Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has clarified Rick Pitino's recent comments regarding Terry Rozier.
The point guard, drafted at No.16 in 2015, has certainly proven his worth in a Celtics jersey and is attracting attention from more than a handful of other NBA teams.
And Pitino, who coached the player for two years at the University of Lousiana, took most of the credit for the Cs landing the talented 24-year-old.
The Celtics had the No.16 and No.28 picks for the first round of the draft but Pitino claims that Ainge did not want to take the player at 16 and he needed a bit of a push.
“When I first talked to Danny, I said, ‘Danny, you need to take him in the first round,’” the ex-coach said on his podcast this week.
“He said, ‘Well, Rick, I can’t take him at [No.] 16, I’ll get second-guessed.’ I said, ‘Danny, you won a championship, you’re Danny Ainge, man, you could do anything now. I said, 'I’m telling you he’s worth it'. He started laughing.”
Pitino also claims to have sent a text message to Ainge saying, “What do you think of the 16th pick now?” after Rozier helped the team to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
Ainge, though, has said that he remembers things a little differently.
"That's not exactly how I remember it," the GM said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich (h/t NBC Sports) on Thursday. "I mean, as most or all of my front office will testify, I was a huge Terry Rozier fan well before I even talked with Rick.
"He certainly didn't convince me to draft Terry Rozier. We were all on it.
"But I was checking with Rick as a guy who had coached him for two years and recruited him and got his opinion. He was very high on Terry Rozier, I can verify that."
What This Means
Ainge's decision to take Rozier at 16 took a while to pay dividends and he received some stick for it as the player averaged just 5.5 points a game in his rookie season.
But, after Kyrie Irving went down injured last season, the guard was handed an opportunity to show his usefulness and has since blossomed into a player worthy of a starting role.
While Pitino would love all of the credit for getting the player to Boston, it would have probably been better for him on a personal level had he landed somewhere else.