Ainge says he’s not enjoying Riley’s pain


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ORLANDO – Three decades ago, they were on opposite sides of the NBA’s longest-running blood feud — Lakers vs. Celtics.

For the past decade they’ve held similar positions in Boston and Miami, dueling for supremacy in the Eastern Conference.

But Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says he’s taking no joy in watching Heat president Pat Riley on the horns of the free-agent dilemma with LeBron James.

“I don’t take any pleasure in anybody’s pain,” Ainge said Thursday at the Orlando Pro Summer League. “This is a tough business and free agency is part of what we all go through. I certainly don’t take any joy in seeing great players leave organizations that have been good to them.”

Never mind that Ainge might have helped grease the skids for James’ departure from Miami by aiding the Cavaliers in their bid to¬†clear out salary-cap space.

The three-team trade also involving the Nets that sent guard Jarrett Jack to Brooklyn and guard Marcus Thornton and center Tyler Zeller to Boston along with a first-round draft choice became official at the end of the free-agent moratorium.

Ainge says his only motivation is to help the Celtics improve for the upcoming 2014-15 season, though he is known to be still searching for a way to swing a deal that might land Kevin Love in Boston. At this point, the Love scenario is a very long shot, because the Celtics simply do not have the goods to interest Minnesota in a trade. But that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to try.

In the meantime, Ainge and Celtics coach Brad Stevens both see Thornton and Zeller as contributors to their team right away.

“Ty Zeller is a big strong center that can also stretch defenses with his skill and really run the floor,” Stevens said. “I thought it was all positive from our standpoint.

“First and foremost, he’s a great transition rim runner, can really get out and fly up and down the court. He showed that at North Carolina. He’s got skill and can score on block. He handles and is savvy and can play facing basket.”

“Marcus can bring scoring, probably as a bench scorer,” Ainge said. “He can get hot. He had a 42- point game last season and can shoot from the 3-point line.”

Ainge’s only comment on the James affair was to say: “Wherever LeBron goes, the team’s a contender. That’s how good a player he is.”

Stevens was hired just days ahead of summer camp a year ago and was still learning which door to walk through when he arrived in Orlando. Now he is getting his first up-close view of the entire free-agent process.

“I’m probably more knowledgeable about our situation than maybe I sound, but don’t understand it to Nth degree,” he said. “As far was watching free agency, it’s hilarious. I just sit back and enjoy it.”

10 Comments

  1. JBM says:

    Titles with the Lakers, from cherry picked job to cherry picked job. Talent falling into his lap, kicks a coach out of his job and steals the ring off his finger. Grabs the best player in the game gets other players at discounts, visits the Finals four times in four years and wins two titles. Then after all that he talks about Riley’s pain, really????? How many other coaches and GM’s would love to have just half of Riley’s pain? How about Ainge himself?

  2. mee(a)t says:

    Lol Ben Andre you aren’t making any sense. Spurs are doing the same thing you’re criticizing. They added Marco Bellinelli last year and are now trying to get Gasol. There’s no need for the heat to rebuild if they are capable of reaching the finals…just tweaks…
    Boston are not trying to get back into the playoffs since they are rebuilding too.

  3. I was on the NYC subway transit and surprise surprise I seen, Landry Fields talking about being late for a workout. I didn’t know what that meant, but I thought about asking him and said to myself I’m not a real reporter I have to respect the privacy of the NBA players. So, I went along with my day – open an email stating Steve Novak have been traded to Utah Jazz. I thought to myself Fields and Novak been friends for a long time. Maybe, it wasn’t right to ask him anything. My point is sometimes these situations are harder on players than we think. Players have to see there decisions on every social networking site, TV screen and even in face to face. I know they making millions, but they have to face those millions and face there families, friends,teammates and business partners and ask did I make right decision.

  4. A.J. says:

    Ty Zeller “is a big strong center?” Huh? The guy is like Zydrunas Ilgauskas was, they both would crush their own rib cages if they were told to bench press 90 pounds.

  5. Ben Andre' says:

    Takes 3 yrs for chemistry. Celts should build via draft and forget quick fix.
    08 Celtics, and Miamis quick fix with bit 3 is not best way. Go with San Antonio and
    team work.

  6. James and Melo aren’t going anywhere. As the article said all the other team would be is a contender. No ring….

  7. Scisca says:

    K Love should just sit on his butt and wait till he becomes a free agent, just like LBJ and Melo. No point in gutting his future team by getting traded to it. Pick a strong team that becomes an instant competitor with you and go there.

  8. bballjunkie1 says:

    That was some of the best basketball, only thing that comes close is that 3 pointer by Ray Allen with the title on the line, and of course that bball clinic Pop put on directing them Spurs. Bball was like that everywhere. Miss those days thanks for the memories, For those who didnt get a chance to see a young Danny Ainge youd better ask somebody cause them Celtics were no joke, neither was Cap(Kareem), Magic, Coop,Byron Scot and the whole showtime(LA Lakers) gang.

  9. lee says:

    i really hope the get k love but what i dont understand is why the our not trying to sign any of these free agents and get k love

    • Jlee says:

      We don’t have the salary space to just sign people, are best way to get people are sign and trades. Next off season we’ll have a lot more cap room. but we just don’t right now to go after all these free agents.