It wasn’t just Irving; Hayward was also Celtics no-show

What did Danny do?

Danny Ainge may not have destroyed the most storied franchise in NBA history, but he has certainly delivered it to a state of disarray not seen in these parts since the team held on too long to Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.

How could this happen?

To analogize with Texas Hold ‘Em poker, Ainge held pocket aces with the biggest stack of chips, then flopped a set. Yet, somehow the Celtics lost, not just the series but the future.

Only two years ago, Boston had young potential stars, future lottery picks galore, a rock in franchise guy Al Horford and cap space to land a hoop 747.

He pulled the Philly fleece, backing up to steal Jayson Tatum away from the Lakers and Sixers.

Where did Ainge go wrong?

Nope, it’s not Kyrie, despite his recent no-show and incessant droning.

Gordon Hayward, the worst contract in NBA history, single-handedly has sunk Ainge and the Celtics, again not just in 2019, but in perpetuity.

You just don’t pay someone $32 million a year (for four years) and watch him play like some stiff on a 10-day contract, then live to tell about it.

Ainge got greedy. He went all Gordon Gekko (“greed is good”) for Gordon Hayward, and now the Celtics are back scratching their heads and looking for options.

Hayward averaged 28-plus minutes against Milwaukee. The yield?

37 points. Total, in five miserable games on 12 of 35 shooting.

The guy is paid like LeBron and he takes seven shots a night?

Worst-contract-ever. Ever.

And now where does Ainge go from here.

Could he ever do nothing this offseason? Sign Kyrie to another $32 million per and bring back this cast of angry naives?

Boston would go ballistic. This group was undressed by Giannis Antetokounmpo and a cast of rejects. And Giannis is just 24. He’s in your grill for another decade.

Sign Kyrie and trade the farm for Anthony Davis? Can you imagine the noise if Tatum and Jaylen Brown are Pelicans next October?

That’s just not an option.

Let Kyrie walk. And you are the mid-1980s Bucks, waiting and praying for Tatum or Brown to find the gear they lacked in 2019.

That’s not happening.

The Celtics are locked in hoop purgatory.

And Danny Ainge did this. Danny, one title in 17 years, Ainge did this.

Now, after getting spanked in five by a franchise known for playoff mediocrity, he and the Celtics have few or no options.

Contact Hector Longo at 594-1253 or hlongo@nashsuatelegraph.com.