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There was a lot of speculation as to whether Danny Ainge would have his job much longer as the general manager of the Celtics after the terrible results of the 06-07 season. Nothing had seemed to be going right at all in Ainge’s career as GM. None of the draft picks or players acquired in trades really amounted to much, with the exception of Al Jefferson. Doubt surrounded the general manager until last summer when he managed to pull off the signings of all-stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.
Most fans view the signings of Allen and Garnett as the best move of the season for Ainge, but I think there is definitely some other acquistions he made that were important as well. Remember that Ainge traded nearly the entire team away for Allen and Garnett and basically had to form a bench out of nothing for the upcoming season. This was not an easy task, but he combed the free agent market and signed veterans James Posey, Eddie House, and Scot Pollard to start the season.
Midway through the season, Ainge acquired two more veteran players in Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown, both for virtually nothing. He constructed a team that went from nothing to everything in just one season. Now Ainge has his sights set on repeating the same success for the upcoming 08-09 season.
There have already been some great acquisitions this summer for the Celtics. Ainge did well on draft night by grabbing J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker, both whom look to provide more depth and young talent. Personally I see Walker having a big impact if he can stay healthy throughout his career.
Ainge also drafted center Semih Erden out of Turkey. However, Erden will remain in Europe and will probably not have an effect on the team for a long time.
Ainge also managed to acquire some more free agent talent and height in Patrick O’Bryant from Golden State, who will become another back-up center to Kendrick Perkins. What is great about O’Bryant is his 7’0″ height. He is now the tallest player on the team.
Darius Miles also signed. If healthy, Miles can be a great ball player like he was in Portland. The risk here is that Miles has not played since the 05-06 season due to injuries. Sam Cassell also appears to be returning to Celtics again for another season and will compete with Gabe Pruitt and Eddie House for the back-up point guard job to Rajon Rondo.
I am confident in all of the moves that Ainge is making, because a team can never have too many tools or too much talent. I had my doubts in the past about Ainge especially after he broke up the team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002, but he proved me wrong this past season and so far he has continued to do just that for this upcoming season.
The tough part will be getting the roster down to its final version. Training camp is coming up and we will soon see if Ainge has any more tricks up his sleeve.