Danny Ainge went for it all in the 2008 season, and he successfully built a champion in the Boston Celtics.
When Ainge acquired Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves before the 2007-08 campaign, he established the Celtics were in win-now mode. Garnett joined longtime Celtics star Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, who had recently been acquired from the Seattle SuperSonics, as part of Boston’s new “Big Three.”
Ainge recently was interviewed on ESPN’s “Hoop Streams” about acquiring Garnett and building that championship squad, and the Celtics president of basketball operations discussed what exactly led to KG joining Boston.
“Well, KG was very polite letting me in his home,” Ainge said. “We talked about the possibility. I got permission from Minnesota to go talk to KG and see if we could talk him into doing the trade. He was very respectful and I think he was very interested. He had some friends that he counted on. Chauncey (Billups) and (Tyronn Lue) I think were two of those friends that he relied heavily on at that time. At first, before we made the trade for KG or before Ray, KG wasn’t sure we were good enough to win.
“And so I think he was waffling between us and I think the (Los Angeles) Lakers might’ve been involved and tried to get KG. So it wasn’t until we made that draft-day trade (for Allen). We actually made a trade for KG before, but because KG would not sign a contract extension, I wasn’t going to give up a lot of our young assets just to have KG for one year. So we went on and made a trade for Ray, and then we went back to Minnesota and back to KG, and we were able to work something out. And as the say, the rest is history.”
Ainge needed all of the pieces to fall into place for this to work, and that’s exactly what happened for the Celtics.
Garnett will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this summer.