I’ve been trying to locate the Boston Celtics’ company masthead recently. I’m trying to find out who is running the Celtics – Danny Ainge, Paul Pierce or someone or something else.

Pierce reportedly is poised to demand a trade if the Celtics don’t make a move to pick up some veteran help. His frustration with the plight of the Celtics is understandable. That doesn’t mean he has the right to turn into Kobe Bryant and start whining in public. Bryant, after all, has actually won something.

But the sad thing is, Danny Ainge, who is even more desperate to make the Celtics instantly “competitive” (competitive for what, exactly, has been hard to decipher) so he can keep his job, is already three steps ahead of his star player. In the last week, the Celtics have been rumored in the hunt for Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion and Jermaine O’Neal. Garnett and Marion want no part of the Celtics, and, in what was apparently a fluke moment of clarity for the GM, Ainge wants no part of a declining O’Neal.

Ainge said Wednesday afternoon that he likely wouldn’t deal the No. 5 pick. But don’t get too comfortable with Corey Brewer or Yi Jianlian or Jeff Green or whoever walks up on the stage tonight, shakes David Stern’s hand and puts on a jersey with a shamrock on it. That doesn’t mean Ainge can’t make a move after the draft.

He should make a move after the draft. He should trade Pierce. He won’t, of course, because his job rests on making the playoffs this year, which is why he’s willing to trade a future All-Star (Al Jefferson) and a solid No. 5 pick for a guy in Garnett, who would make them a 45-win team for two or three years. The Celtics would be back to square one in three or four years, but Ainge couldn’t care less about that because he won’t be around unless he gives some instant gratification to the idiot contingent among Celtic Nation (which includes the ownership) that is craving a short-term superstar fix.

Which is why Celtics fans should be nervous, very nervous tonight, and for the foreseeable future. Danny Ainge’s name may be on the masthead, but desperation is running the Celtics right now, and that’s not good for the short- or long-term interest of the franchise.


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