On Monday afternoon, Celtics President of Basketball Operations met with media. Appearing to have spent the past 7 days listening to early Counting Crows records, Ainge sulked his way through roughly twenty minutes of questions about the trade that sent Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers. Making it quite clear that he was dissappointed in Doc Rivers’ decision to walk away, 2 years after he signed a handsome 5 year extension that seemingly meant the coach would maintain the reigns throughout Boston’s rebuild effort.
And to a degree, Ainge has the right to be upset. But he’s also smart enough to understand the hypocricy of his anger.
In an interview with Bill Simmons this past April, Larry Bird spoke about loyalty – specifically Red Auerbach’s refusal to break up the original Big 3. According to Bird, Auerbach refused offers that could’ve potentially sparked a rebuilding effort out of loyalty: Larry had given his back to the Celtics, McHale his foot and knee. They had worked too hard, and had given too much to be thrown aside in the name of ‘business.’
He might not have sacrificed the health of his body to the degree of his Celtic bretherens, but Paul Pierce has given fifteen quality years to this organization. If you want to speak about loyalty of your employees you have to show an ounce of it: And desperately trying to trade a player whose given a decade and half of his life to this team to the Clevelands and Atlantas of the world (for Josh Smith nonetheless) isn’t accomplishing that.
If Ainge wants a level of ‘loyalty’ within the organization, he has to ocasionally step out of his ‘strictly business’ bubble and do what’s right, and this is certainly is his chance to do so:
Approach Paul Pierce and ask him what he’d like the Celtics do, or come to expect the turnstyle approach that has led to the departure of Ray Allen and Doc Rivers to continue. You can’t have it both ways.