Danny Ainge Was In Boston For Celtics Game 6 Loss

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s not often that an NBA executive sits on the sidelines at a finals game between two teams he doesn’t work for, but Danny Ainge was the focus of Thursday’s Boston Celtics Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

After the Warriors defeated the Celtics 103-90, Ainge was seen on the ABC show speaking 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 odd occurrence for someone who no longer works for the team.

It’s undoubtedly a unique behavior from Ainge, but it arose out of a unique situation.

Ainge built most of the Celtics roster that took the floor in Boston that season, including deciding to draft Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, the team’s core perimeters.

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

Considering the success Boston has had since drafting Tatum in 2017, having reached two conference finals in the previous four seasons, most executives wouldn’t be stepping down from the team like Ainge.

Then again, most coaches wouldn’t have resigned to oversee such a talented young roster as Stevens did in the same offseason.

With Boston putting on an impressive if unlikely run to the Finals this season in the first year after Ainge left the team, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the former Celtics manager returned to bolster the team’s post-season success watch. After all, there seemed to be no bad blood involved in his departure.

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

Jazz fans got a break from watching their team’s CEO play finals games with his former players, but it’s also fair to recognize that the Ainge-Celtics relationship is unique and shouldn’t hinder jazz going forward.

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