Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge admits he has some regrets about some of his decisions during the 2018-19 season, one he claimed was his fault and not Kyrie Irving's.
Ainge admitted there were things he wishes he had done to give the Celtics a better chance to succeed, like cleaning out the roster a bit to give his team a viable structure.
“In hindsight, I wish I would have cleaned out the roster a little bit to make it easier for Brad (Stevens),” said Ainge in a recent interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols. “We had a deep roster, we were built for a long run, but we had a lot of young guys that had a lot of success without Gordon (Hayward) and Kyrie. The guys that had success without those two guys felt like it was their time for the spotlight and it just didn't mesh.”
"I do think it was my fault."
1-on-1 with Danny Ainge on what went wrong last year with Kyrie, how the front office pivoted to find an even better fit in Kemba Walker, and how his time with Larry Bird & Kevin McHale affected his reaction to Gordon Hayward's latest injury. pic.twitter.com/uw3gz5viVx
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 26, 2019
Those players were Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart — who all got their chance to shine during the 2018 NBA Playoffs, forced to lace them up without their leading scorer in Irving and without Hayward, who was out with a season-ending injury.
That core was only a game away from making the NBA Finals, which left them encouraged for the season to follow, only to encounter a rusty Hayward trying to find his footing and a returning Irving looking to get back the reins of the point guard position.
The constant tug and pull of these players resulted in friction and a lot of frustration for what became a rollercoaster season for a very deep and talented Celtics team.