was a part of.
9. Reflections on the six-year run (‘08-’13) of the new Big Three: What’s the toughest “what if”? Ainge: "Losing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of an NBA Finals (in 2010) I think was probably the toughest. Even though we weren’t 100 percent -- we didn’t have [Kendrick] Perkins -- I thought that that was the best basketball we played, actually, including 2008 [when they won an NBA title].
“I think the best we played in the six-year stretch was the Cleveland series and the Orlando series and the early part of the Lakers series of 2010.
10. Family matter: What it’s like to work with his son Austin, who is the team's director of player personnel.