Danny Ainge congratulates Larry Bird, Marcus Smart for NBA Awards

Danny Ainge congratulates Larry Bird, Marcus Smart for NBA Awards

Though they struck out on the major awards, the Boston Celtics have plenty to be proud of after last night's annual NBA Awards show. 

Former Celtics legend Larry Bird was honored — alongside rival and friend Magic Johnson — with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments on and off the court as well as their role in popularizing the league. Bird, a three-time MVP and three-time NBA champion with the Celtics, thanked the many great teammates he played with during his 13-year career in Boston. 


In his acceptance speech, Bird also praised the level of skill of today's NBA while shutting down the clamors of many former players (looking at you, Chuck) who romanticize the NBA of yesteryear. "The game's in a good place," Bird said. "What I tell players coming in today: keep the game the way you found it, and it can go on for generations to come." Without Bird and Magic's contributions in the 1980's, the NBA wouldn't be in the spot it is. 

Nobody realizes Bird's impact better than former teammate and current Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.

Ainge also has great admiration for current Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who won the NBA's Hustle Award. Smart is exactly the type of hard-nosed, team-first player Ainge covets. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Massachusetts gov. Charlie Baker announces when pro sports teams can resume practices

Massachusetts gov. Charlie Baker announces when pro sports teams can resume practices

Boston sports teams will soon be able to practice again following an announcement Friday by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker.

Baker said during his COVID-19 press conference that he will issue an executive order next week that will include pro sports teams being allowed to practice at their facilities starting June 6, with safety precautions.

"We've had positive conversations with our professional sports teams, the Celtics, the Bruins, the Patriots, the Red Sox and the Revolution," Baker said. "This (executive) order also will allow professional sports teams to begin practicing at their facilities in compliance with the health and safety rules the leagues are developing. Facilities are still closed to the public at this time.

"I know we still aren't at the point where we'll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet, the leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. I think we all hope, that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner."

This is a positive step toward the return of pro sports, but plenty of work remains.

The NHL unveiled a detailed return-to-play plan on Tuesday, although no specific dates for when games would resume were given. The NBA has not yet announced a formal return plan, although there have been reports about the possibility of finishing the season in one central location, such as the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Major League Baseball and the MLBPA still have issues to work out before the 2020 baseball season can commence. The 2020 NFL season isn't scheduled to begin until September, but the offseason already is well underway and has included virtual workouts/meetings.

2020 NBA Playoffs: What would NBA GMs 'wish list' mean for Celtics?

2020 NBA Playoffs: What would NBA GMs 'wish list' mean for Celtics?

If the majority of NBA general managers have their way, the league will resume with teams playing a handful of regular season games before entering an expanded postseason. 

According to Shams Charania, 60 percent of the NBA GMs surveyed by the league were in favor of a 72-game season. 

Also, 83 percent supported a “playoffs plus” format that would allow teams beyond the top 16 to partake in postseason play.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

An expanded regular season would afford the Celtics a chance to improve their current playoff position (No. 3 in the East) and in doing so, open the postseason with a more favorable first-round matchup. 

If the playoffs started today, Boston would open up against Philadelphia, which defeated the Celtics in three of their four regular season matchups. 

The Celtics' chances of first-round success would be enhanced if they faced a Brooklyn team minus Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant (both unlikely to play in the postseason) or possibly Orlando, rather than a Sixers team that would be led by a well-rested Joel Embiid and a healthy Ben Simmons. 

Click here to listen and subscribe to The Enes Kanter Show Podcast:


Having a few games under their belt before the playoffs would also strengthen the Celtics’ chemistry, which will be different now than it was for most of the regular season. 

Kemba Walker arrived in town as an All-Star who would be the team’s go-to guy, the player that everyone leaned on in a pinch. 

And while Boston still leans on him down the stretch, this team belongs to Jayson Tatum who has blossomed into a player that many anticipate will be in the league MVP conversation for years to come. 

His evolution into the face of the franchise and how those around him adapt to this new normal for Celtics basketball, could benefit from a few tune-up games before jumping into the heart of playoff basketball. 

Also according to Charania, about half of the GMs surveyed (53 percent) wanted to go straight to the playoffs. A significantly smaller number (27 percent) wanted to resume an abbreviated season with a play-in format. And as for non-playoff teams, they were apparently split on resuming the season.