HoopsHype Danny Ainge rumors

February 17, 2014 Updates

“Again, I think that we’ll be opportunistic. We’re just waiting for an opportunity to do something good. And I think it’s important, again — you can’t force these opportunities. You can’t just be so hungry for a deal that you try to do a deal. You’ve got to be patient. At the same time, you’ve got to be aggressive.” Boston Globe

February 15, 2014 Updates

As Thursday’s NBA trade deadline approaches, the Celts are exploring all avenues that might return them to contention for a championship. “We would do a deal to make our team better and use assets to get better right away,” Ainge, who is remaining back home to work the phones this weekend, said yesterday. “And we would also move veteran players to create flexibility and get draft picks. So we could go either way right now. But right now I think it’s a feeling-out process.” Boston Herald

February 13, 2014 Updates

On Boston sports radio Wednesday, SI.com reported that Celtics GM Danny Ainge wants a king's ransom for his players in trade offers, including asking for first-round picks in exchange for Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. From WEEI: "I've had conversations with a couple of different general managers last night, and we talked a little bit about Boston and what they were trying to do at the trade deadline, and the sense I got from them was that Boston is totally overvaluing some of the players they have. They're looking for first-round picks in return for guys like Jeff Green or a guy like Avery Bradley and others and they're just not going to get it.” CBSSports.com

February 9, 2014 Updates
January 31, 2014 Updates

Ainge, making his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub on Thursday, suggested that Rondo is open to the idea of an extension, but stressed it didn't really benefit him to do it this season. "In the collective bargaining agreement, there are limits on what can and can't be done," said Ainge. "Really, it's not that Rondo doesn't want to accept an extension, as much as it's just not financially smart for him to accept it right now. We didn't think he would [sign], but we did try." The limit that Ainge is referring to is the fact that veteran (non-rookie scale) extensions are limited to four years, including the seasons remaining on the current contract (and salary bumps are limited to 7.5 percent increases starting with that first season). ESPN.com

January 26, 2014 Updates

To recap, the Celtics traded Garnett, Pierce, Jason Terry, and D.J. White to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, and three first-round draft picks (2014, 2016, and 2018), as well as the right to swap first-round picks in 2017. How did the deal come together? Danny Ainge: It did come together fairly quickly. What I was excited about was that it appeared at the time to be a great situation for everybody — I think that for Paul and KG and Jason Terry and for us. It looked like it was going to be a good situation for them to be a major contender again and be vying for a championship. Their year hasn’t gone that way, but before the season started, it sure looked like it. I think it was a happy way to make a very difficult decision. Boston Globe

Kevin McHale recently said the state of the NBA under its new collective bargaining agreement kind of forces you to make a deal like this even if you would have liked Paul to retire a Celtic. Is that fair? Danny Ainge: Well, I don’t know if it forces it, but it forces it if you want to remain competitive. And it certainly gives you a jumpstart in the rebuilding process, as opposed to not doing it for sentimental reasons. I think what Kevin is saying is, nobody wants to trade away a Paul Pierce or a Kevin Garnett — and Jason Terry, for that matter. Jason Terry, he only played with us for a year, but I love that guy. He gave a lot to us and he’s just a class act — throughout his career. But that’s nothing that anybody wants to do, and is looking forward to doing. But I think that when the opportunity presented itself, it was a deal that I had to do for the franchise. Boston Globe

People say you pulled off a huge steal. What do you think when you hear that? Danny Ainge: Well, what I felt at the time was, I thought it was a really gutsy move by Brooklyn. I admired it. I thought the way KG finished last year, and Paul — both of them looked like they had a lot of basketball left in them, as the season finished last year. And so, I felt that it was a good deal for both teams. Like, I wasn’t able to put Joe Johnson and Deron Williams and Brook Lopez around Paul and KG. I wish I could have. They still would’ve been Celtics. But we weren’t in that position, to become a contender, I don’t think. I didn’t think that Paul and KG could carry us like they had for the five or six years previous. We were a team, I felt, that was destined to mediocrity as opposed to excellence with those guys. And especially with [Rajon] Rondo being out and so forth, it was going to be a long year for us with those two guys at the stage of their careers. It wouldn’t have done them justice. So, I was happy for Brooklyn. They were taking a chance. I thought it was a really good trade. I thought it was good for us and where we were as a franchise. And I thought it was really good for Jet, Paul, and KG and for [new Nets coach] Jason Kidd. I didn’t know if they’d win a championship or not, because I knew Indiana and Miami were going to be very good, and I thought Chicago was going to be very good. But I really thought it was going to be a four-horse race in the East, with those four teams. That’s what it looked like to me when the season started. Boston Globe

