Throwback Thursday: Rick Pitino emphatically tells everyone who is not behind door #1
Ah fun times. Pitino was right. Not even one of the Big 3 walked through that door. No Larry. No Kevin. No Robert. Eventually Rick the Ruler quit and went back to college, while his assistant Jim O'Brien took over. O'Brien did an admirable job coaching the very young Antoine/Pierce Celtics and even got them within striking distance of the NBA Finals. But then as has been a consistent for the Celtics throughout the 2000'a they let a key free agent go in Rodney Rogers and regressed the next season after trading Kenny Anderson and Vitaly Potapenko for Rogers' replacement in Vinny Baker.
He wasn't one of the Big 3, but 1980's Danny Ainge did in fact walk through that door and O'Brien and almost all of that remaining team were sent packing. Ainge had the luxury of building on a franchise centerpiece in a young Paul Pierce and eventually the Celtics were back on top after a few down years. Of course that 2008 championship team also let a key player James Posey walk for greener pastures. One wonders if Posey even a lesser version of himself could have helped those next couple of Celtics teams. Not sure what he still had in the tank in 2010, but the smallest help likely would have gotten the Celtics past the Lakers in that Finals.
Now we wait to see who Danny trades for to replace Gordon Hayward the latest Celtics free agent to walk out the door. One thing is for sure is the fans that want Brad Stevens to be replaced with more of a screamer won't be getting a 2nd act of Pitino on the bench.