Boston Celtics: Danny Ainge Once Again Proves He's an Elite GM
After the Kendrick Perkins trade, there was a lot of criticism surrounding Danny Ainge as a GM. People forgot about what he had done and what he could. Now, after what has been the best offseason for the Celtics since Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett came to Boston, I will not tolerate any more bashing of Danny Ainge.
He had his work cut out for him at the start of the offseason with just four players under contract. Yet, here we are, a little over a month later and the Celtics have a nearly full roster loaded with enough talent to contend with any team.
The biggest issue at the end of last season was depth. Ainge knew this, so he went out and fixed that problem and he did so in a big way. He didn't just add some decent and cheap role players to quickly fill void.
At some point, he must have realized that that didn't work. So this year, he won't out and spent the money in order to build what could be the best bench in the NBA. First, he drafted Jared Sullinger, then he signed Jason Terry, then Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox.
In terms of the bench, the icing on the cake came when he somehow landed shooting guard Courtney Lee for a few bench-warmers and a couple of second round picks.
Depth problems: solved.
That wasn't the only issue the Celtics faced though. They also wanted to re-sign the key players from last season.
Ainge wasted no time in doing this, agreeing with Kevin Garnett before the signing period even began. From there, he re-signed Brandon Bass. And with that, the band was back together, well, nearly.
Sure, the Celtics did not re-sign Ray Allen, but that is in no way a negative reflection upon Ainge. He did all he could to retain the sharp-shooter, but at the end of the day, Allen just chose Miami.
It seemed that even Ainge couldn't have stopped Ray from leaving. That wasn't in his power. What was in his power though was who he would replace him with and in that regard, he did a marvelous job.
Most people would agree that the combination of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee is better than 37-year-old Ray Allen.
Ainge didn't stop his work at just replacing Ray, acquiring more depth and getting the band back together though. He went on to re-sign solid locker-room presence Keyon Dooling and veteran center Jason Collins.
And while the Collins' signing may not seem all that great, consider this: In signing Collins instead of Greg Stiemsma, Ainge saved himself over $2 million a year and kept the Celtics under the luxury cap threshold for the first time in the Big Three Era.
This is a big deal considering that the Celtics now have the bi-annual exception to use. They could either use it now to sign a player or wait to use it on someone waived later in the season. Either way, the Celtics can still get one more solid big man.
Even if they don't use the bi-annual exception though, the Celtics have still had a great offseason thanks to Danny Ainge.
He has done the work this summer to ensure that the Celtics are in the best possible position to win a title. Now, it will be up to the players to make all of his work pay off.
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