What were Ainge's mistakes and what should he have done?
By - Eaglewings45
A lot of it is bad luck - losing hayward, kyrie going nuts.
I think one of the biggest mistakes he made was not trading terry rozier at the end of 18. I understand the thought process of having a solid back up for kyrie who was oft injured so I don’t blame ainge for not making the trade, but looking back we could’ve traded rozier when his value was super high.
That being said, I think we also fucked up in getting for Kemba. He had a fantastic first season but imo a small pg that’s older is just not the right move. I think there was a bit of a panic from losing Al, kyrie, rozier, morris that offseason even if some of those were expected, which caused them to pull the trigger on Kemba. Looking back, if we could’ve gotten some depth/maybe a big man, things might have turned out differently.
I do think the biggest blemish on ainges record over the last few years is the drafting. That 2019 draft where we traded back to pick Edwards, gave up a pick to dump Baynes, and drafted grant was mistake after mistake. Ik drafting his hard and a couple fuck ups in the late first/early second shouldn’t be how we define ainge but if we could’ve packaged those picks or something, we could’ve gotten a real asset
To play devil's advocate here, dumping Baynes and trading back gave them the flexibility to sign Kemba and Horford has said that he would have stayed if he had known about Kemba coming. That makes the deal Baynes and minor picks for Al and the ability to sign-and-trade for Kemba. Doesn't seem like a bad deal to me. It just didn't work out because Al didn't want to back out of the terms he had agreed to with Philly.
held onto Rozier and Morris in 2019 when they should've been traded. there needed to be SOME kind of trade in 2019 involving them just to shake up the locker room dynamics which was cataclysmically bad
Scrolled through to see if anyone else had already said this. You are spot on.
I like where your heart is, but your conclusions don't really shake out.
1. Hayward was 100% worthy of that contract. Did you watch that preseason? GH was one of the best off-ball players in the league, and Bradball was all about off-ball guys making things happen. Add another one of those in Horford and we had the makings for incredible things - if the Handler didn't have a play, he'd have at least 2 options in short order, and GH was great with D switches as well. It was *a beautiful dream*, but GH's ankle said no.
2. The IT4 'bad rep' thing is overblown. IT should have been medically shut down before his hip got that bad, but they weren't forcing him onto the floor at gunpoint. IT4 is an all-time fave for me, but he made his bed by constantly hinting about max contracts and what he was owed. And AD was never coming to BOS without at least one Jay leaving, after which he was going to LAD no matter what - AD was a nice dream the year prior, but when the time came, zero % chance we should have gone for him.
3. Kemba is a much better player than Rozier, bad health has been bad luck (although there's always a high danger with his type at his age). Kemba absolutely torched us a few years ago when Kyrie was missing key shots - and we needed that chemistry change and no one in the league is a better fix than Kemba. Both he and GH were absolute team guys until the very end, when the trade talks started and they felt slighted. Let me tell you (I've spent half my life around pro athletes), getting injured like that never feels like your fault, it feels like the team should MF'ing support you til the end, not just write you off and bitch about having to pay you.
Danny made PLENTY of mistakes. But his poor draft misses were almost always missed by others too... his lack of movement at key points was that other teams just didn't want to make moves either most of the time... and going for Kyrie was a no-brainer at the time that every GM would have gone for, and once we were in, we were in.
He dodged his biggest mistake ever and thats trading the Jaylen Brown pick and 5 other draft picks (3 first rounders/2 2nd rounders for Justice Winslow.
Just think if he made that trade. What was he thinking?
Thank god Michael Jordan is dumb.
We really lucked out.
I don't think it was ever Brown though.
It was 6 picks (four 1sts and two 2nds) but we actually had those comfortably without touching any key draft picks.
2015 - #16 (Rozier)
2015 - #28 (Hunter)
2016 - #16 (Yabusele)
2016 - #23 (Zizic)
The 2nd round picks would have been two of the five 2nd round picks we had in 2016. We later traded #31 and #35 (how we got #20 in 2019).
