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.”

MORE FROM NBC SPORTS BOSTON'S CELTICS SEASON PREVIEW

 
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.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

After torching Celtics, Donovan Mitchell headed north of Boston

usatsi_11690009.jpg
File Photo

After torching Celtics, Donovan Mitchell headed north of Boston

First, Donovan Mitchell dropped 28 points on the Celtics as his Utah Jazz won their second game over Boston in as many weeks, holding them to a season-low point total in the process.

Then, the buregoning superstar swung up I-93 to North Andover to cheer on his sister, Jordan, in her girls' soccer contest Sunday morning with his alma mater Brewster Academy:

The Bobcats fell to MacDuffie (Mass.), 1-0, in the NEPSAC Class C championship on the campus of Brooks School.

Mitchell, a New York native, spent the final two years of his high school career on the Wolfeboro, N.H.-based Brewster campus, as famous for its scenic overlook of Lake Winnipesaukee as it is its incredible pipeline of basketball players to high-major college programs and the NBA. Over the last two decades the Bobcats' post-graduate team has featured numerous players who went on to the NBA, including Thomas Robinson, Mitch McGary, Will Barton, T.J. Warren, JaKarr Sampson and Jeff Adrien.

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

What to like, not like about the Celtics' loss to the Utah Jazz

What to like, not like about the Celtics' loss to the Utah Jazz

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics were in catch-up mode during most of their Saturday night home loss to the Utah Jazz. It was a game that dropped Boston to 9-7 overall and raised some serious concerns about where this team is now and more important, its direction going forward.

“We have to build a tougher team mindset than we have,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after Saturday’s loss. “I mean, we just don’t have that mindset yet that we need.”

While no one is panicking, there is a clear and undeniable heightened level of concern within the locker room.

MORE CELTICS

But with most defeats, there are a few silver linings to latch on to as well as areas in clear need of fixing.

So, about last night …

WHAT WE LIKED

BOARD IT UP: Rebounding continues to be a choose-your-own-adventure proposition for the Boston Celtics, showing signs of being dominant one night and dormant the next. Saturday night was one of the Celtics’ better nights when it came to rebounding the ball, winning the rebounding battle 51-45. It wasn’t like a late-game surge when the game was out of reach, either. Boston was either tied or led in rebounding after each quarter except the first. To do that against a Utah team that has been among the best rebounding clubs this season is a definite positive.

YABA, DABBA DO!: Guerschon Yabusele didn’t get on the floor until the game was out of reach, but Celtics fans – and the coaching staff – certainly had to like what they saw. In nine minutes, he had nine points and a couple rebounds as well as two steals. It was the kind of performance that, if we see Yabusele on the court more consistently in the coming days, we’ll come back to as being the jumping off point for his emergence as a contributor this season.

KYRIE IRVING: He didn’t torch the Utah Jazz like he did the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, scoring 20 points against the Jazz compared to 43 against the Raptors. But what Irving did that stood out was his shooting. He got his 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting, giving him a season-best three consecutive games in which he shot 50 percent or better from the field.

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

COSTLY FREE THROWS: There’s a pretty long laundry list of things that did not go Boston’s way in Saturday’s loss, most of which the Celtics had control over. Of all those things, nothing stood out more than their struggles at the free throw line. For the game, Boston wound up shooting a season-low 55 percent from the line. That number would have been a lot worst if not for head coach Brad Stevens emptying the bench as the game seemingly got away from them in the latter stages of the third quarter and all of the fourth, which is when Boston’s reserves knocked down their free throws, which raised Boston’s free throw percentage to the above-.500 threshold.

LIVE AND DIE BY THE 3-BALL: Three-point shooting continues to be a feast or famine proposition for the Celtics this season. The Celtics connected on a season-low 15.2 percent (5-for-33) of their 3-pointers against the Jazz. Boston’s struggles weren’t just a starter or reserve-based issue, evident by Boston’s first unit connecting on just three of its 16 three-pointers taken, and the second unit (2-for-17) proving to be even worse.

IRVING ISLAND: For far too many stretches of play Saturday night, Irving looked very much like a man on an island surrounded by an ocean full of sharks donning Jazz jerseys. He scored 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting. And it’s not like Irving was not being a willing passer. He had a team-best 64 touches against the Jazz, passing the ball 45 times but only tallying just three assists in large part because teammates were missing open to lightly contested shots.

WHAT'S NEXT

Boston hits the road to face a 7-8 Charlotte team on Monday that has lost three of its last four games. The most recent loss was an overtime defeat to Philadelphia in which Kemba Walker scored a career-high 60 points. As we’ve seen repeatedly this season, opposing team’s best scorers have seemingly had a field day knocking down shots against the Celtics. And like Boston, the Hornets will also look to make their mark from long range as they come into Monday's game averaging 12.2 made 3’s per game which ranks 5th in the NBA.

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE