Celtics' Ainge on trading Isaiah Thomas to Cavs: 'Toughest call I ever had to make'

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has a reputation as being a savvy business man, in part, because he can remove emotion from decision making. How else would he have been able to part ways with Celtics legends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in 2013? 

The latest example of that is what Ainge did earlier this summer in parting ways with Isaiah Thomas, one of the most popular figures in Boston, in a deal with the Cavaliers. And while you may think it was a cut-and-dried business decision, he admitted it was one of the toughest ones he's made.

"It was definitely the toughest call I ever had to make," Ainge told the Boston Globe. "It's in everybody's best interest that I don't share all the reasons [for the trade]. But the bottom line is obviously I felt like it was the right thing for our franchise to do. But it's a deep and complicated process. It's not as simple as people think it is."

Despite popular belief, Ainge says, front office executives get to know players personally, which is why parting with Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic was particularly difficult.

"It's not easy for these office people that become great friends with the players. There's a reality that I see and that's what makes any sort of trade challenging. But it's just part of the world that we live in, but it's got to be done. You've got to do what's best for the franchise. The franchise is bigger than all of us. Bigger than one individual."

Ainge also recollected that blockbuster 2013 trade that sent Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets for a treasure trove of assets, saying that situation was a similar one to the Thomas deal,  because he did what he thought was best for the franchise.

"I would have been thrilled to let Paul and KG finish their careers as Boston Celtics and have then finish here," Ainge said. "I would have been fine with that. But we had an opportunity that came up that presented itself that we needed to do for the benefit of our fans, our franchise. It's not my franchise. It's not Paul's franchise. It's the city of Boston's franchise and that's my job to do what I think is best for the franchise. With ownership we work to make decisions that's best for the long-term benefit of our franchise."

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories
    Flagrant Two Podcast