Remember in 2016 Danny was saying he didn't want to make six draft picks ever again.
In 2015 he was likely trying to offload all the extra picks we had. With Rozier being the only decent pick affected.
> I don't think it was ever Brown though.
[Zach Lowe reported](https://grantland.com/the-triangle/good-charlotte-the-hornets-and-the-sliding-scale-of-nba-mediocrity/) a month after the draft that an unprotected Brooklyn pick was offered. To be fair to Ainge, at the time nobody knew that the Nets were about to buy out Deron Williams and Prokhorov was going to stop spending money.
Yeah the biggest mistake to me was not consolidating all that draft capital.
In hindsight Winslow would have been the wrong guy to do it for but we threw away valuable picks on guys like yabusele because we literally didn’t have a roster spot for all our draft picks.
common misconception to think the nets picks were involved. It was not the JB pick, it wasnt any of the 2016,17,18 nets picks
people forget, we had an insane amount of draft capital
Yes it was. Zach Lowe has reported this many times
Excuse me can someone elaborate on this lol
Ainge wanted Winslow and offer 6 picks to the teams drafting 4 and after because he wanted Winslow. One of the NETS picks was part of that trade. It was 4 1st rounders and 2 2nd rounders.
Not catching Hayward in the air when he went for the alley-oop
That's fucked up 😂😂😂
i hated the kemba signing; it was short sighted and reactionary. i wanted him to go after brogdon and randle. not sure if he could have signed both but what a different team this would be if he did.
I wanted brogdon too at about the level he signed for in Indiana. Would have fit better with the team than kemba despite not being as good at self creation. Ainge loves him some little guards like himself. Reminds me of Elton brand stocking up on bigs.
Ainge is 6’5
Your mom is 6’5”
Hayward absolutely deserved a max at the time.
He had his first allstar after a career year and his first time avg 20. He was goin to get a max because of the market but ive never seen hayward play at a level that deserves 30m. Just my opinion.
His last year with the Jazz was pretty awesome.
He was balling and getting better. Not to mention physically dominant. If he doesn’t get injured, we wouldn’t be having this convo right now.
I think he topped out in a contract year similar to Kemba. Ppl get overpayed every year, like al horford. Brad got his guy tho.
He literally snapped his leg within 5 minutes, of the contract. what evidence could you possibly have that he "topped out" at age 26?
He was a well rounded wing that could play make, shoot and also attack the rim and get to the line.
We never got to see that athleticism again
Hayward wasnt then and still isnt a top 20 player. Im fine with the downvotes. Yes he had overall skill, good player. He was never on a paul george level. Who also snapped his leg. This is why the Jazz replaced him with a rookie donovan Mitchell and it made a 3 win difference.
Top 20 players aren't the only players that deserve the max. I mean, there are 30 teams out there, there is room for at least 30 maxes. Hayward was a top 30 player in his final year in Utah. He was extremely similar to PG13/Butler in terms of stats.
Ill give you top 30.
If you’re just looking at the points you’re missing like 60% of Hayward’s value.
His court vision, ball handling, and decision making at his size is like having a second point guard on the floor at a forward position.
If he had stayed healthy he would have easily been worth the contract.
"he was goin[g] to get a max because of the market" = he deserves a max. That's how markets work.
Not at all.
this is a persuasive argument, and I have been totally convinced you are right
Good. Not every player that receives a max deserves a max. Didnt think that needed to be debated.
I'm curious - who, specifically, decides if a player deserves a max?
Kemba. It was a panic move. As soon as it was clear that Kyrie was ditching us and Horford was chasing the money, we should have committed to the Jays completely. Use the cap space to sign some good fitting vets around them for 1-2 years instead of wasting it all on 4 years of Kemba who had never won anything in his career, was undersized, and had an injury history. That way, we would have maintained cap flexibility, had more tradeable contracts, and honestly would have been a better team all around with more depth.
