Danny Ainge: "We want to keep Isaiah."
Now that the Celtics season has come to a close the questions about the future of the franchise have moved to the forefront. With the 1st-overall selection in the upcoming draft and with some flexibility to add some pieces via free agency or trade the possibilities are endless for Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office when it comes to improving the team. Ainge was on Toucher and Rich Friday morning and he admitted that there could be some significant changes to the C's roster next season, but based on his comments yesterday it would seem that Isaiah Thomas is in the long term plans.
Asked about whether this team would be able to stay together after next season when the contracts of several key players, including Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart will be up Ainge said there will be plenty of room to keep everyone, but he specifically mentioned keeping Isaiah. Via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
“Yeah, we can fit everybody in,” said Ainge. “But, listen, those are questions that I don’t even have answers for yet. That’s part of the difficult puzzle that is all hard.
“All I’m saying is those are things I have to worry about that even I don’t like to think about. And I know that those are going to be difficult decisions at some point. But we want to keep Isaiah."
Ainge went on to highlight the special season that Thomas had this past year, and scoffed at anyone that thinks Thomas couldn't be a key piece on a championship team:
“All I know is that he’s had an amazing year, and who doesn’t want Isaiah Thomas on their team? Like, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Listen, Isaiah has had one of the most impressive seasons in Celtics history in so many ways with what he was able to accomplish,” Ainge said. “I don’t know why people can’t see that."
Obviously Ainge isn't going to devalue his players under contract by saying anything but positive things about them, but it speaks volumes to me how passionate he was talking about Isaiah. He mentioned they "have room for everybody", and although that may be true right now it's not going to be the case if the Celtics can get their hands on another star either in free agency or via trade, which is what the plan going forward seems to be. Even the addition of Markelle Fultz through the draft would require an additional move to thin an already crowded Celtics backcourt.
So while there's room for everyone right now that's not likely to be the case in the near future, but it sure seems like Ainge plans on Thomas being on board going forward.
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