As the Celtics battle through year two of their rebuild, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made it be known that he is in for the long haul as he tries to bring the franchise back to the top of the NBA throne.
Ainge certainly has had his faults in his tenure as C's General Manager. Questionable draft picks, the trade for Jeff Green, as well as botching the Tony Allen negotiations are all transactions I'm sure he would love to do over. However his eagerness to push the needle may be what makes him the right guy for this difficult job.
I feel like I love what we’re doing. I think that we have a big task and a real challenge ahead of us, and I love the challenge. I’m ready for the long haul, and we’re prepared to do it as quickly as we can. But I’m also ready to do it the long way of developing players into a good team. From my standpoint, I’m enjoying it.I love what I do. I love the people I work with, and I think we just all take it a year at a time. But right now I’m looking at it as a phase. I plan on being here for a while, and I plan on Brad (Stevens) being our coach for a while, and I plan on us turning this thing around.
Ainge has shown the fearlessness to explore any road when building his team, even if the direction isn't popular in the eyes of the public. As was the case when he moved fan favorites like Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, as well as Celtic legend, Paul Pierce.
Trading Pierce was probably the hardest decision he has had to make. But it may be his best work yet.
He emphasized to Bulpett that he still has the desire for the gig, even after 12 years of running the team:
I think so. It really invigorates you. It’s a challenge. And it’s always a challenge, whether you’re a good team or a bad team. Like right now we’re sort of in between. We’ve got some good young players, and there’s a lot of good things that I see on the horizon. It’s just hard for some people to picture the success, but I see the success on the horizon and I love the challenge of building a championship team.
The comments from Ainge are music to the ears of those who believe in his plan for the future. Being able to raise another banner starts with a set of brass balls and the willingness to take chances. Ainge built a championship team once, and is fighting hard to do it again.
Even with all the ups and downs, the two-time NBA champion as player for the Celtics doesn't sound like someone who wants to give up the job anytime soon:
I never think of that.I think of just doing my job and doing the best I can to get us better. That’s all I ever think about. I mean, I know at some point my job will end, but I love what I do. I don’t think I’ve ever changed. I mean, I’ve never felt like the end is close. I’ve never felt like that or contemplated that. I know that it’s not forever, but, again, I really do enjoy my job, mostly because I enjoy the people I work for and I enjoy the people I work with.