The Kemba signing screwed our finances, ruined this most recent season, and cost us a pick in the process. Trying to compete at a high level at the present and also building for the future is not really possible for the most part - you end up wasting several seasons and accomplishing neither goal.
And because Terry was an RFA we had **a lot** of flexibility. We could have signed a ~20m FA and then signed Terry over the salary cap.
Standing pat there would have left us dramatically better off.
Is that true? There still would have been a cap hold for terry but idk for how much.
The cap hold was only 9.1m and we cleared ~34m in total.
Even with the cap hold we'd have a lot of room to work with.
Hindsight’s 20/20, Kemba didn’t have an injury history at the time, he was an iron man
Didn’t he have multiple procedures on his knee? For an undersized guard who was about to be 30 years old, that’s concerning.
Should’ve traded Rozier and morris before we lost both for nothing. Or alternatively kept the cheaper Rozier instead of signing Kemba.
Also probably should’ve traded Kyrie at the deadline for Shai if that was real. But I can still see the logic without hindsight to keeping him.
Shouldn’t have used all of the picks in 2019
Made a midseason trade in 2018-2019 when it was obviously not working
Made a midseason trade in 2019-2020 when it was clear we were just a few moves away from truly competing.
Not use all of his draft picks and should've traded some of them.
Not lose Hayward, Kyrie, Horford, Morris, Rozier all for absolutely nothing.
Address the size issue of our roster. We have been the smallest team in the NBA for the last two years.
Once we saw how good our team was in the playoffs with a rookie tatum, and terry rozier at point, we needed to make the hard decision to move on from at the very least Kyrie Irving and build around the core that proved they could play together and win. We saw the success of our young talent and jammed a score first point guard into our top role when he truly didnt deserve it, and even after watching Kyrie fail miserably, instead of resigning Terry we moved him away for Kemba, who is a better leader but still a score first guard who really was never as good a fit as Terry. Im seeing people say they wished Terry was traded, as if that would somehow make Kyrie work but the truth is Terry was the one who fit, we had a better record with him, he fit our timeline better, he fit Celtics culture better, but we were star struck with Kyrie and wanted to see what was there when we should’ve stuck with what worked. Obviously bad luck and injuries played a role as well but this isnt even pure hindsight bias as I was pushing for a Kyrie trade after our crazy playoff run with Terry at point. Imagine the haul we couldve gotten to complement that team, instead of a score first point guard we couldve likely gotten more picks for the future and an impactful 4 or 5 to play next to Tatum Brown and Terry. I honestly believe we’d have already won a championship by now had we just moved off kyrie after his first year here with us
As some context regarding the Kemba move, Horford came out and said that he would have stayed in Boston if he knew that they were bringing in Kemba but had already agreed to terms with Philly and didn't want to back out on his word.
They came very close to keeping Al and getting Kemba as a replacement for Kyrie. They didn't have to let Al go when they brought on Kemba, Al had just already been offered a huge deal by Philly and had agreed to terms before he knee about Kemba.
Also, using the fact that AD said he wouldn't re-sign with us because he was forcing his way to LA and the fact that good players went after Sexton was picked are pretty bad arguments against moving IT and Kyrie. I love IT as much as the next guy, but you make that trade every time. They just didn't know that Kyrie was batshit crazy. Maybe they should have, but arguing that in hindsight we would have been better maxing IT is idiotic. He wanted the "Brinks truck" and paying him what he wanted would have been even worse for the team financially than Kemba's deal ever was.
Ainge made some bad draft picks, but I think he was holding out for a decent deal when trying to move up and other teams were trying to bleed him dry because they knew he needed to. I'd say that his pride in situations like that was probably his biggest mistake. Sometimes "losing" a trade a little for long-term gain is the right move, but not everyone can do it. We'll see if Presti is better about it soon.
