BOSTON (CBS) — Trade rumors involving New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis dominated the talk ahead of Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
Once word got out that Phil Jackson was shopping his 7-foot-3 centerpiece, of course teams were going to line up to inquire about the Zen Master’s asking price for the Latvian star. It’s up for debate whether or not Jackson was just trying to teach his star player a lesson for skipping out on his exit meeting or if he was really shopping Porzingis, but the asking price turned out to be too high for any team to hand over, including the Boston Celtics.
Jackson reportedly asked Danny Ainge for the third overall pick on Thursday (which Boston used to draft Duke forward Jayson Tatum), next year’s Brooklyn pick, plus Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder. That’s one heck of a king’s ransom, a price tag that few will fault Ainge for turning down.
But just how serious were the trade talks between the Celtics and Knicks, and how much of it was just social media overdrive?
“I don’t comment on trade rumors. I will say this; it was a little blown out of proportion. But I’ll leave it at that,” Ainge told reporters at the conclusion of the draft. “A lot more talk by you guys.”
So essentially, Ainge likely heard what the Knicks wanted in return and quickly hung up the phone.
That reported lofty asking price isn’t anything new for Ainge, who has a plethora of young talent and future draft picks in his bundle of assets. Teams tend to ask for a little bit more when they’re dealing with the Celtics, knowing what Ainge has at his disposal and out of fear of becoming another Billy King — who Ainge fleeced in his 2013 trade of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
“I know when I’m trying to do deals with teams, I think people around the league know the things we have and they are asking for some of our prime real estate,” said Ainge. “I think over the last few trading periods it’s been a little bit of a hurdle, but the bottom line is we have to do the deals we believe in.”
Ainge said he and his staff are constantly on the phone around this time of the year, though most of those discussions don’t lead to much. But just because they couldn’t swing a trade on Thursday, the window is still very much open for the Celtics to pull off some deals.
“I think July is the busiest time of the year. We anticipate being very active and continuing to try and improve our roster,” said Ainge.