Once the playoffs end, there could be big changes for the old Celtics warhorses. The three old Celtics remain close friends, or as close as Larry Bird allows.
Having gone from superstardom to the front office in the NBA, the great Boston Celtics of the 1980s chose to bring their love for the game and vast erudition with less success to team leadership over the past decade.
How have Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Danny Ainge fared in their roles as powerbrokers of the NBA? The post-season may change everything.
Bird would not accept a role as GM or other administrative position with the Celtics, but he did go to his home state, Indiana. There he has embarked now on a long rebuilding process of the Pacers, but with unaccustomed failure biting him on his shooting hand, Larry was forced to fire his long time friend Jim O’Brien as coach of the team.
One wonders how long Bird will hold on to the nest egg of the Pacers before the cold winter sends him flying off for a more temperate life.
Kevin McHale fared worse. A man who has maintained his friendship to fellow administrator Danny Ainge, he may have sealed his doom with the Minnesota Timberwolves when he sent Kevin Garnett to Ainge and the Celtics.
It was the right thing for Boston, but led McHale to do penance as the coach on the bench, then to the broadcast booth as straight man for Charles Barkley.
Danny Ainge has dealt players like a three-point shooting nightmare. He brought one championship to Boston, nearly a second, but has been subjected to more abuse for trading Kendrick Perkins than either Bird or McHale received from the Pacers’ and Timberwolves’ fans.
Worse yet for Ainge, hell hath no fury like Rondo scorned, and the collapse of the team after the trade may send Doc Rivers into early retirement, send Rondo to the sunsets of Oklahoma, and send Ainge to an uncertain future.
Of course, all could end well with a championship banner, and no musical chairs.
In the darker moments of NBA prognostication, we expect sooner or later that Kevin McHale will coach the Celtics. Larry will buy into the Boston ownership, and Danny will have a job for life as the new color man for the Celtics broadcasts.
Sometimes fairy tales suffer stress fractures.
If you enjoy the writing of William Russo, take a look at his e-books on amazon.com. Sex, Drugs, Sports & Whimsy is now in its second volume, containing insights into the bizarre world of Boston sports.