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Ainge became director of basketball operations in '03

BOSTON -- Celtics basketball operations director Danny Ainge
received a three-year contract extension Friday following a season
in which Boston won its first division title in 13 years.

Ainge's contract had been scheduled to expire after next season,
but the extension will keep him with the team through the 2008-09
season, Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Ainge, a former Celtics guard who played on two championship
teams in the 1980s, was hired in May 2003 as the team's executive
director of basketball operations.

His first season on the job saw the resignation of coach Jim
O'Brien, who clashed with Ainge over the team's direction, and the
trade of star Antoine Walker to Dallas. The team finished 10 games
below .500 in 2003-2004 and was swept from the first round of the
NBA playoffs by the Indiana Pacers.

This year, Ainge was credited with a strong draft, including
forward Al Jefferson and guards Delonte West and Tony Allen, all of
whom played significant minutes as rookies. He hired Doc Rivers to
replace interim coach John Carroll and reacquired Walker in a
midseason trade with Atlanta.

The team went on to win its first Atlantic Division title since
the 1991-1992 season. Still, Boston was again eliminated by Indiana
in the first round of the playoffs this month.

Ainge has more tough decisions to make during this offseason,
including whether to re-sign veteran point guard Gary Payton and
Walker, who has said he wants to stay in Boston.

Ainge was also critical of his players' on court behavior after
a series of meltdowns during the Indiana series. Walker grabbed
referee Tom Washington in Game 3 and was suspended for one game.
And captain Paul Pierce elbowed Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley in the
closing seconds of Game 6 and was ejected.

After the season, Ainge didn't rule out a trade involving
Pierce, but said he wasn't eager to part with the Celtics' leading
scorer.

"I'm not doing my job if I'm not entertaining, listening to
offers" to trade Pierce, Ainge said then. "I just don't see it
happening."