Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge presided over a summer of drastic change for his team, trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, arranging a deal that saw Doc Rivers head to the Clippers, and making the surprise hire of new coach Brad Stevens. Ainge spoke with Grantland's Bill Simmons about those moves and other subjects for a podcast, and NetsDaily provides a transcript that covers the Brooklyn-related items. We'll pass along some of the highlights from that, along with a few more of Ainge's quotes:
On how the trade with the Nets came to be:
"Like a lot of trades, it evolved from something completely different into a bigger deal. (It was) something that I really didn't think would happen, simply because it takes sort of a special, unique circumstance in order for a trade like that to go through, and the tax ramifications of Brooklyn are I would call unique in today's day and age in the NBA right now with the new CBA. But (the Nets were) a team that was really going for it, and money was not an object, and that was probably the reason why we got a better offer today than we would've even gotten two or three years ago."
On the influence agent Jeff Schwartz had on the Nets deal:
"I also think that Paul has a connection with having the same agent as Deron Williams and Jason Kidd, and I think there probably was some discussion going on there. I don't know that for sure, but my guess is that they had some conversation about it. I know that Paul was the one who talked KG into wanting to do the deal or letting go of his no-trade clause to make the deal happen and that took some convincing to do."
On the current value of Pierce and Garnett:
"I just think it came to the point where those guys as the best two players on a team aren't going to go very far. Those guys as a 3rd and 4th, or 4th and 5th, however you look at it, are pretty dang good still, and I think (Brooklyn) is going to have a terrific team next year."
On losing Rivers:
"I thought Doc would be our coach for a long time. When Doc signed his new contract (with the Celtics), we'd even talked about him being Jerry Sloan, and Gregg Popovich, and breaking Red Auerbach's all-time record as a Celtic coach. We knew that our guys were getting older, but we thought that this time might come, so I had anticipated Doc being around for a long time. I never had any idea that he would want out, but I understand it, and I understand the Clippers have much more to offer right now than we do on the court. I just thought that Doc wanted to continue to participate with me and (owners) Wyc Grousbeck and (Stephen Pagliuca) and (continue) to try to rebuild this thing as we had done before. At the same time, I do understand that that's not fun, and that's not fun (for) coaches."
On his pitch to Stevens and the new coach's lengthy contract with the C's:
"I think that a six-year commitment might have made a difference. I'm not sure. We never had a negotiation. His wife was his agent, and his wife wanted to understand the language in one paragraph that we explained to her, and that was basically the entire negotiation."