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Danny Ainge on The Big Show: We’re going to try to do something

02.10.10 at 5:24 pm ET
By
Danny AInge (AP)

Danny Ainge (AP)

Danny Ainge joined Glenn Ordway and The Big Show to talk about trade rumors, Kevin Garnett’s health, what he thought about while watching the Magic go on a 19-0 run and more trade rumors.

There have been new trade rumors since the last time we talked. What about this Glen Davis to Charlotte rumor? Any truth?

Any truth to what? That he’s going to Charlotte? No.

Any truth to it?

None. I haven’t had any discussions with Charlotte.

You have had zero conversations with Charlotte?

Right, I haven’t had any conversation with Charlotte. There was speculation that they were looking for 4 and we were looking for a backup [point guard]. People try to put things together, but I have not had conversations. I like the player mentioned in the trade rumor [D.J. Augustin] but we like Glen Davis a lot, too.

The fact that rumors get out there, do you get more calls from other teams when rumors get out there?

Well, there’s so much media people so there’s so many distractions. People from the media try to verify every rumor.

No, that’s not what I meant. Other teams?

No, it does not instigate more calls. Maybe something bigger might, but no. It has not.

What was your feeling watching the Magic go on a 19-0 run? Did it disturb you?

Yeah, it’s frustrating to watch because it didn’t feel like we wanted to fight through it. The NBA is a game of runs. When a team is hot that’s one thing. But when you’re giving up easy baskets and then not doing what it takes to execute. You’re not paying the price. We all go through offensive droughts during the course of game but I just didn’t feel like there was any fight in getting back in the game. I think our guys are resting on their past experiences and think they can turn it on and win games. I’m not saying they’re making conscious decisions to do that, but that’s just the way it appears.

Doc said after the game that one of the players said after the game that the Celtics were better than Orlando. Is it injuries or are there more issues with this team internally?

The only problems internally come from the lack of confidence in each other that comes from losing games like we’ve lost. Sometimes guys get frustrated, but those things happen you start having the belief that it can happen. I think the player was saying it in a different way. I think he was saying, we can be better than those guys, and obviously we weren’t better than those guys that day. But we can be better if we start playing like we’re capable of playing. Doc said the right thing too, we’re not better. We have a lot of work to get better.

You’re dealing with veteran players. Isn’t that something of a concern?

Absolutely it’s a concern. No question. I think everyone’s concerned. That’s what I’m saying in answer to your question about things internally. I believe usually that things happen internally when things aren’t going well out in public; like losing games and giving up 19 point-leads and so forth. I think things happen internally as a result of that. You don’t see very many things happen internally while you’re winning. These guys want to win and they expect to win, so I think the little things that creep in internally are the things that aren’t being executed properly out on the court.

As the GM, how do you fix that and do you think the way to fix that is by making a trade?

I think a trade is one way to fix it, if it’s a trade that helps you. First of all I think that health can fix it. I think our guys are going to get more healthy as the year goes along. I’ve been saying that and I still believe that. I don’t know what we’re going to be able to do from a trade standpoint. Trades are very difficult to do in the NBA right now. We’re going to try to do something. I feel like we need to do something, but it might be something very small to tweak the personality of our team.

It seems that the only way you would make a big trade is if you come to the conclusion that you can’t win it this year. Is that fair?

I don’t think that it’s that simple. I’ll know more by this time next week if there’s anything that we can do to give us a chance to win better this year, and still not hurt us down the road. I’m exploring. Those are the only kind of deals I would consider right now. I’m not ready to blow it up. Now, if it was a very intriguing young player then that’s a whole different story, but those aren’t available.

Are you more likely to do a deal that changes the chemistry or fill a need?

Fill a need. It’s all about winning. Our chemistry is fine. It’s more of a playing need. I think it might be to change our approach, change our rotation, change the way we go about it. The chemistry on the court is what I’m more concerned about then I am any sort of personalities. We don’t have any bad personalities in the locker room. So I’m interested in helping our team get better and sometimes a small change can make a difference. A big change would only happen if I felt like it gave us a better chance to win this year.

