|Ainge on Big Show: No Doc decision yet||06.23.10 at 6:06 pm ET|
Danny Ainge appeared as a guest on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon and touched on a number of topics swirling around the Celtics, including his own future. Here are some highlights:
ON RUMORS HE WOULD GO TO PHOENIX
Ainge said the Suns have not approached him about their general manager job. “I have a contract [with the Celtics] and I love what I’m doing and the people I working with. We have things to accomplish here. That is just a rumor. It has no substance.”
ON DOC RIVERS
“Doc has not made a decision. I know everyone wants to speculate but the reality is he has not made a decision. I don’t want him, personally, to make a decision too soon.”
“Doc and I spoke yesterday and the day before and today. We don’t talk necessarily about his decision, we’re just talking about the team and different things. Doc is taking his time and he’ll take some time with his family this weekend. He’ll make some decisions, I believe, probably by next week or shortly thereafter.”
Quick take: The Celtics can afford to wait. Ainge said Rivers is not very involved in the draft process. The longer this plays out, the better the chances are for a return. Ainge also said he would take his time if he needs to hire a new coach and that he wouldn’t rush to hire a replacement. “I don’t think it needs to be done quickly,” Ainge said. “It needs to be done right.”
ON KEEPING THE CORE OF THE TEAM TOGETHER
“We had lots of conversation that revolved around Ray [Allen] at the trade deadline, but we felt like our team could win. I feel like this is still a good team and has another run in them.”
ON RAY ALLEN
“[Offering Allen a new contract] is the most likely scenario and we love Ray. I know Ray has more basketball left in him. We have to make wise financial decisions knowing Ray will have other options.”
ON RASHEED WALLACE’S POSSIBLE RETIREMENT
“It’s not official, but Rasheed has indicated to everyone, even before the season concluded, that this would be his last season. Rasheed had indicated that physically he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to do and he has a home in Portland, Oregon. He loves it out there and I think he’s looking forward to the next chapter of his life.”
ON PAUL PIERCE’S PLAYER OPTION
“I don’t know the answer to that. I do have doubts. I’m uncertain what Paul may do. That’s something we’ll address next week once the draft is over.”
Quick Take: Pierce has until June 30 to decide whether he will exercise the option to opt-out of his contract and become a free agent. If he does, he would be leaving $21.5 million on the table, but by opting out he would also be able to get an extension before a new Collective Bargaining Agreement goes through after the 2010-11 season.
The Celtics should know more about their future next week once Rivers and Pierce make their decisions, but Ainge said that he wants to bring the team’s core back. Ainge has maintained that this team’s run is not over yet and that is the direction he will take at the start of free agency.
ON FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
“With Rasheed retiring and [Kendrick Perkins] injury, that’s where we would start. At the center position. We have to do that wisely. We can’t just go get centers. We may have to trade for a center. We may have to sign a center in free agency. It doesn’t look like there will be a center that will make a big difference for us [in the draft].”
ON SEMIH ERDEN
The Celtics own the rights to Erden, a 23-year-old 7-footer from Turkey who averaged six points and six rebounds for his team in the Euro League.
“I think he’s always been ready to play, but it depends on what role. I can’t tell you he’s going to be the difference-maker for our team. He’s an unproven young player who has played a high level of international competition. He’s progressing, no question.”
ON THE DRAFT
“This is a draft that is deep, but there is some really young talent [at the top levels]. The deeper you get into the draft, it’s more Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe-type guys who are capable of coming in and playing a role and contributing, that might not have some of the upside.”
Quick Take: It sounds like Ainge would be looking at wing players in the Damion James/James Anderson mold more than the raw centers that may be available with the 19th pick. Erden is an intriguing, albeit unproven, talent and may be more prepared to play in 2010-11 than players such as Solomon Alabi or Hassan Whiteside.
There is no question that the Celtics need help up front and there are a few veterans that could be had in free agency, such as Jermaine O’Neal, Brad Miller and Ben Wallace.
“We’re working round the clock and unfortunately it could be a long summer.”
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