Shady Boston Celtics Behavior Comes To Light Again

Shady Boston Celtics Behavior Comes To Light Again

Danny Ainge has done an objectively tremendous job in keeping the Boston Celtics relevant and reasonably successful throughout his lengthy stint as an exec. That said, certain shady practices as they pertain to injured players have continued to haunt him.

These practices were brought up again this week when Zach Harper of The Athletic appeared on “The Ringer NBA Show” podcast.

Harper highlighted how Ainge attempted to trade an injured Kemba Walker for a top-10 pick in this year’s draft in the hopes of flipping that selection for Jrue Holiday.

The Chicago Bulls’ fourth overall pick and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fifth overall pick were discussed, apparently.

“That kind of soured a lot of players on the Celtics,” Harper said. “I think Anthony Davis just wanted to be a Laker and there’s a whole Rich Paul connection, but I also think that was a factor … I don’t think it was a major factor but it was a significant factor on some level of, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be a Celtic.’

“I think if Danny Ainge doesn’t handle this Kemba injury properly in terms of getting him back on the court, if they rush him back and something bad happens to Kemba, I think players are really going to look at this Celtics franchise sideways.”

Boston signed Walker to a big contract last year with the intention of building around him, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown long-term. This offseason, it came out that Walker was still being severely hampered by his injured knee – prompting Ainge to seemingly try and pull the ripcord on their relationship.

This brought back memories of Ainge using and abusing an injured Isaiah Thomas, who fought through injury in a contract year only to never actually get the big payday he was looking for.

Walker, for his part, doesn’t seem to be in any big hurry to return to action.

“The way I felt the last couple of months, if I don’t feel that way, I’ll know I’m better,” he said recently. “I wasn’t myself, it didn’t feel good.”

Now it’s all about getting healthy.

“I’ve been playing for so long without getting a break,” Walker admitted, before revealing that he would be re-examined by the Celtics in January.

Big picture, it will be interesting to see how future free agents feel about Ainge’s reputation for not caring a ton about his injured players. Maybe the power of the almighty dollar will always win out and it ultimately won’t matter. Or maybe Harper is right, and the consequences of Ainge’s actions will sooner or later catch up to him.

One way or another, this promises to be an interesting season to be a Celtics fan.

Related: Steelers Fans Respond To Colin Cowherd’s Odd Rant

Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.

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