Danny Ainge Says He'll Root for Nets' Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Playoffs

Jim CavanContributor IApril 3, 2014

BOSTON - JUNE 17: (L-R) Ray Allen #20, Head Coach Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett #5, General Manager Danny Ainge and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics pose for a portrait with the Larry O'Brien trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics won 131-92. NOTE TO USER:User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

So I don’t know if y’all have heard, but it looks like the Boston Celtics won’t be making the playoffs this year.

I know, what a disgrace. You guys should probably burn all of those banners now. Just douse the rafters in gasoline and give Bill Russell a bow and flaming arrow, have him fire it up there like it’s the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

No, but seriously, relax: You have more championships than the New York Knicks have light bulbs. Little-known fact. Please don’t Google that.

Anyway, it came as little surprise when, during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich, general manager Danny Ainge said he’d be rooting for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce—currently of the Brooklyn Nets—come playoff time (via Boston.com’s Gary Dzen).

Steven Senne

“I love those guys; I’d love to see them succeed,” Ainge said. “Since we’re not in it this year I will root for them."

He’s allowed to do that? Isn’t it, like, a $1 billion fine for saying something nice about another NBA team? Can Ainge go to prison for this? Can he be deported?

All very logical questions that will be answered in due time.

Luckily for Ainge, he might not have to wait long before the tide turns back in Boston’s favor. Owing to a near-future rife with draft picks and financial flexibility—not to mention a potential coaching star in first-year skipper Brad Stevens—the Celtics paint a rare picture of a team that actually looks like it knows how to play the rebuilding game.

As Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen illuminated in his fine preseason piece on the Cs, even Ainge himself seems poignantly optimistic about his franchise’s prospects.

And yet Ainge likes this roster more than the one he inherited when Boston hired him in 2003, or the one he handed over to Rivers as new coach of the Celtics one year later. The current goal, which surely could change based on the events of this season, is to renew the strategy that led to the 2007 trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett: To develop the team's current young talent and to draft well without necessarily earning a high choice in the lottery.

So for goodness sake, let Ainge foist his passing praise and hopes on his onetime cornerstones. Because the way things look now, he might be trading platitudes and pleasantries for playoff barbs sooner than later.