Jim Davis/Globe Staff
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On the future of the team:
"We need to make changes for sure. I donít think [the roster is good enough to compete for a title next year]. But having said that thatís my job is to evaluate the reasons why we didnít play the way weíre capable of playing ... We do have a team that next year come playoff time will be a year older and a team like Miami will be in their prime years."
On the Kendrick Perkins trade:
"I know that thereís people out there that want to blame the Perkins trade for our lack of success this year, Iím OK with that. Thereís a legitimate argument to be made. I donít really buy into the screens being set and Rondo being in a bit of a funk."
The starting lineup could see some significant changes next season. If Jeff Green returns, Ainge said the 24-year-old's role will certainly be enhanced. Ainge said he intends to extend Green a qualifying offer before the July 30 deadline. He threw out the hypothetical possibility of Paul Pierce coming off the bench, but said the veterans will be willing to play different roles.
"Knowing father time never loses, I think their being able to carry a team day in and out might be over," Ainge said. "But their ability to be contributors to very good basketball teams is still there. we have to surround them with good players if we have any chance of winning a championship next year ... "
On the starting lineup changing:
"Maybe thereís a change of roles. Maybe Paul comes off the bench, cuts down on his minutes. Maybe we find a way to get Jeff more minutes. His role will expand if heís back here next year. Thereís no question about that ... "
"It wouldnít totally shock me if thereís a change in the starting lineup, but thatís just way too tough to tell."
On the possibility of trading one of the Big Three:
"I would have to look into that if a good trade came about"
On the possibility of trading Rondo:
Probably not. I canít ever say never, but thatís not our plan right now, probably not.
Ainge was willing to take the fallout from the trade, but the one thing he said he regrets is not doing more to bring back Tony Allen, who signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Memphis Grizzles, who are currently battling the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Semifinals. He said the team could have used Allen's toughness.
Ainge's biggest regret:
"I would have fought harder to bring Tony Allen back," Ainge said. "We tried to sign Tony, we tried to come within our rules of staying in our two-year program. I think that Tony would have helped us.
"We offered Tony a two-year deal out of the gate, but then when Memphis showed him some love and he started thinking about the idea of more playing time ... Then, he wanted a change of scenery."
With coach Doc Rivers saying last night that he was leaning heavily toward returning next season, Ainge said that the notion that Rivers was wedded to the Big Three Era only was false and that he sees Rivers as a coach who could be with the franchise for several years in the way that longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was in Utah before retiring this season.
On Rivers's long-term future with the team:
"I think thatís the wrong assumption about Doc," Ainge said. "Thatís what most people think, he would just be here with this group of guys. I think Doc is a coach at heart. I think Doc likes the idea of staying in Boston.
"If there comes a time where our goal change in a year or two, where the goal is to make the playoffs, I think Doc would welcome that challenge too. He knows that every year of your career, you canít be fighting for an NBA championship.
"I think he likes the idea of being a Jerry Sloan type coach and being with a franchise for a long time."
Glen Davis said he thinks he ready to be a started in this league, Ainge didn't address it, but he said that he wanted to try to bring him back next season. Ainge said he didn't think conditioning was the reason for his subpar postseason.
"We had a weight clause with Glen in his contract. He did good [with that]. I didnít see it on the court. I saw him competing hard. I know Glen had some sore knees. Thereís just a lot of factors."
The likelihood that Shaquille O'Neal retires is strong, Ainge said, but Jermaine O'Neal, who spoke with Ainge today, could return.