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Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Think tank?

By ESPNBoston.com

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is adamant his team is not tanking next season. But would Boston fans be upset if they did?

After bidding farewell to coach Doc Rivers and, soon, to a veteran core helmed by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics have waded into the murky rebuilding waters. With nine first-round draft picks over the next five seasons, Ainge believes his team has the assets to accelerate the process, but sometimes the quickest route back to being a contender involves bottoming out.

What's perceived as a loaded 2013-14 draft class makes the less-than-ideal tanking route somewhat more attractive to those willing to leave their fate to ping-pong balls. However, Ainge told the Boston Globe on Monday, "We are not tanking. That's ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics."

Call it what you want, the Celtics didn't win a lot of games during the 1996-97 season (with hopes of landing Tim Duncan) and again during the 2006-07 campaign (with Greg Oden and Kevin Durant the prizes). Both times, the ping-pong balls of the draft lottery betrayed Boston.

Perhaps with that in mind, Ainge has admitted there are no guarantees in the rebuilding process and expressed skepticism in the idea of tanking.

"There's no time frame [when rebuilding]," Ainge said. "Everybody wants to hear that [it will be quick, but] it takes time. ... Our hope is to accumulate a lot of draft picks and younger players. We have a core group of guys that we are really excited about and developing and continuing to watch their growth as the responsibility and expectations for them grow without the veteran players that have been so special for us the last six years."

Your turn: Should the Celtics tank next season? Is a loss-filled season worth enduring for the chance to further accelerate the rebuilding process? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section.