HoopsHype Danny Ainge rumors

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February 19, 2015 Updates

If the Celtics do get involved before 3 p.m., odds are strong that it will be either a minor bookkeeping transaction or the facilitating of a larger trade that will net them something such as a pick for use of their expiring contracts or traded player exceptions. “They don’t have to do anything,” one NBA source said of the Celts. “And that’s a pretty good position to be in at this time of the year. It means you have less chance of doing something stupid.” Boston Herald

February 18, 2015 Updates

Ainge: Those relationships can help, but ultimately I think those [deals with executives I know] are more coincidental than they are relationship-driven. Most of the trades I see in the league are not one-sided. Trades are mostly just teams with different agendas, different places in their path to a championship. Trades are not just about player-for-player these days. They are about creating cap space. When you are one piece away from winning, you may give up a little bit more to another team. Some teams have cap space that they use for acquiring young assets. Some use it for getting top-notch players and paying big dollars for top-notch players. Every team is sort of in a different place. I see most trades as being fair for both teams. Bleacher Report

Ainge: I think it is a concern. There are a lot of leaks in a lot of organizations. We take notice of what gets out when we talk with other teams and how those things are leaked, so that might prevent us from making a phone call in a sensitive situation until we know for sure. There are all sorts of exploratory conversations and then there are real conversations. Bleacher Report

There isn’t too much fishing going on along the local coast these days, but, several miles inland, Danny Ainge is chumming the trade waters from the Celtics offices. As of last night, there have been, according to several league sources, no bites, or even much of a nibble. The rest of the NBA has yet to make an earnest move toward the most prominent Boston bait. Available veterans Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton are still of interest to a number of teams, but the Celts and those clubs have yet to engage in anything remotely resembling a substantive discussion. Boston Herald

February 17, 2015 Updates

The decision in December to trade Rondo to Dallas (in a five-player deal that netted Boston a couple of picks and a $13 million trade exception) was, according to Ainge, unanimous among the leaders of the Celtics. He focused his owners and staff on two questions as Rondo, who turns 29 on Sunday, played out the final year of his contract. "Is the team good enough to keep him here? And is he somebody that we want to pay $110 million to going forward?'' says Ainge. "Rondo knew that, and he had the same questions: Is Boston where I want to stay, and what am I going to get on the open market? It's hard, it's challenging, to get a point guard that doesn't score, that's not a great defender, but that is a master passer -- and to pay him that much money,'' Ainge goes on. "That's how we debated it. And now he has a team that the guys he passes to are going to make a higher percentage of the shots; and his passing, his intellect and his experience in winning a championship, those are all assets for Dallas.'' NBA.com

One player he wishes he could have helped was Robert Swift, a dynamic 7-foot-1 center from Bakersfield, Calif., who in 2004 was picked No. 12 in the first round by Seattle. "I really liked that kid,'' Ainge says. "I often wonder, I still believe to this day, no one will be able to convince me that Robert Swift wasn't going to be a dynamic NBA player. And in a different environment in a different setting, if he stays healthy ...'' Swift played 97 NBA games in four seasons before his release by Oklahoma City in 2009. Last year, following his arrest on a gun charge, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer summed up Swift's story in a way that made Ainge's heart sink: King County prosecutors describe Swift, 28, as a heavily armed heroin addict who admitted to helping his drug dealer-turned-roommate collect a drug debt. "It's a sad story,'' Ainge says. "We will never know ...'' NBA.com

The NBA trade deadline is coming up Thursday afternoon, and Ainge is pursuing multiple deals, big and small. This is one of his favorite times of the year. His rivals throughout the league can sense it. "He's probably the best GM in the game,'' says Daryl Morey, who became GM of the Houston Rockets after working with Ainge at the Celtics. "Look at the roster in '03 when Danny took over, and his ability to win a title five years later -- that transformation is unheard of, I've never seen anything like it. Now you look at the way he's set up the Celtics today, and it's the best I've seen someone go from losing a core to creating lots of future picks and flexibility to turn it around quickly. People don't see it yet because it hasn't turned the corner, but they will see it.'' NBA.com

Analytics. "He was the first GM in basketball to use it for sure,'' says Morey, who worked for both the front office and the business side of the Celtics after helping Grousbeck's ownership group define the financial value of the team. Morey was soon joined by Mike Zarren, a lawyer and Freakonomics-styled data analyst who has risen to become Ainge's assistant GM. "As a former player, you just don't see this -- he is so forward thinking,'' Morey says of Ainge. "Immediately saw the value in the analysis we were doing, and he was able to integrate it into his decision making. He obviously had his own opinions on players. Myself and Mike were working on a draft model, and when the analysis confirmed what Danny believed, it allowed him to be more confident in what he believed in; and when it didn't, he used it to ask more questions -- am I missing something? He went on to quickly understand how to use it.'' NBA.com

