Sport Danny Ainge: 'The East is going to be tough' even without LeBron James

17:10  12 july  2018
17:10  12 july  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Danny Ainge: Celtics 'don't really have a need' on current roster

  Danny Ainge: Celtics 'don't really have a need' on current roster The Celtics finished second in the Eastern Conference and fell one game shy of making the NBA Finals last season. MORE: NBA trade rumors: Spurs ready to move on, talking Kawhi Leonard deal with Lakers, CelticsBut nothing is set in stone and everyone has price.

Danny Ainge says " the East is going to be tough " in 2018-19. Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving are expected to make the Celtics the heavy favorites in the Eastern Conference now that LeBron James has departed Cleveland to join the Lakers.

According to a report, Danny Ainge has threatened Kyrie Irving with a potential trade for LeBron James this offseason if he doesn’t play in the Eastern He would follow that up with, “If the Earth were round, in more than one-dimension, why is its Internet emoji flat — nearly without shape?”

Danny Ainge holding a sign © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Despite LeBron James' absence, Danny Ainge knows the road to the NBA Finals will still be a difficult one.

While speaking to reporters Wednesday after the team's summer league workout, the Celtics' president of basketball operations said James' move to Los Angeles has had no effect on his expectations for next season.

"What do I care about the Eastern Conference? I don't really care about that. We're trying to win championships, and you still have to play LeBron," Ainge said, via ESPN.

"I think that there's a lot of good teams in the East that get undersold a little bit. I think Washington, and Milwaukee [is] an up-and-coming team, and Toronto was the best team in the conference last year during the regular season. I think they're a fantastic team. So the East is going to be tough."

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Without LeBron , this series would be a wrap in five at the most. It might be anyway. And for that, the real credit ought to be going to Celtics GM Danny Ainge , who is the one who Report: Lakers want to add shooting. LeBron James is reportedly on board with the moves the Lakers have made so far.

James agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million with the Lakers at the start of free agency and made the move official when he signed his contract Monday.

Meanwhile, the Celtics failed to reach an agreement on an extension with Marcus Smart before the start of the 2017-18 season, though the restricted free agent remains a top concern.

"Our priority remains the same. Our priority is still Marcus in free agency, and that's where we are," Ainge said.

As for Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Ainge anticipates their return ahead of training camp pending no further setbacks in their recovery.

"Both of them sound very optimistic and sound healthy, and they're getting out on the court," Ainge said. "They should be playing full-court basketball by the time they get back to Boston sometime in August."

NBA free agency: Isaiah Thomas was open to returning to Celtics .
Thomas signed with the Nuggets this month but had reached out to Celtics general manager Danny Ainge before his contract was finalized.In an exclusve interview with ESPN, the Nuggets point guard opened up about the struggles of last season as he dealt with nagging injuries and numerous trades.

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