Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the thinking behind the moves the team made ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, and specifically the acquisition of Evan Fournier in a deal with the Orlando Magic, it was to give a team that lacks confidence a reason to have some optimism.
“I talk to [coach Brad Stevens] especially every day. I talk to the players. I’m on the team, in the locker room, and I can feel a feeling of discouragement and frustration, as would happen with any team that feels they are playing below what they can play, “Ainge said Friday morning. It’s not about an incident or a personality, but there is a difference when things are going really well and when they are not.
“But when you are not meeting your expectations, the opportunity for discouragement and frustration arises, and I think that happens with all teams. It has happened with all teams that I have been associated with. And then there is optimism and us. team and we have team meetings and filming sessions and we go out for a run for a bit, but we just can’t keep it up.
“I just hope that adding another veteran player who is a versatile shooter with size and versatility will give us a jolt.”
The Celtics, who are in Milwaukee to play the Bucks on Friday night, are certainly a team in need of a shake-up. Boston is just 21-23 on the season and is eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, well below the standard Boston has set in recent seasons, when it has been a consistent top 4 finalist and has Made it to the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four years.
This year’s group, however, has never clicked in the same way after losing Gordon Hayward to free agency, a move that came immediately after Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Marcus Morris left for nothing. previous low season. However, Hayward’s departure left Boston with a $ 28 million trade exception, which the Celtics used to get Fournier from the Magic for Jeff Teague and a pair of second-round picks.
The 28-year-old Fournier is averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game this season and will give the Celtics another long and versatile offensive player who should fit well into Stevens’ system. And while Fournier has an expiring contract, Ainge said he hopes the guard will be with the Celtics for a long time.
When Ainge was asked if the Celtics can now compete with teams at the top of the conference, such as the Milwaukee, the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, he said he wasn’t sure. But he said that was not the only reason to make a move like this.
“I also feel an obligation to something more than [that]”Ainge said.” We are dealing with people here. And I feel like we’re trying to get better all the time, every trade deadline, every offseason. And I felt that there was an opportunity. And we felt there was more than one opportunity, but some of them didn’t work out.
“But with Evan in particular, I thought this opportunity was unique. And to add a player of his caliber, we’ve often talked about shooting with size, here’s a 6-7 kid who’s a good shooter, he can play, He can handle the ball. Just another creator for us. And a very consistent player. And we’re excited to add him. I think it’s a good use of our [trade exception]”Boston, which also dodged the luxury tax by sending starting center Daniel Theis to the Chicago Bulls in a separate deal, has been disappointing at both ends this season, with Ainge highlighting the team’s decline from fourth in defense of the season. turned 24 this season as a particular source of disappointment. And with the Celtics hovering around the margins of the East playoff picture, Ainge decided now was the time to change the roster, hoping Boston would return to the game. something closer to the level it is used at. to play.
“This is a team that I put together. I am responsible for it. I think you spoke of patience; I think I am very, very patient. I have been at this for a long time. I think there is a time to overreact, but I didn’t feel the pressure of do any of these things. I feel like this is a deal that I would have made at any point in the last few years, probably with this opportunity. But I think the biggest pressure is I just want our players to feel hope, and I want our coach to have hope. , and I feel a little discouraged internally with our guys. So that was one of the reasons we did something now instead of waiting on the road. “