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April 30, 2015 Updates

"I think that Isaiah, he's our best at that right now," Ainge said. "It would be nice to find one or two more of those before the season starts next year, and ideally at other positions." Pressed on whether that means he would like frontcourt scoring, Ainge replied, "I think both (frontcourt and backcourt). We'll look at both. We need them wherever they are." Booth Newspapers

"We often talk about transcendent players and stars, but I think the hardest skill to find in our league is guys that can score in the fourth quarter," he said. "The last six minutes of the game type scorers. Offensive creators. Usually the offensive patterns don't score baskets at that time. Usually it's individuals and talent. And I think that that's always a priority. Regardless of need by position, those kind of players are hard to find." Booth Newspapers

With the new, massive TV deal set to hit in time for the 2016 campaign, the salary cap will soar after next season. Ainge said he will keep the wild landscape in mind, but will not spend money this summer just to land a free agent before almost every team has room for at least one max contract. "It just depends on who's available, who you can get," he said. "We need to use it wisely. We haven't ever had cap space, I don't think, in the history of the Celtics, and for sure since I've been here. So we need to use that space wisely. We can't just spend it just because we have it." Booth Newspapers

Midseason additions such as Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome, along with veteran forward Brandon Bass, will be on the short list of Celtics hitting the free agent market. Ainge did not dismiss the possibility of bringing back any of them next season. "Rather than going individual by individual," Ainge said when asked about his interest in the free agents, "I would just say that we like all of them to some degree. Some of it's going to be dependent on numbers and roster spots and draft and trades and everything else. So you just can't emphatically say anything about anybody, other than I can emphatically say that we will definitely qualify Jae Crowder, which I think is pretty obvious. But other than that, the unrestricted free agents, it's uncertain. But we do like each one of them and would welcome any one of them back at the right price and in the right role." Boston Globe

Ainge was later asked about the #SignTheSwede hashtag circulating on social media in hopes that Boston will bring back Jerebko. "The Swedish Larry Bird, you mean?" cracked Ainge. "I’m ready to take Jonas out to play some golf here; he’s supposed to be a good golfer. We’ll have that talk. But I was impressed with Jonas, and I know that [coach] Brad [Stevens] liked Jonas, and his teammates respected him. He plays very hard, and he’s a versatile defender and a guy that can spread the floor. Yeah, we like what he brought to the table. I think I would sign off on the #SignTheSwede hashtag. Again, in free agency, and with our current roster, it all depends. So we have to just see how those negotiations are and how they go and what we end up with in the draft and what our needs are at the end of the day. But Jonas is someone that we’re very high on and that we like very much." ESPN.com

Jerebko and Bass will be unrestricted free agents, but the Celtics will maintain Bird rights on both players. The Celtics could also extend a qualifying offer to Datome, but Ainge declined to say whether he would do so. Boston Globe

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will seek the designated player maximum contract – a full five-year deal – in a possible extension this upcoming offseason, league sources told RealGM. The Blazers will address the immediate futures of LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews when the July free agency begins, but the franchise is also expected to start talks on a new deal with Lillard this summer. RealGM

Lillard, sources said, has no plans to consider signing an extension less than the designated max – nor would the two-time NBA All-Star and 2013 Rookie of the Year be financially inclined to do so given 2016’s rising free agency market, when upward of 20 teams could extend $20 million-plus offer sheets to Lillard. RealGM

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