HoopsHype Danny Ainge rumors

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February 22, 2015 Updates

Before the Pistons signed Datome out of Italy, the Celtics showed some interest. Team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge took a trip overseas to catch a game in person. Still, Datome said Boston did not extend a contract offer. "When free agency started, they never made a real offer," he said, adding, "Nothing real. The only offers I received were from the Pistons and a couple, two, teams. Boston wasn't one of those. They had interest. They came to watch me. But nothing that real." Booth Newspapers

February 20, 2015 Updates

Q: What do you like about Isaiah Thomas? Danny Ainge: I’m excited. I like Isaiah. I’ve liked Isaiah for a while. This was a deal we would have done at any time to acquire him, so we are excited to have him. I like that he’s an efficient scorer. I like that he can run the pick-and-roll and that he is unafraid of big moments. He can score with the ball in his hands and he can score as a spot-up shooter. And I like his personality. I think Isaiah is a big personality, and I think as he matures — he’s still a fairly young player — I think as he matures he has the potential to be a great leader. Boston Globe

Q: How do you envision Thomas and Marcus Smart playing together? Danny Ainge: I think both of those guys are good enough players that they can play with anybody. I think Isaiah can play with any group, and Marcus can, too. I think they’re completely different types of players, and along with Avery [Bradley], I feel like we have shooting and scoring. What we didn’t have in the backcourt yet was a good pick-and-roll player that can actually get in the paint and score some baskets. Even though he’s little, he’s a very good scorer, one of the best scorers in the paint with little floating shots, and so forth. He’s also a good 3-point shooter. I think Isaiah is better than anybody we have or have had in a while at scoring or creating offense in the pick-and-roll. Boston Globe

Q: Do you see James Young getting more playing time after Prince’s departure? Danny Ange: I think that’s a goal within our organization, regardless of who’s on our roster. There were no trades that we needed to do [to give Young more playing time]. I think James was earning minutes in camp right before he hurt his hamstring. He was earning minutes right as he had his shoulder injury, and he was earning them right before he had the flu. He’s been on the bubble. We’ve liked what he’s done in the D-League and what he’s done in practice. Boston Globe

Q: Now that the trade deadline is over, where does your focus turn? Danny Ange: We’re just evaluating. We’re evaluating players in our team now, and developing our players right now is probably our No. 1 priority, because we have a lot of players we really like. And making a plan for free agency and the draft. We have obviously a lot of draft picks, so we’ll be talking to a lot of teams the closer the draft gets. We’ll be going to a lot of camps and watching a lot of college tournaments. Boston Globe

“I’ve always wanted Isaiah,” Ainge said. “Isaiah was my first call last summer in free agency. Isaiah was a guy I liked in the draft (in 2011, though the Celts took E’Twaun Moore at No. 55 and the Kings got Thomas with the last overall pick at No. 60). Isaiah was a guy that was part of discussions when he was at Sacramento.” Boston Herald

February 19, 2015 Updates

Danny Ainge will remember many things about Jerome Kersey, but one thing will always stand above all: His smile. "He always played happy and hard,'' Ainge said Thursday morning. "And that made him a great joy to be around on a day-in-day-out basis.'' Kersey died unexpectedly on Wednesday in Tualatin. He was 52. Kersey played his first 11 seasons with the Blazers, including two with Ainge - the record 63-win season in 1990-1991 and the NBA Finals season of 1991-1992. "He was a terrific player,'' Ainge said. "A player that any coach, any player would value being around. I loved him as a player and loved him as a person.'' Oregonian

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

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