With Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and the Warriors storming through the Finals, many are wondering if there’s any point in building a contender for the immediate future. Rockets GM Daryl Morey and our beloved Danny Ainge aren’t ready to wave the white flag:
“They are not unbeatable,” Morey said of Golden State. “There have been bigger upsets in sports history. We are going to keep improving our roster.”
Ainge remembers feeling his 1986 champion Celtics would stay on top for years. The Detroit Pistons seized the Eastern Conference two years later.
“Something can happen that nobody foresees,” Ainge said. “I don’t look at it as doom and gloom right now.”
Boston paid Al Horford the max last summer. He is 31. If Durant were still in Oklahoma City, Boston might burn more future assets to win today. But they are still going to try.
“We are definitely not in punt mode,” Ainge said. “But trading away picks and promising young players for a veteran who might be 5 percent better is not in our plans, either.”
There is always a super-team to chase. If this one is better than its predecessors, that doesn’t mean everyone peels off that chase. “I like having targets in Cleveland and Golden State,” Ainge said. “I like trying to meet their standards. It might not happen in a year. It might not happen in five years. WIth them, it might never happen. That’s how special they are.”
I agree with Ainge and have been saying this for weeks, if not, months, – sh*t happens. Players get injured or unhappy with their roles. Coaches burn out. Owners tire of paying tens of millions of dollars in luxury tax bills.
The Celtics are in the rare position of competing now (kinda) and building for the future. If a cranky, old, impatient cynic like myself can see this bright side, you should as well. Rich Jensen shared a similar message in the Dump.
I’d reset your sights from the Warriors (prohibitive favorites in 2018, 2019 for sure) and look at the Cavaliers. They need a lot more athleticism to hang with the Warriors so changes are coming. Can they find the right bench players at the right money? They lack a 1st round draft pick. How real is the LeBron t0 LA talk? Their GM could bolt. That’s an awful lot of uncertainty.
There is a real opportunity this off-season (hello Gordon Hayward, Markelle Fultz) for the Celtics to close the gap on the Cavaliers.