When you constructed this team, did you ever imagine you would run to these types of problems that you’ve referenced?

We started off 23-5 and it looked like that’s where we thought we would be. Then the injuries started mounting. You always anticipate that the injuries are possible. We’ve only had our team together for one game. The last game was the first game where we had our team together. We’re not panicking, but at the same time, when you’ve had as many injuries that we’ve had and we haven’t been able to finish games with the veteran team that we have, there’s cause for concern.

Do you feel confident that Kevin Garnett can go out and play the type of defense that allows teams to shutdown teams in the fourth quarter again?

Last year we spent a lot of time talking about KG. What I kept saying was, we are not counting on KG, but we were hopeful that he might be able to come back. We were never counting on him to return, but we were hopeful. That’s what we kept saying over and over again. We were hopeful all the way to the end that there was a chance. Then, and this is what happens with the medical stuff, once our team doctor went in and performed the surgery on KG he said, ‘Oh yeah. Now I know why he didn’t play.’ But he couldn’t tell. The size of the spur was much bigger and more detrimental to his movement, so there was a reason why he didn’t play, but we didn’t know that. We thought there was a chance that he might and we didn’t know until they actually went in and performed [the surgery]. You never know on those things.

KG has looked really good in stretches this year and there’s been games when he hasn’t. So we are hopeful that he can get back to the way he was playing when we had an 11-game winning streak. There’s no reason to expect that he can’t be back to as well as he’s played this year. He’s had some good stretches. We’re not trying to get Kevin Garnett back to the way he was two years ago.

Veteran teams tend to do better in the playoffs. Do you think this team is too old?

I do not think we’re too old. No.

Do you sense there’s a lot of interest in other teams in the league acquiring Ray Allen?

At this stage, it’s not so much that there’s other teams looking to acquire Ray. We value Ray much more than anybody else in the league values Ray. Let’s put it that way. What he does for us is much more valuable. The value in today’s economic climate is an expiring contract.

Do you get sense that Ray will progress in the same way as Garnett? That the Big Three will be in a good spot when the playoffs roll around.

I do think that’s a strong possibility, yes.

Paul Pierce is OK? He’s playing tonight?

He is playing tonight. It keeps getting better each day. There was still a little soreness Monday when i talked to him. I talked to Eddie Lacerte this afternoon and he said Paul was ready to go. He’s feeling better.

How do you deal with guys who have injuries and the All-Star game?

We’ll know more tonight after Paul plays. Paul has always wanted to play. It’s really hard to keep him out of games, as it is with KG and Ray. Ray hasn’t missed a game all year either. I think they like to play and they want to play and I don’t want to be the one to tell them not to play. I sit down and go through the longterm and the benefit of not playing and resting and letting some of the young guys go some of the time. But those guys have a hard time sitting down. They feel like they get their rest on other days. Paul looked good in the first half kind of like [Dwight] Freeney in the Super Bowl, but in the second against Orlando he was not moving as well.

We give him the option. We had a conversation one night with KG and he was mad at us for not playing. Rondo was mad at us for taking him out of a game this year. He went storming out of the training room. He was not happy. So there are times when we make tough decisions because players have that mindset and I’m grateful for that mindset. There’s a lot of players around who don’t have that. We don’t want to discourage guys from playing but we want them to be smart, especially with the older guys.

Is there pressure from the league that players play in the All-Star game?

The thing is, a guy like Brandon Roy’s not going to play in the game but he has to be there for the full weekend and go through the festivities like he’s an All-Star. My feeling is, in a player like in Paul’s situation, if he’s got to be there I’d just assume have him getting ready for the 3-point contest and playing short minutes in the game, it’s almost like an easy workout, then I am have him be there with no activities to do.

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