Report: Ainge says he ‘felt like we had a real chance’ at Durant


Report: Ainge says he ‘felt like we had a real chance’ at Durant

Danny Ainge said he “felt like we had a real chance” at landing Kevin Durant after he and the Celtics contingent met with him Saturday, but he told the Boston Herald he wasn’t surprised Durant chose the Golden State Warriors.

“You know, in a situation like that, you never really know,” Ainge told Steve Bulpett of The Herald. “I didn’t really feel like we had a great chance, but I thought we had SOME chance. And then after we met with them, I felt like we had a real chance.

“I felt there for about 48 hours that we had a legitimate chance. It seemed like a really good fit. It seemed like a really good option for him, and it just wasn’t meant to be. He had other good options, too, but I did allow myself to get really excited for that 48-hour period, and it just didn’t happen."

When asked if there was anything else he thought the Celtics could have done to convince Durant to choose Boston, Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations, said, “Under any circumstances, we weren’t going to be able to produce Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.”

Ainge also said he thought Durant knew fellow free agent Al Horford was going to the Celtics before the C’s did. Horford made his decision known Saturday after the Celtics had met with Durant.

“I got the impression that they knew something before we did,” said Ainge of Team Durant. “I know that they had some conversation. They were very familiar with what Horford was choosing between. It seemed to me in the presentation like Al and KD had been discussing their plans together.”

Ainge said “it was fun for all of us” to bring Tom Brady along for the sales pitch.

“We flew in to the Hamptons and we got in early, so we went out to have lunch,” said Ainge. “I think it was fun for all of us to sit there and talk to Tom Brady and ask him questions. You know, here’s a guy that’s going to be 39 next month, and he talked about his health and fitness and nutrition and his dedication to the game. I thought our players were listening intently to him. And he had some fun stories.

“He’s a huge Tom Brady fan,” Ainge said of Durant. He said Brady and Durant had met once before. “They talked for a minute or two and then we sat down as a group.”

Ainge said the Celtics’ contingent, including Brady, met with Durant, then Brady and Celtic players Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk went outside to talk before Brady and the C’s players flew home. 

And of Durant ultimately deciding to leave Oklahoma City and join forces with Golden State, Ainge told the Herald, “You know, I’m not surprised,” said Ainge. “I think everybody in our basketball world knows that Golden State is a very tempting place to play right now. So surprised? No."

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”