During the NBA's golden era, he was the volatile backcourt bad boy who once punched a seven-foot-one Tree Rollins, famously tussled with Michael Jordan, and purposely rifled an inbouds pass off of Mario Elie's face. Now, as GM of the Celtics, he looks like a shift manager at Staples, which means you're getting pretty damn old.
Danny is not what he appears to be. He looked like an innocent high school student coming into the league, but he didn't play like one. He may look like a shift manager at Staples now, but he acts like a ruthless gambler on a riverboat. He will do virtually anything to win another championship.
Trading Avery Bradley to acquire Gordon Hayward in free agency may have been a good move, but it was heartbreaking to so many of us. Speaking of heartbreaking, in the video below you can bypass the bit about John Salley with Busty Heart. Focus on the infamous Tree bites man portion. Does that look like an innocent high school kid to you? There is also mention of a Bob Ryan Boston Globe article about Danny titled The man they love to hate. Look for Doc Rivers in an Atlanta Hawks uniform. A lot of content in a 1:54 video.
Trading Isaiah Thomas after the death of his sister and great first-round playoff performance against the Chicago Bulls may have made good basketball sense, but it certainly lacked compassion. The death of Jae Crowder's mother coinciding with his shipment to Cleveland had to be devastating to Jae and his family.
So what is next for Danny Ainge? There is a roster spot open on the Celtics, and Tony Allen's name has been mentioned. Tony left the team in free agency, and Ainge has openly lamented the loss.
Boston took Allen at #25 in the 2004 NBA draft, immediately after choosing Delonte West at #24. I remember vividly that Danny stated he was looking for toughness in these two players. Tony has certainly shown that he has that quality. At 6'4" Allen can play both shooting guard and small forward, and would be employed as a wing in Brad Stevens' system. His shooting and decisions on offense have always been suspect, but his defense has not. He is a great defender, but a bit slower because of age and injuries. Like Marcus Smart he can guard almost anybody, and he might make for a sound addition at the veteran minimum.
To me, this sounds like too tame a move for Trader Danny. There is no drama, surprise or excitement about it. It is not a high risk-high reward type of action. It is not a gamble.
Danny and Brad probably feel that their ideal team would consist of players 6'4" to 6'10" that can play at least two of the ball handler/wing/big positions. That is part of the reason that Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley are gone. No one loved Avery and his game more than Ainge. The Bradley trade was a true sign that anything can happen, and probably will. Kyrie Irving, at 6'3", is in this mix because he is so damn talented. Terry Rozier at 6'2", despite his hustle and athleticism, could end up being on the trade block. Ainge is not done. There are certain players that Ainge covets, and he will plot and scheme to get them. There may be a low-cost free agent signing soon, but look for more trade action before the deadline.
There are only two ways to beat the Golden State Warriors. You either put together more talent than they have, or you defeat them with a coaching strategy that they can't handle. Ainge will try to do both. He will attempt to assemble an extremely talented team, while Brad develops a strategy that will be successful against the Warriors.
In the meantime, The Cleveland Cavaliers cannot be dismissed. Lebron James will not be heading to an assisted living facility anytime soon. He has the capacity to will his teams to victory seemingly by himself. And yes, he does have help and more is probably on the way.
Danny Ainge may be the man you love to hate, but he sure has done a great job transforming the Boston Celtics into winners again. But it may be time for a visit to Gamblers Anonymous.
It has been a Hell of a summer!
Top photo credit: Jessica Hill/AP
Bottom photo credit: Stan Crossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images