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Thursday, 17 April 2014 01:08

Danny Ainge on Boston Celtics Offseason Fireworks Plans, Brad Stevens on Season Struggles, Brandon Bass wins Red Auerbach Award

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BOSTON - It's been a while since the Celtics said goodbye in mid-April, but there was plenty to talk about before they faced the Washington Wizards in their season finale Wednesday night.


Before the game, Brandon Bass was presented with the 2014 Red Auerbach award for embodying the values of the late Celtics legend. Bass was heavily involved in swimming lessons with the Boys and Girls club this year, as he learned how to swim in the public eye to help raise awareness for the number of children that cannot swim.

But even before that, Danny Ainge spoke to the media and addressed the litany of issues and challenges facing him and his staff over the next three months.

"I think the 4th of July we'll have some fireworks," Ainge said. "I don't know, we're hopeful; I have some ideas and some plans that I'd like to do but there's just no guarantee that we can do it. We need to find good training partners, we always are trying to make fireworks every summer we try to do something that's unique and special and we will definitely try this summer."

So does that include giving up draft picks?

"That's a depends; that depends on what else we can accomplish, what other options we have. I could see that possibly happening, acquiring more assets. I could see giving up our assets, our young assets and some draft picks for players as well and everywhere in between."

Ainge had plenty to say about the key players on his team and their offseason prospects, but his response to a question on the future of Rajon Rondo was noteworthy.

"Listen, there's no one person that's more important than the whole organization. We need to be good because we all want to be good. I want my coach to stay, I want Jeff Green to want to be here, I want free agents that are out there looking at us play to want to play here. I want fans to want to come to the game, ya know everybody wants to win, but not just for one player, not just for one person. We all want to win and that's what we are trying to accomplish."

He also shot down the idea that they are prioritizing signing Avery Bradley in their offseason plans.

"I don't have a list, they're all priorities. Every player is a priority," Ainge said. "Avery had a good season. I've seen improvement in Avery this year and the biggest issue with Avery has just been health. He plays hard and he's had some injuries but none of them are injuries that should prevent him from being a great player."

When asked whether those injuries could affect his market value or the length of contract offers, Ainge told CLNS Radio, with a bit of disdain, "It can. It can. Sure."

Stevens looks back at first year and ahead to offseason

With his first year behind him, Brad Stevens had a lot of good and bad to think about. It was mostly bad, but he wasn't ready to say he failed in his first year.

"I thought I did [an] incomplete," Stevens said when asked to grade his first year. "I think as a coach, you're going to continue to grow throughout the summer, every summer. Whether you had a good year or bad year or not, you hopefully learn a lot; get better at it. I said this last week: I've got a laundry list of things I have to do better and I'll be my harshest critic and I'll try to do things better."

While Stevens is known for his focus on the task ahead and diving heavily into his work, he was able to look back and admit how difficult a year it's been.

"The one thing I probably learned about myself is that it's been very difficult to not be really good. It's hard not being a team that's contending for a playoff spot or contending for bigger things than that. But the thing that I'm proud of is the team, the coaches, the staff, I thought really put in the work for every single game, every single day.

Part of what made the season survivable is the support of the Boston fanbase, who remained loyal to the team despite having one of the worst records in the league.

"This can't be the case anywhere else," Stevens said of the unwavering support of the Garden crowd. "I've said this all year: the fans are amazing. I told our team today, when Phil Pressey dove on that ball the other night, it was like [a playoff atmosphere]. I've got real appreciation for this town and the people in this town because our atmospheres have been second to none and to be quite candid, our team has a long way to go. I think the fans have been a terrific part of the year to me."

Stevens has a long offseason to look forward to. With this being his first full summer off the recruiting trail, he will have plenty of time to enjoy the finer things in life, like more sports.

"I don't know what y'all like to watch on TV. I just said today, I haven't watched a sitcom, a reality show or one of those singing shows all year. Now I watch the Red Sox, which I'm kind of excited about. I asked my wife last night, ‘Are we going to wait until each of these games are over for 162 games?'

He also has the NBA playoffs, which he is looking forward to watching with a more evaluative eye than before. He told CLNS Radio about how he will enjoy the post season while still doing work.

"Yeah, I'll put down the notebook and we have all those games taped nd have access to all those games. We'll be able to pull those back up and break those games down. There will be things to see. I will porbably be watching it more for the adjustments game-to-game than I have in the past. As far as actions go, as far as how people defend in their base system, you learn those things through 82 games. But just seeing and having an eye on what people are doing game-to-game specific to who they have and how they are, will be interesting to watch. Especially after being through this."

But family comes first.

"I do owe my daughter two hours to watch Frozen with her for the 18,000th time."

Jared Weiss

Jared Weiss is the Celtics Locker Room Reporter and Host of The Garden Report: Celtics Post Game Show on Celtics Blog and CLNS Radio. J Weiss hosts The Block Party on Thursday nights at 8 PM and enjoys long walks on the beach while watching Rajon Rondo game footage. You can reach J Weiss at JWeiss@clnsradio.com and @CLNS_JaredWeiss.