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Celtics GM Danny Ainge: “We are not tanking”

Jul 1, 2013, 4:50 PM EDT

Danny Ainge AP

Define tanking.

How you choose to do that will determine if you think the Boston Celtics are tanking. They certainly are rebuilding after they shipped out Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for a package of three first round picks, the talented young MarShon Brooks, and the anchor contracts of Kris Humphries (one year, $12 million) and Gerald Wallace (three years, $30 million).

But don’t use the “T” word around Ainge.

Which brings us back to how you choose to define tanking.

The Boston Celtics are not going to throw games next year in the sense they are not going to tell the players on the floor not to try hard, they are not going to ask them to lose intentionally. That is one literal definition of tanking and the Celtics are not going to do that. No team is.

But that’s not how most fans will define tanking. A lot of us would define tanking as putting together and playing a roster that you know will not win a lot of games in order to gain a better lottery position.

That’s where the Celtics seem to be headed and what they should be doing. Which means trading Rajon Rondo, too. Be bad, don’t be the 10 seed. Stockpile picks, clear cap space to chase future free agents and generally tearing it all down to completely rebuild (or retool or whatever word you choose).

You can define it by whatever word you wish, it’s what the Celtics should do.

  1. pantsfreezone - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    “We prefer to call it submarining.” – Danny Ainge

  2. moseskkim - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Yes u are. U ain’t goin nowhere with rondo passing to a dude named Kelly and melo but first name fab. A formula to winning in the NBA is getting the first couple picks when u know the player is a franchise changer. A durant, lebron, Duncan. SA has been the most consistent franchise for many different reasons but Duncan is the main. So I don’t blame celtics 6ers, and other teams who tank for a brighter future.

  3. blakegriffin32 - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    It’s not tanking. It’s rebuilding. They’ve been smart for what they’re doing, stock piling picks and trying to get young talent

  4. bigwii - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Preach it Danny! This is a pride organization is built off of pride and prideful teams don’t tank.

    But Danny what about Wiggins, Parker, and Randle.

  5. readysethike - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    if they decide to trade Rondo, then yeah i’ll think their tanking. and who the hell is going to be their new coach? and it better not be VDN

  6. iowahbr - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    That is the big problem wih the NBAt. Free agency, and big TV money h ungtil that happens aboutas shifted the power to the players in a silly way and ultimately could harm the NBA attendance. Only God knows what bboston is doing if not looking for good low draft chocies to rebuild but what about the time in-between? Actions speak louder than words

  7. circuscivics - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Start the “Stinking for Wiggins” campaign. I actually hope that my 76ers stink it up to get a shot at Wiggins.

  8. drewsylvania - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    They’re not tanking…yet. They’ll be tanking when they start mailing in games.

  9. dyn0myte - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    He’s right…

    You only shout DIVE on submarines.

  10. ike73 - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    It’s actually that the word “rebuilding” has been replaced in the modern lexicon by the word “tanking.” That’s about it.

    What the Celtics are doing is the right thing and part of the natural cycle of any NBA franchise. As a Celtics fan, I don’t even mind it much. I always find it interesting to watch a team start over again and try to build a contender from scratch. It certainly is exciting and rewarding if they can pull it off.

  11. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 1, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    It’s a little too early to call it tanking, but you can’t possibly come out and say you are trying to win. The NBA works a certain way and typically the worst scenario is to lock down a bunch of mediocre guys. Ainge knows this and wants his team to be bad since he realizes they aren’t great anymore. So what would you call it, Ainge?

  12. BigBeachBall - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    If it isn’t tanking, then why is ainge scouting the Washington generals right now?

  13. dudermcrbohan - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    They’re tanking

  14. andyhr17 - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Can’t say they’re tanking until the season starts.

  15. illegalblues - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    team isn’t good enough to win games when trying real hard. that’s no tanking, it’s rebuilding. stupid damn internet buzz words.

  16. gymtruthteller - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    ML Carr 2. I am loving this

    • 1historian - Jul 1, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Dream on, cupcake

  17. gymtruthteller - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    The definition of tanking is losing on purpose. The Celtics are trading away the only talent they have and filling that roster with draft picks. That’s tanking.

    Celtics fans are in serious need of a lobotomy. There is no Kevin Mchale to save you this time.

    • andyhr17 - Jul 1, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      They still have one of the best point guards in the league. They also have Jeff Green, who has the potential to be a 20 ppg player, and Sullenger, who has the potential to be a double-double guy. Key word is potential. We’ll see what happens this season when they’re not a veteran led team. Are they a playoff team? Well, in the east it doesn’t take a winning record for the 8th seed. Are they the worst team? Nah, don’t think so. I doubt they tank. I just doubt they have enough weapons to play themselves out of the lottery. I’d say at best they compete for the last playoff seed and at worst they’re drafting around 5 or so. With the level of talent that is supposed to come out in the next draft, the #5 pick should net a pretty good young player.

      • gymtruthteller - Jul 1, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Jeff Green? Now I am just going to ignore the stupidity.lol Rondo will be gone, Ainge says he isn’t trading him so say goodbye while you cam

      • andyhr17 - Jul 1, 2013 at 9:59 PM

        Why can’t Jeff Green average 20 a game? He hit that number quite often the latter part of the season when he wasn’t the focus of the offense. Not like 20 is an astounding number on a bad team or anything.

        Rondo isn’t going anywhere.

    • 1historian - Jul 1, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      IOW – you are a better evaluator of talent than Danny Ainge.

  18. 00maltliquor - Jul 1, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Danny Ainge- We’re not tanking…….there’s not a word in the english language to describe the amount of failing we are trying to accomplish for the next 12 months!

  19. scalfor3 - Jul 1, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    If we aren’t tanking, we should be. A draft like next year’s only comes around every 10 years or so.

  20. cfos00 - Jul 1, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Ummmm, if they aren’t tanking, they’re nuts. Great year to try not to win. This next draft is loaded, and as the NBA has shown time and time again, if you’re going to suck, make sure that you’re the best at sucking. High picks, having a top ten player, no state taxes, or being somewhere with palm trees are pretty much the only ways to get better right now. Smartest move that they could pull this year is to be awful and rebuild.

  21. j0esixpack - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    I’ve actually got common ground with Kurt for once!

    Yes – let’s call it what it is – tanking.

    It’s the wisest move and there’s a clear method to Ainge’s madness in terms of the draft assets and cap space and a lack of top tier players (which is why Doc is no longer here to)

    That being said Ainge will also be giving minutes to some younger players – some of whom have a chance to develop starting skills – and THEY will certainly be trying their hardest to make the most of this opportunity.

    I don’t think they’ll win a lot of games – but we’ll see some players develop for the next phase of rebuilding back to a contender. They did it once (worst to first even) so I won’t rule it out sooner than later either.

  22. giantssb42champs - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    1997 Celtics redux.

  23. kacapaco - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    am Celtic fan, and I tell u this- — WE ARE TANKING BIG TIME. My hope is, Ainge is planning to do that just for 1 season.

  24. doctordunkenstein - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    I hope they get screwed like they did the last time they tanked to try and get Tim Duncan

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