Asked today during an appearance on Toucher and Rich in Boston if he believes the Celtics, as currently constituted, are good enough to win a championship, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered a straightforward assessment.
“No, I do not,” Ainge said, according to Alex Barth of 98.5 The Sports Hub. The Celtics’ exec added that he believes the roster needs another piece or two to reach that level (Twitter link via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).
In a recent conversation with The Boston Globe, Ainge shouldered the blame for the Celtics’ modest record (14-14) and up-and-down play, and he echoed those sentiments in his radio appearance on Thursday.
“This team, where we are, 14-14, if there’s somebody to blame, this is Danny Ainge to blame,” Ainge said. “This is not Brad Stevens. It’s not Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. It’s not good enough right now. And we all know that. And, you know, we need to get better.”
While Ainge acknowledged that a roster change is probably necessary, he also said he believes the team is capable of playing better if its key players are able to get healthy at once, which hasn’t really happened this season. Due to various injuries and COVID-19 protocols, the Celtics’ core four – Tatum, Brown, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart – has played just two games together in 2020/21.
Ainge’s comments today suggest that if the Celtics make a move, they’d want to acquire a player who will be part of the regular rotation even when everyone else is healthy and available.
“Depth is a problem and we’re aware of that,” Ainge said, per Barth. “But when you just say that you’re going to go add depth, then you get healthy and then the depth doesn’t get to play. And we’ve run through those problems before in the past.”
The Celtics are fairly well-positioned to make an in-season trade, armed with a $28.5MM trade exception, all their future first-round picks, and a handful of young prospects who would likely be expendable in the right deal.