BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge was a little late for his weekly call into 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday, but it wasn’t because he was on the phone working on a trade.
“I’ve been traveling this morning. I was just stuck in traffic in New York City,” Ainge explained. “I’m out here scouting. I have not been on the phone.”
The Celtics are rumored to be discussing a possible swap with the Houston Rockets for center Omer Asik. Boston would reportedly be sending Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and a future first-round pick to Houston for the seven-footer, but Ainge said the team is not close to completing any trades despite the reports.
“I have no indication of that other than the rumors,” said Ainge. “I have no indications with my dealings with other teams that we’re close to doing a deal.”
“We’re just opportunistic,” Ainge later said. “When you read our name out there sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not. I think the reports are embellished, but we are having discussions and seeing what opportunities are out there.”
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Ainge said he did reach out to the representatives of Bass and Lee on Wednesday to let them know what was happening with the rumors. He also added that he isn’t getting regular phone calls about the available assets on the team, but expects those calls to pick up as we get closer to the February 20 trade deadline.
Ainge said that with any proposed deal, head coach Brad Stevens will have plenty of input.
“Brad is very bright and knows the game. He studies the game and watches a lot of tape on the players. He probably has a much better insight on the college players, where he’s been the last seven years, than he does on the NBA players. But he studies the opponents and watches a lot of tape, and is becoming very familiar,” said Ainge. “He’s a quick study and a bright guy, and has a great feel for what he wants to do as a coach and what kind of players he wants as well. We have conversations regularly.”
Ainge also touches on the importance of defensive big man on any team, and Jared Sullinger’s strong start to his sophomore season in the NBA: