Ainge: We’re not tanking season to get in lottery

It was the first thing Celtics general manager Danny Ainge told

Kris Humphries on Monday when the two sat down to talk: ”We’re not

tanking.”

”It’s the first thing he told me, too,” said Keith Bogans, who

came to Boston along with Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks

and three first-round draft picks in the deal that sent Kevin

Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets. Boston also sent

Jason Terry to Brooklyn and acquired Kris Joseph.

The deal followed the trade of coach Doc Rivers to the Los

Angeles Clippers, and it continued the rebuilding process that has

been seen – and, from many in Boston, welcomed – as an attempt to

”tank” the season, racing to the bottom of the standings to land

a top pick in next year’s talent-rich draft.

Not so, says Ainge.

”I’m not sure I used that word,” Ainge said, though both

players said he was very specific with his expectations. ”I think

every player wants to know what the rules of the team are. I

assured (them) we’re going to try to win every game.”

The three new Celtics – Wallace couldn’t make it, and Joseph was

waived later Monday – met reporters in a news conference at the

team’s practice facility. It was Ainge’s first availability since

the deal to unload Garnett and Pierce that was agreed to on draft

night and finalized on Friday.

”If it were my decision alone, their numbers would be hanging

in the rafters,” Ainge said. ”Their legacies have been made here

in Boston. At the same time, we’re still going to try to beat

them.”

The dismantling of the team that won the 2008 championship and

returned to the NBA finals two years later actually began with the

trade of Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City in 2011. Ray Allen’s

departure for the Miami Heat last offseason broke up the new Big

Three, and the team’s first-round playoff exit this season

convinced Ainge that the time had come to rebuild.

Rivers was allowed to leave for the Clippers – bringing a

first-round draft pick in return – and he was replaced by

36-year-old Brad Stevens of Butler, who had never coached or played

in the NBA but could grow with a young team.

All that was left was finding a new home for Pierce and Garnett

and their guaranteed contracts.

”Brooklyn showed a great deal of interest in putting a dream

team together … at any cost, it seemed like,” Ainge said. ”We

felt like, where we were as a team, it was going to be very

difficult to be a championship contender (had) we kept Paul and KG.

The opportunity presented itself. It’s a situation we needed to

do.”

Ainge said it was difficult to part with two players likely

headed to the Hall of Fame.

”Those two guys are two of the greatest players who probably

ever played the game,” Bogans said. ”I’m not going to try to live

up to what those guys did.”

Ainge praised the skills his new players will bring, saying

Humphries will help the rebounding on a team that suffered without

it. Bogans has been ”highly regarded by every coaching staff that

he’s been on.” And of Brooks, whom the Celtics picked in the first

round of the 2011 draft and then traded away, Ainge said, ”We

should have kept him.”

Ainge said the team had not made a decision on what to do with

Joseph, but about an hour later the team waived him. ”We have a

few too many guaranteed contracts,” he said before the decision

was announced.

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