Danny Ainge still taking the blame in defense of Kyrie Irving for some reason
While the Celtics have improved after the departure of Kyrie Irving and the Nets worsened this season(only to then improve once Kyrie got injured) and almost everyone now sees that Kyrie Irving was the main issue with the 2018-19 Celtics, Danny Ainge is still taking the blame for the Celtics underachieving last season. The Nets are coming to town tonight and surprise surprise, Kyrie won't be coming with, but it was supposed to be a marquee match-up, so Rachel Nicols interviewed Ainge in preparation:
"I do think it was my fault."
1-on-1 with Danny Ainge on what went wrong last year with Kyrie, how the front office pivoted to find an even better fit in Kemba Walker, and how his time with Larry Bird & Kevin McHale affected his reaction to Gordon Hayward's latest injury. pic.twitter.com/uw3gz5viVx
One can assume by Ainge's comments he regrets not thinning the roster last season by trading Terry Rozier and probably Marcus Morris as well. Ainge is right on that front. He did make Brad's job very tough by providing such a deep roster with too many players demanding major roles. And I understand that nothing good would come of Ainge throwing Kyrie under the bus. He still has to deal with the fallout of trading Isaiah Thomas and doesn't want Kyrie bad mouthing the organization in return.
Side bar here: What were the Celtics supposed to do with Isaiah? Just pay him the max and sabotage the team for the next 5 years? One way or another, Isaiah's Boston tenure was going to end. Ainge traded him to the reigning Eastern Conference champion. He didn't do him dirty. Isaiah if he was a max worthy player would have thrived in one of his future homes (Cavs, Lakers, Nuggets). I loved Isaiah on the Celtics. I'm sure Orlando fans loved Penny Hardaway on the Magic. But players get injured or old and it's up to front offices to not overpay them after their primes. The Celtics would have been idiots to max out Isaiah. /side bar.
Ok back to Kyrie. Another reason why Ainge can take the heat for last season instead of Irving is because Ainge has some of the best if not best job security in the league. Ainge has been running the show for 15 years. He's won only one title, which never would have cut it in the Celtics organization in years past. He also has a very poor record at drafting all-stars. Yes lots of GM's miss in the draft. It's an inexact science. But those guys also eventually lose their jobs. Ainge obviously is not a "bad" GM. The Celtics have been a competitive team more often than not under his leadership. And who knows, maybe Romeo Langford turns into a superstar and Grant Williams becomes a shorter armed Draymond Green.
Point is Ainge has steel clad job security, so he can take the blame for last season without worrying about repercussions. But let's be real, Kyrie Irving was the "leader" who could have led the C's to the Finals last season and he failed miserably. He's most to blame. Celtics fans haven't booed Danny Ainge for last season. They were planning on booing Kyrie tonight. Irving is conveniently injured.