Danny Ainge Rumors
The most pressing question: Will Ainge be willing to include the Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round pick — which the Celts own — in a potential deal? “Sure. The Brooklyn pick could be had for the right person,” Ainge noted. “It’s going to be a costly price, as it would be for some of our best players. Look, we’re not looking to trade the Brooklyn pick, but at the same time, I could certainly see some things that we would do for the Brooklyn pick. And they wouldn’t be taking risks. We value [the Brooklyn pick]. Even the chance, even a small chance to get a very talented player is worth [keeping the pick] because you have some chance. And you can’t just give up a chance to get a really good player unless [it’s] for another really good player.”
Ainge added, “It would have to be, certainly, a very good player. And also it probably wouldn’t be someone in their 30s. That would have to be a good young player, because again, even if we had a 5 percent or a 10 percent or a 15 percent chance at one of the top picks in the draft, that’s worth keeping.”
While Ainge did not speak specifically about Howard and Boston’s level of interest in the former eight-time all-star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, there’s not a team in the NBA that Ainge hasn’t had a conversation with recently. But does that means he’s close to making a major deal. Nope. “Most of the time, ninety-nine percent of the things talked about and discussed, don’t happen,” Ainge said. “This time of year there’s a lot of discussions. It’s really hard to predict if there’s any deals there. Usually they happen at the very end, the very last day.”
Ainge won’t hesitate to make a deal if he believes it can significantly improve the team’s standing in the short or long-term. “I do feel like we need to make improvements on our team, but not necessarily at the trade deadline,” Ainge said. “We can’t force anything. Right now, there’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing imminent. We’ve just had a lot of discussions and hope that next week come trade deadline (Feb. 18, 3 p.m. EST) we’re prepared to make the right decisions.”
Ainge told the Globe last month that he is open to fielding calls on trades, as he should be. There could a desperate team looking to unload an attractive player without taking away the Nets’ first-round pick, which the Celtics own. The Celtics should not trade that pick — potentially a top-three selection — unless the return is an All-Star. Ainge’s history tells us he’s going to make a move. But the trades he has made in the past few years have been more purposeful since the doomed Kendrick Perkins-for-Jeff Green deal. Ainge acquired Crowder as a throw-in for Rajon Rondo.
Both members of that starting backcourt — Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge — suffered heart attacks. Ainge had his at age 50 and survived; DJ, at age 52, did not. Add Kevin McHale’s now permanently impaired foot and Bird’s and Walton’s struggles, and the nucleus of one of the greatest teams of all time is, 30 years later, deeply damaged goods.’ Bird, who turned 59 in December, says more research is clearly needed. “I have my own philosophies on that,” Bird says. “Guys that played the hardest in the league — big guys who ran their asses off — they are the ones in the most danger, I feel. Moses was one of those competitors. We build our hearts up when we are playing and then we quit performing at a high level, and our hearts just sit there. I don’t work out like I used to. I can’t. I can’t go out and run. I jog and have a little sauna, that’s about it. My body won’t let me do more than that.”