Boston Celtics

Ainge: Perkins trade wasn't why we lost

175734.jpg

Ainge: Perkins trade wasn't why we lost

Don't tell Danny Ainge the Celtics are out of the NBA playoffs because they traded Kendrick Perkins.

"I don't think that the presence of one player standing in the middle of the paint was going to help our offense score more, wasn't going to prevent LeBron James from shooting step-back 3-point jump shots with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green draped all over him," Ainge told Comcast SportsNet's Greg Dickerson in a one-on-one interview.

"I mean, we scored zero points with four or five minutes to go in two games. That was not because of who we had playing center. That had a lot more to do with our best players not being able to score."

And please don't tell him the Celtics lost their toughness when they lost Perkins.

"Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. We lose our toughness because we trade one player?" he said. "What do you think Kevin Garnett feels about that? What do you think Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo feel about that? Like, we only have one guy that's a tough player, that brings an element of toughness?"

In other words, the team's president of basketball operations -- unlike many in Celtics Nation -- isn't blaming the Celts' second-half slide, and their second-round ouster, on the controversial trade of Perkins to the still-alive Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Without Perk, we were counting on . . . not all of our centers, but Nenad Krstic, who was playing well; Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who was playing well; Jermaine O'Neal and Shaq Shaquille O'Neal, who were hurt that we thought would come back," said Ainge.

"Jermaine came back and did his part, played great defense for us, held down the fort, but was clearly playing with injuries; he hurt his wrist in the first game of the playoffs, wasn't quite the same. Shaq really never returned. Baby, all of a sudden, just wasn't playing well. And . . . Krstic had the two bone bruises.

"So the trade didn't work. That's just part of the game and part of life, a frustrating part."

But he still thinks the reasoning behind the move was sound.

"If I had to do the trade today, I would have done it."

Dickerson's 30-minute interview with Ainge will air Monday night on Comcast SportsNet at 7 p.m.

BST Podcast: How will Kyrie Irving fit into Celtics' system?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BST Podcast: How will Kyrie Irving fit into Celtics' system?

A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper break down how Kyrie Irving will fit in Boston’s system and how much Isaiah Thomas’ contract impacted the Celtics to trade him at the 11-minute, 47-seconds mark.

Here are the rest of the minutes.

1:19 - Michael Holley, Kyle Draper, and Kayce Smith discuss the blockbuster trade that sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Nets 1st round pick for Kyrie Irving and debate if it was the right move to make for the Celtics.

7:08 - Mike Gorman joins by phone to give his opinion on the trade, if the Celtics are in a better position now, and if he has any concerns with the deal.

16:54 - Chris Forsberg joins BST to compare the Celtics and the Cavaliers rosters now that they have completed this blockbuster trade.