Danny Ainge Was In Boston For Celtics Game 6 Loss

Jun 17, 2022, 3:12 PM
Danny Ainge sitting courtside for the Boston Celtics (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s not often you see an NBA executive sitting courtside at a Finals game between two teams he doesn’t work for, yet Danny Ainge was front and center for the Boston Celtics Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

After the Warriors beat the Celtics 103-90, Ainge was seen on the ABC broadcast taking the floor with the Boston players to congratulate the Warriors on their fourth title in the last eight seasons.

Ainge even shook hands with Warriors coach Steve Kerr after the loss, a somewhat strange occurrence for someone who no longer works for the team.

It is unquestionably unique behavior from Ainge, but it’s born out of a unique situation.

Ainge built the majority of the Celtics roster that took the floor this season in Boston, including the decision to draft Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, the core perimeter pieces on the team.

But, after 18 seasons overseeing the Celtics, Ainge resigned to make room for Brad Stevens in the front office before taking a job with the Jazz in December of 2021.

Considering the success Boston has had since drafting Tatum in 2017, having made two conference finals in the previous four seasons, most executives wouldn’t step away from the team like Ainge did.

Then again, most coaches wouldn’t have stepped back from overseeing such a talented young roster the way Stevens did during the same offseason.

So, when Boston made an impressive, albeit improbable run to the Finals this season, the first year after Ainge left the team, it shouldn’t be a major surprise that the former Celtics executive went back to observe the team’s postseason success. After all, there seemed to be no bad blood in his exit.

It should also be noted that Ainge’s son Austin remains the Celtics’ assistant general manager, even though the elder Ainge left in the summer of 2021.

Jazz fans were fine to have a double-take when they saw their team’s CEO taking in Finals games with his former players, but it’s also fair to recognize that the Ainge-Celtics relationship is a unique one, and it shouldn’t hinder the Jazz going forward.

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