Alright so Paul George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for next to nothing. The Pacers received Victor Oladipo and Damontas Sabonis. Oladipo is getting paid $21 million a year and Sabonis is a second year player, who actually started a lot of games for OKC, but his numbers wouldn’t suggest that. This leads me to the question I’m sure you’re all asking yourselves too… Is Danny Ainge overrated?
Is Ainge more obsessed with the idea of having assets than actually using those assets to make a splash? Ever since the trade with the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics have been sitting on a ton of assets, but what have they turned out to be? Role players, they’ve turned out to be role players who every once in a while have a good game. Celtics fans have been holding out to see if those players Ainge has selected with the “assets” he received from screwing the Nets over in a trade will ever get to the potential we want to see them at. Or at least have Ainge trade them away for a star player in the league.
I started disbelieving in Ainge after the 2016 draft when he used all three 1st-round picks the Celtics had that year, rather than trading. The Celtics were in a prime position to make a blockbuster deal last year, I got my hopes up that Ainge would do something, and instead he drafted Jaylen Brown and 2 foreign players (Zizic and Yabusele) who then got stashed back overseas. Brown showed a lot of potential in his rookie season, Zizic and Yabusele have both impressed the Celtics as well. But with 3 picks in the 1st round, I was expecting more.
That brings us to this year. Ainge trades the #1 pick to the 76ers for the #3 pick and future picks. Passing on Markelle Fultz, who I, as well as many others, believe will be an amazing point guard in the league. When this deal happened I thought to myself, OK this trade is so the Celtics can gain more picks in an attempt to trade for George. But then the Pacers go and trade him to the Thunder. When I heard the news about the deal and who the Pacers were getting back, all I could think of was how much of a joke this was. If Ainge couldn’t top that deal of just Oladipo (on a terrible contract) and Sabonis, then that’s just pathetic. Hearing this trade brings me back to the Boogie Cousins deal and how Ainge missed out on Cousins badly. I’m not a huge Boogie fan, but Danny would not have needed to give up much to bring the talented center to Boston.
If Oladipo and Sabonis (AND NO PICKS) was enough to land the superstar, George, then you have to think maybe Danny pissed off Indiana’s front office with his trade offers and they were just getting sick of trying to deal with him. Ainge has a history of needing to win trades, maybe this trade he was trying way too hard to win it and was giving piss poor offers. Who knows, everything gets jumbled within the media with reports, so I guess we’ll have to hear his reasoning out.
You have to think that sending Crowder, Zeller and 1st-rounder would’ve gotten the deal done for George at this point. I would’ve definitely done that, no questions asked. So it’s frustrating to see George go to the Thunder, when the Celtics easily could’ve offered more. And I know he’s said that he wants to go to LA when he becomes a free agent in one year, but if you’re only giving up Crowder, Zeller and a pick, I would do that deal in a heartbeat and then use that year to try to get to the finals and convince George that his future is in Boston.
On another note, Blake Griffin already resigned with the Clippers, so the possibility of him coming to Boston is now over too. So are the Celtics going to be all in on Hayward now? If they are, I doubt it’s Danny Ainge who will be doing most of the talking in the meeting with Hayward, it’ll be his former coach at Butler, Brad Stevens. At this point, signing Hayward to a max contract would be nice and he’d help bolster the Celtics roster, but Hayward alone will not get the Celtics through Cleveland in the East, they’d need more.
The Celtics and Ainge need to do something will all these assets they have acquired. It’d be a waste to see all the potential the Celtics have go to waste over the years because Ainge sat on all these assets, rather than making a big trade which is what all of us have expected would happen.