January 24, 2014 Updates

Now Ainge doesn’t have to be worried about whether a trade might cost the Celtics a few wins. From the second he agreed to the Pierce-Garnett deal, he has been playing for seasons beyond 2013-14. “I don’t do deals just for the sake of change,” said Ainge. “We change for the purpose of progress. In the deal that we did with Jordan (Crawford) and MarShon (Brooks), as an example, we like those guys, but we really want to see Phil (Pressey) play. And it was tough for him to get minutes and opportunities. With Rondo coming back, Phil wasn’t going to (get) a chance to play much. Boston Herald

“On top of getting the assets, we like Joel Anthony’s defense, and we like getting the draft picks and all that. But there are so many more things that go on top of it — getting opportunities for development. When we started the season, we just had logjams everywhere.” Boston Herald

One of the logs is back at home, still under contract to the Celts cashing checks and waiting to see if he’s included in a trade. “I would say Keith (Bogans) was a guy we probably knew going into the year that wasn’t in the long-term plan,” Ainge said. “But with MarShon and Jordan, they’re still young players. I like how Jordan played for us, and I like him as a kid. I like what I saw in MarShon when he got a chance to play in the D-League and his last game with us. I think he has potential and possibilities. We’ll continue to monitor them, as well. Those guys are free agents this summer. We’re evaluating everybody in the NBA, along with our own guys. But where we are now, we need to see some guys play. Boston Herald

“So the draft is really important, and now we have a lot of assets. Draft picks are always tradable. Sometimes players aren’t always tradable, once they expose themselves on the court. Draft picks almost always are tradable. But development is really important for us, and I’m happy with the development of Kelly Olynyk and Phil Pressey and Jared Sullinger and Vitor (Faverani). Vitor has been a little inconsistent, which you’d expect with inconsistent minutes and a guy coming from playing European ball his whole life. It’s a whole different life.” Boston Herald

As such, it would have been financially unwise for Rondo to accept an offer now when he stands to potentially make more this summer or even next summer when his current deal — a five-year extension worth $55 million he signed in the fall of 2009 — expires. “I didn’t expect him to agree to it, and I understand why they didn’t,” Ainge said of the most recent extension offer. “We’ll continue to have talks when we can.” Boston Globe

It figures both sides will be focused on the summer of 2015, when Rondo will likely be one of the league’s top free agents on the market. “He’ll be paid a lot,” Ainge said. “He’s a four-time All-Star. He’s 27 years old. He’ll be paid a lot, is my expectation.” Boston Globe

When asked if that message is understood across the league, Ainge pointed out he has had only one conversation with another team about Rondo. “I actually did have a team call me and say, ‘Hey, would you have any interest in trading Rondo?’ Before he even offered me a package,” Ainge said. “And I said no. And that’s it. That’s as long as the conversation happened. “Now, I did happen to know what that team had, and I happened to know that team’s assets. I can’t ever be put in a situation where the sentiment of my relationship with the player prevents me from doing what’s best for the franchise. But that’s the extent of it.” Boston Globe

Make no mistake, the Celtics would like to keep Rondo, but Ainge doesn’t like the notion that the team must “build around” Rondo, or any one player for that matter. “I don’t like saying that, whether it’s Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen,” Ainge said. “And those guys are multiple-time All-Stars. I just don’t like ‘building around’ something. Everybody knows who the best players are on teams, but I just think that gives the players the impression that they’re more important than everybody else on the team and the rookies on the team. I just don’t like how that creates a culture of individualism as opposed to the whole team. [Rondo is] obviously a very important part of our team and has been for years. Some people are going to continue to use [those terms] whether I like it or not. I’m just saying I don’t like to use that.” Boston Globe

Ainge continued, “You look at LeBron James, who was a great player in Cleveland. He didn’t win a championship until he got with Dwyane Wade and with Chris Bosh [in Miami]. Same thing with Paul, KG, and Ray — great, Hall of Fame, superstar players, they didn’t win until they got together with other people. The fact that you’re ‘building around’ one player or ‘he is the cornerstone’ — there’s only one or two of those guys in the history of the game, maybe a handful. I just want to sort of make that clear. Of course, we really like [Rondo]. We tried to extend him. He’s been a huge part of our team and will continue to be.“ Boston Globe

January 23, 2014 Updates

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