Danny Ainge is remembered as one of the toughest players back in his era. Annoying and agitating opponents who hated playing against him. Well by now most have figured out, he’s not much fun to go up against as a General Manager either.
Keith Smith of RealGM.com went on the Celtics beat Podcast on CLNS Media and talked about how Danny Ainge has instilled fear in his fellow GMs.
“The running joke is if you see a 617 area code, which is the Boston area code, just hang up because you know it’s Danny Ainge or [Assistant GM] Mike Zarren. One of my favorite quotes was, ‘If you see it don’t even answer because you’re going to have a bad day on the back end of it.’
Ainge tends to win most of the deals he makes and is currently on the receiving end of one of the most notorious and lopsided heists in NBA, possibly sports history. The trade with Brooklyn where ‘Trader Danny’ dealt aging veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in exchange for 3 future first round picks which the Celtics turned into Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving (in a separate deal with Cleveland).
Smith believes that because of deals like this fans believe the Celtics can pull of just about anything and are almost disappointed when they don’t. Like on draft night when the Celtics stood pat and drafted Robert Williams at 27 instead of moving up into the top five as was rumored.
“The Celtics have, really since they kicked off this post-Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce rebuild, they’ve made this whirlwind of activity and trades over and over again,” Smith noted. “And we want that all the time.”
“Trades are fun and trade rumors are fun. It’s fun to argue with people about, “They should do this. They shouldn’t do that.” We all live that. [And] at the end of the day we are all hopefully fans of the team, even if we cover them from a media standpoint. So you get caught up in that.”
Smith believes the reason Ainge didn’t make a big splash on draft night is simple. The Celtics don’t have to do anything to be title contenders next season.
“Let’s just say they basically run it back,” Smith noted. “Let’s say they resign Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart and you’re looking at, largely, the same roster that ended last season. You’re running it back, but you’re adding two All-NBA-caliber guys in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward without spending a trade asset or a dollar in new salary.”