An open apology to Danny Ainge

By Mark Paulette


Dear Danny,

In the words of the great Justin Bieber: “Is it too late now to say sorry?”

Because I am, I truly am.

For many months, neigh, years, I questioned your motives in stockpiling your coveted “assets”. A word that made me queasy at every mention over the last two seasons. I feared your mind had become corrupted at the potential of the team’s treasure trove of picks, and that you were unwilling to part from a single piece of the treasure, even when given the chance to improve the team in the present.

To me, there was no grand plan, it was all talk. Furthermore, it seemed the rest of the league was willing to sit back and call your bluff rather than get baited into dealing with you, the “Grand Fleece-r.”

I, like many, did not trust that indeed there was a plan. Even your draft moves seemed to be made in haste.

Jaylen Brown? Who? That’s who you take at no. 3 overall? “He’ll be a 6th-man at best in this league,” prophesied Aaron Jackson at the time.

And then, when the Celtics finally won the lottery this past June, for the first time in franchise history no-less, you traded it back for the #3 pick and more precious future assets.

But then Gordon Hayward signed; and wait, what’s that? No, it can’t be…the Celtics traded for Kyrie Irving? My god, there was a plan, and it’s coming to fruition.

The leap was made and the C’s were once again a legitimate threat to conquer the East.

You built a team so sound, in fact, that despite losing Hayward less than six minutes into the season, all they did was respond by winning 16-straight contests, erasing double-digit deficits each night and defeating the likes of San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Golden State along the way.

And the future is only getting brighter. Jayson Tatum looks like the champagne of his class, and would be Rookie of the Year, if not for Ben Simmons. Jaylen Brown is threatening to break through to all-star levels and Kyrie is leading the team like one would expect from a bonafide star. Not to mention next year will see the return/addition of a 20-point scorer, all-star and top-20 player in the league when Hayward returns.

Even the role players like Terry Rozier, Aron Baynes, Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis are providing substantial contributions.

Literally every move executed during this “plan” has proven positive thus far, and there are all too few times that can be said in the world of sports.

You have not only succeeded in building a formidable squad on the court but you’ve also succeeded in silencing doubters like myself across the media landscape.

For the reasons I have stated, and hopefully many more which crop up throughout this 2017-18 season and beyond, allow me to swallow my pride and say that for having ever doubted you, Danny, I am deeply sorry.

Mark Paulette is the executive producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.