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Sport Danny Ainge blames himself, not Kyrie Irving, for Celtics' issues last season

03:05  27 november  2019
03:05  27 november  2019 Source:   hoopsrumors.com

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The 2018-19 Celtics came into the season with high hopes of competing for the Eastern Conference crown. Instead, Boston underachieved, and GM Danny Ainge wishes he would have made more changes.

Danny Ainge et al. riding on the back of a boat© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

“I think that in hindsight, we should have cleaned out the roster a little bit to make it easier for [coach] Brad [Stevens], more joy for him to coach,” Ainge told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward re-joining a young squad that had just reached the Eastern Conference Finals caused a disruption of sorts within the organization. Younger players felt like they had already accomplished more than they had, and reinserting the veterans into the rotation—giving both top roles—caused a rift.

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“It just didn’t mesh,” Ainge said. “You know, it just didn’t, and I knew, and we talked about it.”

Ainge said that he didn’t make any major trades because the Celtics got off to a nice start, winning 37 games before the All-Star break. This season’s Celtics are again off a hot start with 12 wins in their first 16 games.

Referring to last season’s team. Ainge admitted that he would be “a little bit more careful … building another team that had such equal depth” while also making it clear that Irving should not be scapegoated as the problem in Boston last season.

“I think it’s silly that Kyrie is targeted as the guy just because he’s not with us this year,” said Ainge, who thinks he was also part of the problem. “I’ll blame all the players and I’ll blame myself, and we’ll go from there.”

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