Celtics

Danny Ainge wonders if LeBron is taking "Donald Trump approach" with GOAT boast

lebron_james.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Danny Ainge wonders if LeBron is taking "Donald Trump approach" with GOAT boast

LeBron James declaring himself the greatest NBA player of all time has sparked a pretty fierce public debate.

Perhaps that was all part of his plan?

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked Thursday what he thought of the Los Angeles Lakers star's recent remarks about being the GOAT and made an interesting analogy while wondering aloud why James would make those comments with more basketball ahead of him.

"His career's not over," Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich." "I'd just like to -- why he's saying that, I don't know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he's taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don't know."

James made the statement on his new show, "More Than An Athlete," which airs on ESPN+ and is produced in partnership with his media company, UNINTERRUPTED. So, while LeBron is getting some pretty harsh blowback for his boast, he's still drumming up awareness for his own business venture.

When asked for his own opinion on the GOAT debate, Ainge gave a diplomatic response.

"Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all time," Ainge said. "But time will tell. I don't know if anyone knows who the greatest of all time is, because the years are so different."

Ainge did make one surprising admission, though: He'd rank James ahead of his former Celtics teammate, Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

"LeBron went to the Finals," Ainge said. "I would have to say (he's better than Bird), just because he was able to have more durability and play at a top level of his game for longer."

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

NBA Rumors: Lakers 'rooting' for Kyrie Irving to sign with Nets

NBA Rumors: Lakers 'rooting' for Kyrie Irving to sign with Nets

Kyrie-to-Brooklyn rumors have dominated the prelude to NBA free agency, and the Los Angeles Lakers likely are hoping those rumors turn out to be true.

That's because Irving to the Nets would open the door for guard D'Angelo Russell to return to L.A. If and when Irving signs with the Nets, they'd likely renounce Russell to make Irving their new star point guard and thus, Russell would become an unrestricted free agent.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski explained the scenario Tuesday night on ESPN.

“The Lakers now at this point are rooting for Kyrie Irving to go to Brooklyn,” Wojnarowski said. “Because then Brooklyn renounces D’Angelo Russell, who is a restricted free agent. He becomes unrestricted and then the Lakers could sign Russell as their third star in LA. And they get back a much more mature, polished player, who's been an All-Star, whose put a team into the postseason.”

Watch the clip below:

The latest Kyrie-Nets report states Brooklyn remains the 27-year-old's "preferred choice" in free agency, so the Lakers very well may just get their wish.

As for where the Celtics go from here without Irving, they're reportedly trying to lure free agent Kemba Walker as their next star.

NBA free agency gets underway on June 30.

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.

Breakfast Pod: Would Kemba Walker be a good fit for the Celtics?

Breakfast Pod: Would Kemba Walker be a good fit for the Celtics?

Kemba in, Kyrie out? Plus, a look at the offseason ahead for the Stanley Cup finalist Bruins.

1:00 - The Celtics are reportedly "at the front of the line" for Kemba Walker. Chris Forsberg discusses whether he would be a good fit in Boston. 

7:00 - Is Kyrie Irving’s drama tarnishing his reputation around the league? Cedric Maxwell and Forsberg join Early Edition to discuss. 

15:00 - The Bruins have some decisions to make this offseason, which players should the Bruins sign with limited cap space? Our BST crew debates. 

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE:

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.