Trading Rozier and Morris when they had the chance would have been good in hindsight, but I can't fault them for wanting the depth and a solid backup to Kyrie. They weren't trying to rebuild there, we had a championship level team. I'd certainly admit that in a perfect world they would have moved them though.
Hayward absolutely deserved a max and was the player that we could get without trading one of our pieces. Moving JB or JT to get someone like PG instead of signing Hayward would look awful now. He got hurt on a freak play, but we were ecstatic when we got him for a reason.
Finally, Hayward going to Charlotte was out of our hands unless they were going to move him during the previous season. He was a free agent, so we would have needed to do a sign-and-trade and he wasn't going to agree to take less money and fewer years on his deal like Indy was offering. I find it hard to blame the team for not trading him when there was a chance he would re-sign and the team looked so much better with him.
Tl;dr: The biggest mistake was being too proud to take a bad deal to consolidate picks. Kemba, Kyrie, and Hayward were all good deals. Judging them in hindsight isn't how this is done.
This is literally a hindsight post. The only reason i wrote it.
It's not mentioned enough but trading up in the 2013 draft to take Olynyk over Giannis looks real bad in hindsight
That’s his 2015 Bruins Draft moment. Just awful in hindsight. Made no sense considering the trajectory of the team after the trade with Brooklyn.
That's the kind of hindsight im looking for
Holding onto assets too long instead of consolidating them is the main thing I always thought Ainge was bad at. The Kings and Grizzlies picks ending up as 14s are good examples.
Rather than risk the Kings'/Grizzlies' picks ending up as low level lotto picks, I would've gladly traded both of those picks to try to move into the top 4 during the 2018 draft and try to grab JJJ(with the Grizzlies looking real close to having to rebuild at the time I thought they were a perfect trade partner). By that point the team had already drafted both Tatum and Brown, and Horford wasn't exactly getting any younger. I thought it was the perfect chance to create an Ascending 3 behind the then current Big 3 of Kyrie, Hayward and Horford, especially with how highly Stevens valued versatile big men with guard skills.
I'll go with just a few from this year. The Teague and TT signings were pretty bad, letting theis go for nothing, giving up the 30th pick to get off kanter, I mean I do get why he did many of the things he did but besides the draft picks not much worked out. The stuff about not hearing any racist stuff was worded very poorly.
He probably should have listened to others or ran things by brad more if he was seriously thinking about stepping down. I am glad he didn't trade for harden as that could've been one of those hailmarry things that I don't think would've worked out.
What about turning down a Hayward for Myles Turner sign & trade? Instead we got TT who I cannot stand (as a person and basketball player)
Didnt want Turners salary on the books.
A potential Hayward S&T would require him to actually resign with us at the time. Looking at the money he got from the Hornets says that wasn't going to happen.
The Pacers were offering players that didn't have a high enough combined salary to match h what Charlotte offer Hayward. Unless he was going to take 5+ million less a year and fewer years on his contract that wasn't happening.
They offered Turner at 18 and McDermott at 7. Danny countered by asking for Lamb or Warren instead of McDermott (which would have made the salaries work) and the Pacers said no. He had no power to make Hayward take less money and fewer years. Please stop spreading this nonsense take.
1) Not trading Terry/Morris/Hayward when he could have
2) TT and Teague signings were absolute garbage trash
The Kyrie thing he should not have done but I think anyone trades that package for Kyrie if given the chance so I think the not trading assets when we had them was the more obvious terrible move
Trading for Kyrie was the catalyst. Should've just let IT walk, still sign Hayward and keep Crowder. That Brooklyn pick could've landed us Gilgeous-Alexander, Mikal Bridges or Michael Porter Jr.
Roster would look something like:
one of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander / Mikal Bridges / Michael Porter Jr
People are still acting like Irving wasn't the problem in that locker room.
Sadly the actual honest to god mistakes were signing Hayward and trading for Kyrie. Which any gm in the league would have done both of 100 times out of 100. But those two decisions worked out the worst of any of the things Ainge did. Signing Kemba is also a mistake but not as catastrophic as the other two- we got off him for a tiny cost and probably improved the team doing so.
I mean, clearly, his biggest "mistake" proved to be passing on Giannis for Olynik. He had 135 picks and was heading into a long rebuild, why not take a chance on the kid?
Obviously this is not a 100% serious comment.
The serious note though, is this. I strongly believe that Ainge's biggest mistake was his "meh" attitude towards the international scene in terms of scouting. During his years as GM the C's retained their reputation of a team that doesn't really scout abroad much.
Unluckily for him, this is not the 90s anymore. It's not a "once in a Dirk Novitzki" league. International players are a huge part of a) the talent pool and b) the market! Being THAT irrelevant internationally really hurts your status.
Theis, Wanamaker, Larkin: they gave us more than expected.
Let's see how Yam Madar will contribute.
Who do you think he missed on the international leagues?
Not blowing up the team that year Kyrie was throwing his tantrum
Define blowing up the team. Trading Kyrie, Al, Hayward? Trade everyone but Brown and Tatum?
Trade everyone but Tatum and Brown
Fair enough. I sometimes think we should do that now. Trade everyone but Tatum. I think what we currently have is maxed out. Brown, Smart, Rob, and maybe Mo, Nesmith, and Romeo hold value. Trade them. Clear space. Tank for a year or two.
Tank how? Any team with Tatum in his current form and the assets we’d get back from trading Brown, Smart, and Rob would make it impossible to tank. Not only that but trading everyone and tanking is pretty much the fastest way to drive Tatum out of Boston too
Neither team is beating this super squad:
PG: Joe Forte
SG: James Young
SF: Wally Szczberiak
PF: Raef Lafrentz
C: Vin Baker
82-0 with this squad!
I'd rather him had made some trades with rozier/random late latter picks and have had them fail than do nothing with them like we did. Also it's up to the Gm and Co to sign players that don't want to keep players happy so they don't want to leave. Sure it was probably tough to tell Hayward and kyrie wanted out, but you gotta hit on one of them at least to stay or at least trade one of them for some assets
Not consolidating picks for veteran players last two seasons. Also losing great players without getting anything in return.
Regarding Irving I think he regretted the experience he had in 2011, when he traded Perkins to OKC (a move still criticized today) ending up with an early elimination in the playoffs.
We just let too many guys walk in free agency without getting anything in return. I've always wondered if Danny was too concerned about winning every trade rather than pulling the trigger on a trade that was mutually beneficial. We had too many players walk that we could have traded. I know there were discussions. There are several guys we could have gotten picks, developmental guys, or role players in return.
Drafting 5’2 guards and 7’6 mascots, kelly instead of giannis, should have known Kyrie was a mental case
Not going all out this past offseason. Teague and Thompson are not the moves you make to get better and complete in the East. Don’t know what they could have done but something better for sure.
The Kanter/Bane trade. Should have kept both, moved Grant or Carsen and never signed TT. Obviously not a big mistake, but it would be nice to have $10m off the books and Desmond Bane.
Not traded Perkins. Should have been fired right then.
Drafting Marcus Smart.
Instead of signing Kemba, Danny should have match the Sixers offer to Al and he should also tryhard on keeping Hayward and signed him ASAP before the Hornets offer. We could have Smart - Jaylen - Gordon - Jayson - Al. That would be a sick lineup defensively and offensively.
1. Trade Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier for draft picks before the 18-19 season.
2. Consolidated the team around Brown, Hayward, and Tatum. Without Hayward the team was 36-36, with him, I believe, this team could have competed for the championship this year.
3. Should not have signed Kemba, maybe attempted to sign Randle.
He was great. Overall, best GM in the league during his time.