WALTHAM – This Celtic summer is very different from the last one. Due to the development of the young players and the absence at the end of the bona fide All-Stars, this year's trip to the Eastern Conference Finals looks very different from 2017 – and not only because the Bostoners have endured two games longer.
Because of the fact that Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward had to undergo surgery, one should not expect Danny to scrub Ainge and perform another important procedure on the Celtics roster.
But when the president of the basketball operations spoke just over a dozen hours after the Cavaliers' 87-79-play-7 elimination, his first thoughts were the freshest. And they were not very pleasant.
"Well, I felt that the team was playing great this year," said Ainge. "It was a fun group of people to be together day after day."
"You know, it was a very disappointing loss (Sunday). I think the further you go in the playoffs, the harder it is to lose. And what was interesting about the (Sunday) game was that I thought it was one of the playoff games we lost and that we should have won. And that will all of us eat for a while, and hopefully Brad (Stevens) will say that the pain you feel from the loss is part of the growth we need to become a great team.
"I met with the players this morning and it just hurts, and I feel that if I know every single player I think he'll push them on, I think they were just made like that have a really good group. "
It's a very different group from the one that ended last season, but this time the changes should be minimal. Marcus Smart is a restricted free agent, while Aron Baynes, Shane Larkin and Greg Monroe are unrestricted. The two-way contract guys from this year, Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen, can do whatever they want.
In descending order, the talks of Smart, Baynes and Larkin may be interesting, but Ainge does not expect any significant changes
"I mean, at that time last year I could not have said that we had 1
A question about Irving aroused a laugh at Ainge, whose head had made a detour.
"I mean, I get a kick the fact that everybody … wherever I go, people do not think we need Kyrie or need Gordon Hayward," he said. "I have a much longer memory, and I remember how great these guys were, and the effort we needed to get them, and I remember how tall they are and how young they are, so we need them Gordon and Kyrie: If this playoff run and all the series of the playoffs do not show that, then I do not know what that does.
"But we did win some games and we could fight through some tough battles, but we did are much, much better with Kyrie and Gordon. "
By winning 55 games and participating in the NBA Finals, some players have been able to increase their value, keeping them all means, later or much sooner, that they will have to pay the league's luxury tax – a decision that even goes beyond
"We hope we have an expensive roster," he said, "and I think we've managed the payroll pretty well so far, and we know there are going to be some really big, difficult decisions.
"We know that our ownership group in Boston was fantastic They were very willing to pay for teams with a chance and I think that the way our team has played this year and the hope I think it makes it easier for them to recognize the potential of this team and to be ready to pay the money, we have to be as good as we can. "
Ainge added a follow-up question: "I do not know what all-in is, but there are plateaus, and there are ridiculous expenses and responsible spending, and that's what we're trying to do is to be responsible."
That also applies to possible transactions , Currently, the Celtics have the above-mentioned free agent decisions and only one draft in the June 21 draft – a first all-rounder, No. 27 overall.
"I think we always try to get better, and when opportunities do exist, you have to be ready or prepared," Ainge said.
Also prepared to do very little.
When asked if he was ready to deal with this issue, Ainge offered a flat: "Yes, you know, we will not do anything if it does not make us any better, and there is no guarantee that these shops are there. "
In other words, if you're looking for fireworks this summer, you might just have to look up to the sky, not to the Celts.