Celtics

Ainge: 'Maybe someday Isaiah will understand the trade better than he does now'

Ainge: 'Maybe someday Isaiah will understand the trade better than he does now'

BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas has made no secret about still having some hard feelings towards Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, who traded him to Cleveland as part of a package that brought Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. 
 
“This is the kind of thing that stinks about the job sometimes,” Ainge told NBC Sports Boston as part of their Celtics Season Preview show. “But I certainly understand his emotions. He’s been through a lot. He’s injured right now. He gave us a lot. There’s not any question about that. Maybe someday he’ll understand it better than he does right now.”

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The Celtics were not seriously looking into trading Thomas until Irving’s trade request became public knowledge in July. 
 
Before the Celtics had a conversation with the Cavs about Irving, they knew any deal would have to include Thomas. 
 
“Whenever star players become available, we always discuss them and look into them and see if this is a possibility for us and see what the cost is,” Ainge said. “That’s what happened in the Kyrie thing. We just went down that road.”
 
Ainge added, “Sometimes you have to do tough things. That was a really tough thing. [Thomas] gave us so much. He gave our organization so much."

And as far as Thomas saying he may not ever talk to Ainge again?

"I’ve had my children tell me worse things," Ainge said. "They do talk to me sometimes a month later. So, I hope that this will pass. But time will tell.”
 
There’s no question part of Thomas’ anger and resentment has to do with the emotional attachment he developed with the Celtics franchise. 
 
“That was a difficult situation because he was 100 percent Celtic,” Ainge said. “And he had really bought in. We had bought in to him and he had bought in to us.”
 
While acknowledging the emotional connection that existed, Ainge is wise enough to know that can’t be a factor when it comes to potential trades.  As a former player in the NBA who had been traded before, Ainge knows all too well how difficult it can be to keep emotions out of the equation.
 
“I have to do what’s best for the Celtics,” Ainge said. “This is not my team. This is the city of Boston’s team. We have a lot of people involved in these decisions which are very, very difficult. You have to take emotion out of it and do what’s best for the team, short-term and long-term.”

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Celtics set to play with greater sense of urgency in return to action

Celtics set to play with greater sense of urgency in return to action

WALTHAM, Mass. – The road to getting back atop the Eastern Conference standings for the Boston Celtics following the All-Star break will begin – where else? – on the road.

And that’s a good thing.

Boston, which plays its first two games after the break on the road beginning at Detroit tonight and New York on Saturday, has been among the league’s best all season when it comes to winning on the road.

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Only two teams, Golden State (22-7, .759 winning percentage) and Houston (21-7, .750 winning percentage), have a better road winning percentage than the Celtics (19-8, .703 winning percentage) this season.

“Our schedule is really hard as we hit this last home stretch 23 games,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “And that’s a good thing with us. We are going to have to have that urgency.”

Boston (40-19) has lost three straight and four of its last five games.

Aware of how quickly a couple of losses can snowball into a full-blown losing skid, Boston players understand the importance of playing with a greater sense of urgency.

“I think we have a sense of urgency about ourselves,” Brown said. “I think we understand the second half of the season and the importance of it, getting ready for playoffs. And how you can see some of the older guys, Kyrie (Irving), Al (Horford), the attention to detail, the stress about the little things is becoming more evident.” 

Said Irving: “We hit a little bit of a stretch where we haven’t been playing our type of basketball. Not necessarily being as consistent as we’d like to be. We just want to get back to being consistent and doing the right things.”

Stevens added, “Hopefully these little hiccups that we have had prior to the break, which more pertains to who we are playing … hopefully benefit us down the road.”

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Al Horford said more than anything, the Celtics have to ratchet up their attention to details in all phases of play.

“The focus is really now more than any point in the season taking it day-to-day,” Horford said. “And I felt like we got better, today was a good practice. This is a good start, so now for us it’s just to keep building that and just take it game-to-game because these are … the rehearsal games, if you want to call them that. That’s what I like to call it with this group. So, getting everything straightened out for when the playoffs come around.”

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CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Anthony Davis opening the door for a trade?

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NBC Sports Boston Photo

CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Anthony Davis opening the door for a trade?

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely start off this week's episode talking about the return of Marcus Smart following the All-Star break, and how much the team missed him in their recent skid. Will head coach Brad Stevens make a lineup change, and with more practice time under his belt, will Greg Monroe see his minutes increase?

(9:50) Sherrod talks about his article on NBCSportsBoston.com this week on Kyrie Irving needing to have a 'special' finish to his first season with the Celtics.

(14:15) Would the rumored changes to the NBA Playoff format would be good or bad?

(16:45) Kyle and Sherrod (plus producer Jason Levine joining the fray) have a great debate on the latest tidbit of trade rumblings surrounding New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. Is the door finally open for the Celtics to swoop in?

(30:40) The guys also talk about the latest news with Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs....could he become available this offseason?

(33:10) Finally, Kyle sits down with Brad Stevens to talk about his trip to Red Sox Spring Training during the break, plus the terrible end to his own baseball career.

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