BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics are struggling, losers of five straight, which means they’re popping up in plenty of trade rumors.
That upsets President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, who says most of these rumors are being made up by the media.
Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly call-in on Thursday, and was asked to address one rumor in particular that appeared on Bleacher Report. It mentioned that the Celtics and Knicks were talking a Amar’e Stoudemire for Kris Humphies-Gerald Wallace swap, but also stated:
The Celtics also plan on “stinking in 2014-15 anyway,” according to the source close to the team, so Stoudemire’s financial presence wouldn’t necessarily hurt them as they have plenty of salary-cap flexibility and can continue to add roster pieces.
“I don’t like to address rumors, but there is just not a lot of integrity in the media,” said Ainge. “I don’t believe there is a source close to the team that said that. I believe there is a lot of things that are made up today in the desperate world of competition in the media. I don’t want to throw every media person under the bus; there are some great people in the media with a great deal of integrity. But there is so much garbage, and someone close to the Celtics would never say that.
“Those kind of rumors can be damaging and they start a lot of talk that is unnecessary and wastes a lot of time,” said Ainge. “There are so many people out there I don’t even know who half these guys are.”
Ainge again stated he has no interest in trading point guard Rajon Rondo, and said he’s received less phone calls about a potential trade (involving any of his players) than last season.
As for the team itself, Ainge was pleased to see a big game from second-year forward Jared Sullinger on Wednesday night against the Spurs. In his first start of the season, Sullinger pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds to go with 19 points.
“Sully is really developing. You see it in his comfort and confidence level,” said Ainge. “He’s really improved his outside shooting and is improving it even more by stretching it to the three-point line. We don’t want him to be away from the basket much, but the ability to be a three-point shooter, in addition to his passing and inside play and rebound, it will make his play more complete.
“We’re very happy with his development. We still don’t think he’s in as great a shape as he could be, but he’s getting there,” Ainge added. “He’s working hard.”
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Ainge was also asked about the struggles of the Brooklyn Nets, who are 3-8 on the season after losing to the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night. Ainge is being called a genius by some for getting three first-round draft picks from Brooklyn for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce over the off-season, but said he isn’t really concerned about the play of the banged-up Nets.
“I think they’ll be fine; they haven’t had their team together yet,” he said. “I was watching them the other night and they had five of their six best players not playing. Brook Lopez and Deron Williams, those two are supposed to be the two guys really carrying them along with Joe Johnson. KG and Paul didn’t go to (Brooklyn) carry the team; they went there to be supplementary and role players with playoff experience. If have to be their best players, it will be a tough go in Brooklyn.”
Ainge also gave his weekly status update on Rondo, talked about the struggles of Jeff Green, and went back his comments from last week about the upcoming NBA Draft: