Danny Ainge on the Big Show
|11.18.09 at 5:31 pm ET|
Danny Ainge joined the guys on The Big Show to talk about the rumored three-way trade that was just a rumor, the media’s incessant rumor-mongering and his team’s recent lack of consistency (CLICK HERE for complete audio interview). There’s also some good Stephon Marbury talk later on. [Edited in spots for clarity].
Lets’ get right to it, right off the bat. We keep hearing about this three-team deal, lay it on us, what’s going on?
Ainge: We have nothing going on.
Are you telling me that the media making this stuff up?
In the media there are people who are more concerned with breaking news then they are with writing truth and writing real history. It’s the competition of who breaks the story first, and I have a feeling there’s people with motives that are trying to get their player traded from another team. That’s why this story gets out.
Were there any conversations with any of these teams at all?
You haven’t had any conversations with any of these teams?
So, is it possible that an agent with a media person would have their own reason for doing it?
I think that happens a lot. There’s some person who will call some person in the business to get their input. That input spreads from person to person to the next thing you know a story comes out and there’s no validity to it. There’s so much of that that goes on. I spend so much of my time talking to reporters that are calling to see if this stuff is true.
Do you have to deal with the agents and players on the other side when something like this comes out?
That’s the easier part. Players get it. They understand the business. I’ve been very honest with my players. I’ll answer any question they have to see if there’s any validity to any of the rumors. It’s not just our team. There’s things that I read almost daily that I know for a fact aren’t true.
Is there more of this stuff today then ever before, and if so, why?
There’s always been competition in the media. First of all there’s much more access to smaller media then just the big newspaper media and ESPN. There’s people trying to make names for themselves and then there’s so many people, you can talk to anyone and they’re a source. It could be a secretary working for the organization. It could be anybody.
How much has the Internet changed the rumor mill?
There’s time when an agent or a team will call and say here’s a trade or something we’d like to do and I may be very polite and say [no.]. The next thing I know there’s been trade discussions. It’s unbelievable what happens. I guess there’s a lot of interest in trades and that seems to be a real focus of conversation. Maybe it’s the Fantasy League part of it.
Will Paul Pierce be able to play?
I think so, yeah. Unless he gets to the arena and he finds out something is acting up, but I think he’s ready to go.
Are you catching Golden State at the right time?
Well, I think there’s some relief after they made the [Stephen Jackson] trade. They sure looked good [Tuesday night]. They’re a potent offensive team. They have a lot of weapons. Nellie’s a terrific offensive coach. They play small. They run and gun. They get up and down the court and shoot open shots. They have a lot of shooters and a lot of guys who can slash and get to the line. It’s a team that we should beat, but it’s a team that we could lose to if we don’t come ready to play.
Let’s get to that. Your team has dropped two in a row. Is this is a situation where you played so well, where maybe they get content and don’t play at the same level?
We were flat. Particularly in the second half of the Atlanta game. We played really well in the first half. We’ve been playing a little sloppy but I thought we’ve been playing extremely hard. We didn’t come out in the third quarter with the same intensity and I think that cost us. The Indiana game, they just caught fire. They played really well. We did come out and play with energy and rebounded after getting destroyed on the glass [against the Hawks]. They were having trouble making shots all year long and they made shots all night long.
That’s going to happen. It’s no fun to lose game that we should win and not win because we didn’t bring it, like the in the second half of the Atlanta game.
And Atlanta brought it. They played really well.
Right, and we’re facing that every night. That is something our players should be used to. We ran into the night last year and we’re seeing it this year too. Minnesota played its best game against us. Indiana played its best game against us. New Jersey played its best game against us. And Atlanta, right on down the line. That’s what we’re facing night in and night out.
How important is this stretch when you’re at home and have time to practice?
I think it is. Whenever we can get out and practice. We’ve had a lot of injuries. Tony [Allen] was back practicing and that’s good. Billy Walker was back practicing and that helps. Paul was resting. Paul knows our stuff. He’s probably the least one who has to get out and practice right now. It’s good to see guys out on the floor. Those practice sessions are invaluable.
It’s a tough balance for Doc [Rivers]. We do need to practice but some of our guys are a little bit older and they need their rest. It’s always a difficult balance.
Is this an important night to see what kind of defensive effort you can bring?
I never get caught up in a game this early in the season. I know our guys care. I know that they really want it. I know that they have really high goals and we have a lot of talent. I’m confident that our guys know where they’re at. They know what they need to do to get better. Paul was at the gym this morning getting up extra shots. I see guys doing their extra work. But I do think our guys will come ready to play. At the same time you can be ready to play and Golden State can still score. I’m more concerned about what I’m seeing in the attitude and what I’m seeing in the work ethic and how our chemistry is coming together then I am with each and each loss.
I was never buying into this whole 72 wins and all that kind of stuff. We’re trying to win a championship.
Kendrick Perkins was talking about the team losing its focus. You’re not concerned about that?
I’m not. I think Perk is regurgitating a little bit of Doc trying to light a fire under the team. We are sloppy. We are sloppy on offense and defensive execution. We’ll play great in stretches. Our bench really carried us there in the first part of the season and they haven’t played as well in the last few games. Our starters were playing really well. I don’t think we have a perfect mesh yet and Doc is really trying to figure some things out with rotations and I don’t think this is the exact way that everything is going to be come April or May, but I’m not sure what that is either.
Is this predicated on defense?
That has to be our identity. That’s what we’ve been the last two years. We’ve been the top defensive team in the game and that’s how we started out the first six games. Our defense was incredible and I think we’ve taken a step back there. We’re going to have our ups and downs [offensively], that’s part of our identity too, but our defense has to be stable. That’s what we hang our hat on.
Were you surprised to see the Allen Iverson experiment last only thee games?
What’s tough there was he didn’t practice for a month. I was honestly surprised that after not practicing throughout the whole training camp that he came back and expected to play more than 17 minutes the first night. So, I guess I was a little surprised that after one night it was already a failure.
What was he thinking that he expects to be a 40-minute per night guy? But also you can’t expect him to be a plug-in guy when he expects to play a lot of minutes. That had disaster written all over it.
It seem apparent to us. It’s hard to believe that you come into a situation and not know that’s what you’re going to expect. When Steph [Marbury] came to us he knew exactly what he was going to do. There’s always a hope that you’re going to come in and tear off your Superman cape and have flashbacks to what you were in your prime. But coming in he knew exactly what he was going to do and what the expectations were. If anything we downplayed how many minutes he would play and here’s the role you have to accept.
That’s a difficult sell. When you’re not winning that’s even tougher to sell. I think Allen Iverson seems himself as the best player on that Memphis team, so that’s even harder to take.
We’re you watching Marbury 24/7 online?
No, we’re not watching that anymore. We did have some good laughs over the summer though.
Were you surprised by his actions?
I guess I wasn’t completely shocked.
He was well-behaved in the time he was here, but is it fair to say that he wasn’t realistic where he was in his career?
I didn’t get that from him. I know that he believes that he can still play. He can play. He did a great job for us, particularly all the things people said he wouldn’t do, which is share the ball and play good defense.
But if anything didn’t he share the ball too much?
He helped us in Game 5 [of the Orlando series]. He almost single-handedly won that game for us. It’s just difficult when you’re used to 40 minutes a night to come in such short spurts and try to do something different. That’s something he struggled with. That was more of the decision for us to go in another direction. Steph gave us no reason in his time here, other than he didn’t make shots. He didn’t show any signs of breaking up our team. Selfishness. Nothing. Everything was positive.
Can you deal with that kind of weirdness though?
I didn’t see any of that while he was here. He came to work, he practiced. I didn’t see any of that while he was here.