fb-pixel Skip to main content

Danny Ainge addresses his future, Jayson Tatum’s stardom, and when TD Garden will be back to capacity

Danny Ainge said he doesn't intend to step away from the Celtics' day-to-day operations.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on “Toucher & Rich” Thursday that he has no intention of going anywhere.

On Wednesday, fellow 98.5 The Sports Hub host Tony Massarotti had mentioned rumors that Ainge and the Celtics were exploring the possibility of him taking a step back from the “day-to-day grind.”

“I have thought that way before, but that’s not going on right now,” Ainge said Thursday during his weekly call-in segment, reiterating that there are not plans to restructure his role.

“I mean, I have a really good staff of people,” he said. “With Mike Zarren, and my son Austin, and Dave Lewin, and Remy Cofield, those guys have been doing a lot more over the last couple of years. I have been delegating a lot. Those guys are very, very capable.”


Here’s what else Ainge had to say:

Projecting Jayson Tatum’s future

The Celtics eased past the Wizards Tuesday, 118-100, forced to qualify for the NBA playoffs by going through the league’s play-in tournament. The highlight came from Jayson Tatum, who dropped 50 points on Washington.

Ainge said he classifies the 23-year-old Tatum as a “top-echelon player.”

Jayson Tatum celebrates his 50-point night in the play-in game against the Wizards.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“He has exceeded expectations from when we drafted him,” Ainge said. “I knew he was going to be a good young player, but all the great ones are.”

While Ainge declined to say whether he thinks Tatum will win a league MVP at some point, he gave him the highest of praise.

“I think it’s easy to see now that Jayson Tatum is going to be a Hall of Fame player,” Ainge said. “I don’t think anybody doubts any of that. But I hate to give him those kind of accolades because I’d like to try to push him to work harder, and meet their goals. And I don’t want him to get complacent.”


The latest on fan capacity at TD Garden

Governor Charlie Baker announced Monday that large sports venues in Massachusetts will be allowed to return to full capacity May 29 when the state lifts nearly all COVID-19 restrictions. But that doesn’t necessarily mean TD Garden is fully open for business.

Ainge said the NBA still has to clarify its attendance policy before the Celtics can announce additional ticket availability.

Ainge said he didn’t know if capacity would be up to 100 percent by May 30, when the Celtics will host the Nets in Game 4 of their first-round series.

“We’re waiting to figure all that out,” Ainge said. “There’s our state and then there’s the NBA. There’s all sorts of protocols and hoops to jump through. So it’s pretty complicated. I’m not sure how that’s going to work.”

Robert Williams is day-to-day

Robert Williams left Tuesday’s play-in game in the first half after suffering a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old has been dealing with turf toe.

Robert Williams went down in the second quarter of the play-in game against the Wizards. He remains day-to-day, according to Danny Ainge.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Asked if Williams would be available for Game 1 Saturday in Brooklyn, Ainge said, “He’s day-to-day. I don’t know.”

Asked whether Williams would practice, Ainge said, “I don’t know until practice today. Yesterday was a day off, so we’ll see how his toe responds, and just going to take it day by day.”