BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been busy working the phones ahead of the NBA’s 3 p.m. trade deadline on Thursday, but took some time out of his morning to join Andy Gresh on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
The Celtics have free-agents-to-be Brandon Bass, Marcus Thornton and Tayshaun Prince to dangle to title contenders looking to bolster their bench, and Ainge even hinted that the C’s are exploring their options for something bigger for the future. But Ainge wouldn’t be surprised if the season’s earlier flurry of trades (which included sending Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green out of town for future assets) meant for a much calmer deadline day for the Celtics.READ MORE: 4 People, 2 Dogs Rescued From Sinking Boat Off Chatham
“We’ve had a lot of discussion over the last month. We’ve had a busy season with Rondo and Jeff Green, arguably our two best players at the time. That has probably made it less busy in the last month, but we’ve had a lot of conversations,” Ainge told Gresh. “We’re all over the map in directions we could go. We don’t feel pressure that we have to make decisions. Most of the discussions are freeing up cap and acquiring future picks, but keeping our core intact.”
Boston has been rumored to be interested in Phoenix point guard Goran Dragic, who will be a free agent after the season and has said he won’t re-sign with the Celtics (and most other teams) before hitting the open market. Ainge made it sound like the C’s won’t be going after such players on Thursday.
“We are also looking to acquire players who are already under contract. We don’t want to get rid of picks for players who have uncertainty in the free agent market — players like Rondo, for an example,” he said. “It’s more likely we will be busier in the summer time and get more accomplished than we will here at the trade deadline.”READ MORE: Massachusetts Considers Letting Electric Bikes In Bike Lanes
But just because Ainge will be busier when the weather warms up doesn’t mean he won’t get in on the deadline day fun. Always looking to add to his plethora of picks over the next five years, Ainge and the C’s could jump in and be a facilitating third team in trades.
As for the upcoming draft, in which the Celtics currently own two first-round picks (their own and the L.A. Clippers), Ainge said it’s a little better than last year’s draft.
“We try to anticipate what the draft will be like, but there is so much uncertainty,” said Ainge. “We think this draft, potentially, is a little better than last year’s draft, but more of a normal draft. It’s top heavy and there are some players who could be had later. But we’re excited for this draft.”
Ainge also added that he would like to see more playing time for rookie James Young over the final months of the season.MORE NEWS: Ames Nowell State Park In Abington Closes As Search For Missing Elijah Lewis Continues