Did Danny Ainge send a message this week by downplaying LeBron James’ departure from the Eastern Conference?
The Celtics president of basketball operations suggested Wednesday that Boston still faces plenty of competition in the East despite James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
Perhaps it was Ainge’s way of simply brushing off a question about James’ exit. But Chris Broussard said Thursday on FS1’s “Undisputed” that he loved Ainge’s comments, as they reflect the exact mentality that helped the Celtics push the Cavs to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals this past season despite missing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
The truth is the Celtics are better off with James playing in the Western Conference. James has eliminated Boston from the playoffs five times in the last eight seasons — twice with the Miami Heat and three times with the Cavs — and the C’s now stand as the favorites to reach the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference with both Irving and Hayward set to return for the 2018-19 campaign.
That said, the Celtics can’t afford to take anything for granted, even with James leaving Cleveland, and Ainge evidently is trying to set that tone before the season tips off.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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