Q. Ira, doesn't Danny Ainge get Executive of the Year for the trades he didn't make? But seriously, doesn't he have to think about keeping it together now and bringing back Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett?
— Ellis, Medford, Mass.
A. I said it at the trading deadline, I'll say it now: I don't understand how anyone could sleep on a team that has Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. I still think you can build a team around Rondo and Pierce and maintain enduring success.
But with Garnett's revival at center, and the reality that there aren't any legitimate big men for the Celtics to replace him with in the middle, it makes sense, if the right numbers can be worked out, for the Celtics to retain KG in free agency.
While Garnett likely will be looking for another score — he seemingly always does — he also has to appreciate that few coaches would nurse him through a season like Doc Rivers, saving him for the stretch run and playoffs.
As for Allen, he is a bit more expendable now with the emergence of Avery Bradley, but also a healthy fit off what remains a limited Celtics bench. Allen, though, long has prided himself on his conditioning and it wouldn't be surprising if he makes a starting role a requisite of his signature on a free-agent contract.
The real issue is whether all the behind-the-scenes headaches with Rondo are tolerable enough or whether this success instead could allow Boston to flip him for similar productivity but less drama.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Yes, Ainge deserves credit for the moves he didn't make, although I'm not sure doing nothing is enough to earn Executive of the Year.
Ultimately, I think it comes down to how the Celtics do in the playoffs, to see whether it validates Rivers' approach of saving his players for when the games mean the most.
One-and-done in the postseason, or even something close to last season's swift second-round exit might not be enough to prevent Ainge from yet moving forward with a rebuilding plan, able to still somewhat control free agency through sign-and-trades.
Q. This is the third time I've written and you still won't answer (although this time I think you might have to), but isn't it time the Spurs start getting the respect they should have had all season, while you were pontificating about the Lakers and Thunder and the overrated Clippers?
— Stoney, Boerne, Texas
A. There's a reason the Thunder, Lakers and Clippers received the majority of attention in the West this season: They were the more compelling storylines.
Look, even a Spurs fan would have to appreciate how mundane this season has been for them, as coach Gregg Popovich has nursed his players through the regular season. Yes, Kawhi Leonard has been a revelation and the Spurs have gotten quality play from their depth.
But it's still all about Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, and for Popovich that means it's still all about the playoffs.
Based on how the Spurs have finished the regular season, you'll be hearing plenty out of San Antonio as we move along. If nothing else, last season's early exit sobered them to what really matters.
It's just that they're, well, boring.
PBT: Between Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph versus that of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, the Spurs-Grizzlies Western Conference finals series promises to be a battle of the bigs. But don't forget about that point guard matchup.
PBT: Lance Stephenson led Indiana with 25 points in a win that eliminated his hometown team. Stephenson and the Pacers will face the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
DPS: Lionel Hollins tells us how he plans to play against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.
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