Danny Ainge: “Trading Isaiah Is The Toughest Call I Ever Had To Make”

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Danny Ainge: “Trading Isaiah Is The Toughest Call I Ever Had To Make”


It was an incredibly busy summer for Danny Ainge. He traded away the No. 1 pick, because he knew that Jayson Tatum, who the Celtics wanted, would still be available for their (then) No.3 pick. Then, Ainge managed to sign All Star forward Gordon Hayward. That would have been a great summer already, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Because in a deal no one really saw coming, the Celtics brought in Kyrie Irving. They had to give up the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 draft pick, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a second round pick, and, most gruesome for Celtics fans, Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas was the heart and soul of the team and gave his absolute all for the franchise. The fan favorite identified with the Celtics franchise like almost no other player has since Paul Pierce, and even played through injuries and personal tragedies.

Ainge, who always puts the franchise first, as we were able to see when he traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, to ensure a bright Cetlics future (the trade turned out to be the perfect way of rebuilding the team), knew that he needed to trade Thomas, who still is injured and who would have become a free agent next summer. But, even though it probably was the right thing to do for the franchise, it was one of the toughest calls he had to make as an executive. Ainge told the Boston Globe:


“It was definitely the toughest call I ever had to make. It’s in everybody’s best interest that I don’t share all the reasons [for the trade]. But the bottom line is obviously I felt like it was the right thing for our franchise to do. But it’s a deep and complicated process. It’s not as simple as people think it is.

It’s not easy for these office people that become great friends with the players. There’s a reality that I see and that’s what makes any sort of trade challenging. But it’s just part of the world that we live in, but it’s got to be done. You’ve got to do what’s best for the franchise. The franchise is bigger than all of us. Bigger than one individual.”


Ainge went on to compare the current situation with the Pierce and Garnett trade in 2013. He said:


“I would have been thrilled to let Paul and KG finish their careers as Boston Celtics and have then finish here,” Ainge said. “I would have been fine with that. But we had an opportunity that came up that presented itself that we needed to do for the benefit of our fans, our franchise. It’s not my franchise. It’s not Paul’s franchise. It’s the city of Boston’s franchise and that’s my job to do what I think is best for the franchise. With ownership we work to make decisions that’s best for the long-term benefit of our franchise.”


Being in a leading position is hard at times. You have to make sacrifices. But Boston fans know that Ainge always has a plan. Otherwise it would not have been possible for him to trade away the fan favorite and barley get any negative comments from fans in return. Danny knows best.

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