By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics have been a disappointing mess this season, unable to beat even the worst teams in the NBA. Soon, they’ll find themselves in the NBA play-in tournament, with no guarantee that they’ll make the real postseason.

It’s not what most expected heading into the season. Boston has made the Eastern Conference Finals three of the previous four seasons, and while they were expected to take a step back with Gordon Hayward’s offseason departure and Kemba Walker’s health a giant question mark throughout the year, it wasn’t supposed to be this bad.

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But it was that bad, and now something needs to happen in the offseason. And something will happen, Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday morning.

It just may not be as dramatic as the most frustrated fans would like.

“We’ll definitely be looking to make changes in the offseason,” said Ainge. “How significant, I don’t know yet.”

From what Ainge said on Thursday, that something will not be moving on from Brad Stevens. He once again backed his head coach, praising Stevens’ work behind the scenes. There have been several factors leading to Boston’s downfall this season, primarily health, and Ainge will not blame Stevens for that.

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“We all have blame to share. There is no doubt about it,” he said. “But you can’t just look at a coach and take his whole body of work throughout his coaching career, and throw this year and make adjustments for crying out loud. It’s idiotic.

“It’s our job to deal with what the real issues are, not the perceived issues,” Ainge added. “And Brad Stevens is not the real issue.”

The real issue, Ainge admitted, has been the team’s lack of effort, concentration and focus on a nightly basis. That falls mostly on the players, but that will not prompt Ainge to trade away franchise cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He didn’t even sound open to moving Marcus Smart this offseason.

“Our team has been decimated by injuries and underperformed. No doubt about it,” said Ainge. “We’re not as good as we though we were, plain and simple.

“The bottom line is our team hasn’t been as consistent or healthy and we will have to make changes. But I wouldn’t say there is any needed changes of our best players,” said Ainge.

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So changes will be coming this offseason, it’s just unclear how drastic those changes will be. It should make for an interesting summer after a disappointing season from the Celtics.

CBSBoston.com Staff