“What Miami is doing is similar to a theory that Red [Auerbach, the legendary Celtics coach] used to have,” Russell said. “You have a core group and you bring in some veterans so you don’t have rookies coming off the bench. Most of the time it worked but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, we would bring a veteran in hoping to get one more year out of them but they were psychologically destructive, so we can only use them one year. They were not about winning. They were about their career.”
So, apparently Celtics legend Bill Russell approves of the actions of Heat GM Pat Riley. Riley has strategically added some nice pieces in Rashard Lewis, Shane Battier, Ray Allen.
Hasn’t Ainge done the same? Danny Ainge added Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, both veterans that can help the C’s squad. Why didn’t Russell praise the GM of his former team?
Granted, the Heat just won a championship, but that only makes it easier to field talent, as veterans come to chase rings on the assumption that the Heat will repeat.
Still, the Celtics won in 2008, and still have the strong core from that team (Namely, Rajon Rondo/Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett). Shouldn’t that make it easier to lure ring chasers? Or are the Celtics too far removed from the last championship?
Either way, I’m not finding fault with Russell’s praise of Riley. It’s just curious that he doesn’t praise Ainge for the same course of actions. I’m not implicating any disdain on Russell’s part of Ainge, so don’t misunderstand. I just think what Riley has done has been pretty easy, in the sense that players already wanted to come play for the Heat. It’s not like signing the veterans he signed was any brilliant decision…
Rashard Lewis may back-fire. But then again, when you sign a guy to a min vet contract it’s a pretty low risk investment, needless to say.
Russell’s praise isn’t misplaced, it just seems a bit random to give so much credit to a plan that any GM could (and would) have employed.