BOSTON (CBS) — We may be just seven games into the new season, but trade speculation has already started regarding the Boston Celtics.
With a plethora of future draft picks and some enticing young talent on their roster (not to mention, a few veterans with expiring contracts), the Celtics will likely be included in just about every rumor regarding a disgruntled superstar. They’ve been mentioned when it comes to Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the past, and now that he’s fighting with head coach George Karl, those rumors are flaring up again.
At the moment, these talks are basically just pure speculation and Twitter shenanigans. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly call into the show on Thursday, and though he can’t talk about players on another team, said he and his staff do their homework when it comes to every player in the league.
“We consider all talented players, but consider what the price is, who are the players we have around to support them,” said Ainge. “Listen, everyone knows who you’re talking about. The bottom line is I can’t talk about any players. I can assure you we’re familiar with every player in the league, their background and their character. We consider all, but I can’t talk about other players on other teams.”
It sounds like Ainge is making it clear that should a player with some issues become available, the team is very aware of said issues. That would play a part in what the team is willing to give up for said player, who Ainge can not talk about.
Of course, the future asset that fans are salivating the most over is the Brooklyn first-round pick in next year’s draft. The Nets sit at 1-7 on the season after picking up their first win in Houston on Wednesday night, and given their abysmal roster that pick will likely fall somewhere in the Top 3-5 range.
Asked if anyone has made any calls to the Celtics about that pick, Ainge said that’s also not something he is at liberty to discuss. And at such an early point in the season, he’s doing his best to temper everyone’s expectations.
“As the season goes on, not many things happen in the NBA. It’s rare,” he said. “I think most things don’t happen, or start happening in the mid-December until mid-February. It’s really early in the season for anybody to get too excited about too much.”
One thing Ainge could talk about was his thoughts on the best team of all-time. Larry Bird told Dan Shaughnessy that the 1985-86 Championship Celtics were the best team he ever played on, and Ainge took that a step further.
“It’s the greatest of all-time,” Ainge said of the squad that went 67-15 in the regular season and won the NBA Championship. “Larry and Kevin [McHale] were two of the best players in the league at the time. Larry was MVP, and those two guys, because they were in the middle of their prime, more than just the names on the team, that was the biggest reason we were the best team of all-time.”
Here are some of the other points Ainge hit on during his interview with Toucher & Rich:
The play of Kelly Olynyk
“Right now his big issue is, and I say this with so many young players, is all about consistency. He shows many nights, not just occasionally, that he’s a terrific NBA player. He’s just striving for consistency right now.”
What has changed with Jared Sullinger
“Jared worked hard this summer, and I think he’s trying and wants to get in the best shape he can be in. Jared does have a positive attitude, and I think he saw the competition in training camp. I don’t think he got off to the best start, saw where he stood and took responsibility. He did something about it and went out and played like a madman.
“When the season started, he clearly outshined the rest of the bigs as far as energy, effort and production.”
“We’re still trying to figure all of that out. Teams are throwing different defenses at us that we’re not used to seeing and it’s putting a lot of pressure on Isaiah. As a team collectively, we have to help him. We have to start hitting shots. If we don’t start hitting outside shots and opening the floor for Isaiah, we’ll be in trouble.”