BOSTON — The Celtics may fall short in their quest to land Kevin Love on draft night, but make no mistake — the team will be active in the trade market in some form or another on Thursday night.
As we’ve covered here before, Ainge has an established track record of making moves on draft night. He’s made draft-day deals involving first-round picks in five of his 10 years at the helm in Boston and that number is probably only that low due to the fact there were a couple years in which the Celtics had already dealt away their first-round pick prior to the drift.
Now that the Celtics are stockpiled with more trade assets than ever (No. 6, No. 17, future first-rounders, three separate trade exceptions) Boston is well positioned to go in the direction of whatever is the best opportunity presented on Thursday night.
If a team is looking to rebuild and/or dump some big-money talent for the chance to open up some cap space or start over, they can look no further than Boston. Danny Ainge has stockpiled over seven million dollars of non-guaranteed contracts (Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb) that the team can use along with picks or draft exceptions to facilitate a deal.
Boston’s future first-round picks from Brooklyn in 2016 and 2018 may also contain additional value now based on a new report from the New York Post. The story indicates Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will reduce spending in future seasons in order to gain a better valuation for his franchise. That prospect could damage Brooklyn’s competitiveness in future years and help Boston convince other teams that the unprotected Nets picks hold significant value now in a deal.
If the Celtics don’t find any takers for their long last of assets, they also have the ability to stay young for another season. Two years of rebuilding is something most Celtics fans will be able to swallow. Trade avenues for Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and other seasoned veterans will be explored as the Celtics try to stockpile more assets to develop a young core under Brad Stevens.
No matter what road the Celtics go down, Boston’s director of player personnel Austin Ainge noted the team is prepared for all of the varying possibilities that will arise Thursday night and bleed into free agency next week.
“We’ll try to go through every trade, draft, and free-agency scenario,” Ainge said, “Because free agency happens very quickly after the draft. So we’ll try to be prepared with all of our rankings and ‘What if?’ scenarios.”
Those scenarios for draft night don’t just include the Celtics’ own ranking of draft prospects but how they expect other teams to act and potentially deal their picks.
“Not just draft board, but also trades,” Ainge noted of the Celtics’ preparations. “Because, what if there are a certain number of guys we really like and they’re all off the board? At that point, do we trade, and for whom? We go through all those exercises. …. Even though we all feel like we all know what order it’s going to go in this time of year, no one had Anthony Bennett No. 1 last year. No team is going to tell us the truth. No agent is going to tell us the truth. So we try to use logic and deduce small things, but we really don’t know. We tried to be prepared for any eventuality.”
So take faith, Celtics fans, although the team’s front office probably still doesn’t know what they will end up doing draft night, they will be prepared and also have the flexibility to take part in every kind of scenario.
Don’t expect them to sit this one out on the sidelines.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.