Boston Celtics: 3 best moves of the offseason so far

President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics talks with Jayson Tatum #0 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics talks with Jayson Tatum #0 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Boston Celtics
Celtics former President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /

Boston Celtics best move: Replacing Danny Ainge with Brad Stevens

Let’s make one thing clear; this offseason looks completely different if Danny Ainge remained in charge as President of Basketball Operations rather than Brad Stevens. No basketball has been played, but Stevens looks to have done a pretty good job at maneuvering Boston out of a fairly sticky situation.

It became clear it was time for Ainge to move on as the season progressed. Ainge had largely dug the Celtics into this hole with timid roster building that often saw Boston settling for certain moves rather than actually pulling off big moves. There have been countless players Ainge was rumored to be looking to move for, only to watch another team pull the trigger. Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Anthony Davis are just a few that come to mind.

In a sense, Ainge wasted key years of the Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown era of the Boston Celtics franchise. He was too focused with his golden rule of “build for now and the future” that he failed to properly address the roster at hand. Tons of first round draft picks have been used when the Celtics really didn’t need them. There is an excess of youth on this team as we found out the hard way last season.

It saw the Celtics in a dark place at the end of the season. Failing to get much in return for the Gordon Hayward trade exception, especially when considering he reportedly low-balled the Indiana Pacers last offseason for Myles Turner, seemed to be the final straw. They managed to bring in guys like Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Kemba Walker, and fail to do anything with it.

There was certainly a lot of bad luck involved; nobody could have anticipated Hayward’s freak injury a mere six minutes into his Celtics career, or the fact that Walker would regress so much early on in his deal. But Boston was always one piece short of having a contending team, and ultimately that falls on Ainge.

Stevens had first hand knowledge of this, and he quickly worked on cleaning up Ainge’s mess. Moving Walker helped reset the team’s salary issues, and he quickly worked on building up the depth of this roster. Guys like Josh Richardson, Dennis Schroder, and Enes Kanter fill out the bench now rather than guys like Carsen Edwards, Semi Ojeleye, and Luke Kornet.

Stevens also showed an urgency to build this team’s future back up as well. We already talked about the Williams extension, but he also made team friendly deals with Marcus Smart and Josh Richardson. They could end up being key pieces for this team, but they are also much more trade friendly as a result of these new deals.

Next. 3 early NBA Trade Deadline targets for the Celtics. dark

It’s an urgency this team has been lacking for the past few seasons. There are so many different things Ainge could have pulled the trigger on, but he hesitated and it cost the Celtics. For instance, it became abundantly clear midway through his second season Kyrie Irving wasn’t going to re-sign with Boston; why not try to move him and get something in return?

Stevens taking over as President of Basketball Operations is easily the most important move the Celtics made this offseason. He knows this team revolves around Tatum and Brown for now and the future, and he’s building it as such. It may not all come together this season, but the Celtics are in much better hands with Stevens in charge than they were with Ainge.