February 13, 2015 Updates

The player movement has died down in the last month since that incredibly active period, but with the Feb. 19 trade deadline looming, business may pick up again in the next week. On Wednesday morning, Ainge spoke with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub to discuss the team's hopes leading up to deadline day. "We’re opportunistic," Ainge said about the possibility of more trades. "There’s a lot of different things that can happen. I don’t anticipate, because right now we don’t have anything imminent, but you never know what can happen at the trade deadline." Boston Globe

Those kind of minor deals are not the only sort the Celtics are interested in, as they have stockpiled enough assets, via draft picks and trade exceptions, to do much more. “We’re ready," Ainge said of next week. "We have a lot of bullets in our arsenal right now. We have a lot of assets we can move for a lot of different things and go in a lot of different directions at this point. This is one of those ‘turning points.’" Boston Globe

February 12, 2015 Updates
February 11, 2015 Updates

The NBA trade deadline is just over a week away, so Rich asked Ainge what he hopes to accomplish over that time. “I don’t know. We’re opportunistic. There’s a lot of different things that can happen. I don’t anticipate, because right now we don’t have anything imminent. But you never know what happens at the trade deadline. But we’re ready, we have a lot of bullets in our arsenal right now. We have a lot of assets that we can move for lots of different things and go in a lot of different directions at this point,” Ainge told T&R. CBS Local

In a recent TNT game covering the Rockets, studio analyst Charles Barkley ripped Houston general manager Daryl Morey and called him “one of those idiots who believes in analytics.” After sharing some of his fondest memories of Sir Charles, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talked about the importance of stats with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly interview. “We put a lot into analytics. We have a great analytics staff and I’m very excited about things that we’re working on,” Ainge told T&R. “We feel like we’re out ahead of the NBA in analytics, but I don’t think anything has been perfected. There’s no magic formulas. You can’t just use analytics, but analytics can be of value.” CBS Local

January 31, 2015 Updates

So I asked him if he would like to see the Celtics in the playoffs this year? “That depends,” Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com. “I would love to see our team in the playoffs, but I don’t want to see us back into the playoffs with a really bad record and not even have a fighting chance. If our team can keep getting better by developing, if we can make some deals at the trade deadline that put us in position to actually get into the playoffs and have a chance to win a playoff series, I think that would be a lot of fun. CSNNE.com

January 27, 2015 Updates

Ainge is in his 12th season as president of basketball operations, and the summer before last he commenced a major roster reconstruction with the trade of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. The frequency of transactions has accelerated in recent weeks as the Celts gather draft picks and shed salary. “I feel like I love what we’re doing,” Ainge told the Herald. “I think that we have a big task and a real challenge ahead of us, and I love the challenge. I’m ready for the long haul, and we’re prepared to do it as quickly as we can. But I’m also ready to do it the long way of developing players into a good team. From my standpoint, I’m enjoying it. “I love what I do. I love the people I work with, and I think we just all take it a year at a time. But right now I’m looking at it as a phase. I plan on being here for a while, and I plan on Brad (Stevens) being our coach for a while, and I plan on us turning this thing around.” Boston Herald

January 22, 2015 Updates

In his 13th season as Boston’s chief executive, Ainge says he is enjoying the job “more than ever.” “I like the challenge,” he says. “I have a great deal of respect for the other 29 teams in the league. The teams are getting better managed every year. Everybody’s getting a little smarter with their assets. The draft is a challenge. Free agency is a challenge. The competition is great.” Portland Tribune

January 21, 2015 Updates

Boston has been calling around the league over the last week, reminding GMs that Philly isn’t the only team with salary space to rent out as we approach the February 19 trade deadline. Grantland

January 19, 2015 Updates

Ainge has made four deals since Jan. 9, and that’s after trading Rajon Rondo. Rivers, who left because he didn’t want to go through a rebuilding process, believes this bigger dig is the correct path. “It takes time. It’s hard,” he says. “I’ve been through it with Danny. It’s not a one- or two-year build. I knew that when they decided to do it, and Danny did, too. But I think it’s a city that can handle it, because they’ve done it before and people there know the game. You do have to get a little lucky, but, man, they have so many picks. I think they’ve done a masterful job with the way they’re doing it. Danny has put himself into a position to take the risk he wants to take at some point — to gather enough assets to go get that one guy that then gets the second guy that then gets the third guy. Eventually Danny’s going to get that one piece and then that second piece. But they’re set up to do it. Look at all the rebuilding teams, the Celtics are so far ahead of the game than everyone else, in my opinion, from what they’ve done.” Boston Herald

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