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Larry Bird, Danny Ainge & Kevin McHale were all present for NBA Summer League in Orlando yesterday. Their respective teams, the Pacers, Celtics & Rockets are all participating in the week-long schedule of games. Bird took some time yesterday to hold court with the media, and answer questions on a variety of topics. Hoopsworld’s Yannis Koutroupis has Larry’s thoughts on Paul Pierce, new C’s coach Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge and much more:
You were on a Celtic team that rode it out, Danny Ainge has chosen to make a move at a certain point. When you look back at that Celtic team, do you think it was right to drag it out to the end?
LB: “Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing. He’s had great success. He’s won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge, I only doubt him when he had the ball in his hands with three seconds to go, but not in the position he has now. Danny does a good job. You do get older, you can’t beat father time. I’m sure things will work out.”
Was it hard being on that team, seeing Kevin [McHale] play on that broken foot?
LB: “It was tough. I knew I was on my way out. I was going to leave a few years earlier but Gavin talked me into staying. It was tough. There’s always talk about should Red have traded us early, but there was some loyalty there in that organization and he decided to keep us.”
Is it hard to have that sentimental mentality?
LB: “You always have to look out for the franchise. You always do.”
Rough as a Celtic to not see Paul [Pierce] not finish his career there?
LB: “I would have loved to see it. I have a lot of respect for Paul and what he accomplished there, but who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”
Do you think those guys have a lot left?
LB: “It’s hard for me to tell because I know they both played more minutes than I ever played, but they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers. They haven’t had the major injuries that I had throughout my career. I think they have plenty left. The way they’ll be coached and the bench that they have, they’ll pick their spots but when the time comes they’ll be there.”
Where does Paul rank with Celtics all-time?
LB: “He’s one of the better ones to ever come through there. He really is.”
Is the NBA head coaching leap harder for a guy who hasn’t been in the NBA?
LB: “I don’t know if it’s harder. They’re all tough. I don’t know Brad Stevens personally but I know he did a good job in Indianapolis. The people really like him there. I’m not surprised because he wasn’t, but he had a guy sniffing around the NBA to see what was out there. I’m not surprised by it. I think he’ll be fine. I think he’ll do fine. It just takes time. It takes time for everybody.”
Did you watch a lot of Butler games?
LB: “I’ve watched a lot of IU and Butler games, yeah.”
What did you notice from Brad?
LB: “He’s very patient, he doesn’t get too excited. When the players watch their coach and they don’t get excited, they play with a demeanor to keep pushing. He’s going to be alright. It carries over to his players and that’s why they got so far in the last few years.”
This video from Dan Tortora captures Bird’s entire session with the media, and he gets into the Celtics questions at around the 2:20 mark. You can see more video and read the entire post over at HoopsWorld.
The C’s Summer League squad is back in action this morning at 11am EST. Ainge’s boys will square off against Bird’s Pacers. John will be
sobered-up by then at the game, and you can follow his live updates on Twitter.
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