BOSTON (CBS) — There are rumors in the NBA. And as usual, the Celtics are involved in those rumors.
But this time is a tad bit different, given Danny Ainge can’t give up a gigantic bounty for Anthony Davis until this summer. Still, with Davis demanding that the New Orleans Pelicans send him elsewhere earlier this week, the Celtics are front-and-center in the trade chatter, even if they have to wait five months.READ MORE: Amazon Driver Charged With Child Porn After Allegedly Wearing Wig, Taking Pictures In Wrentham Outlets Bathroom
The Pelicans reportedly won’t cave to Davis’ request to send him to the Lakers, which is great news for the Celtics. But at the same time, it means players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have their names thrown into potential trade packages for the New Orleans big man. It’s kind of awkward.
But Ainge makes sure to keep his players abreast of everything that is going on, and told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Thursday morning that he has spoken to Tatum and Brown about the rumors.
“Yes I do have to speak to players about rumors. Sometimes they come to me and I tell them the truth. Sometimes I reach out if a guy is in a rumor and I tell them what’s going on. I have reached out to them,” Ainge said of his two young stars. “I try and educate them on the basketball world. They’re young guys. I try to keep them from getting distracted. Sometimes the NBA is more about the drama off-court than the play on-court.
“I believe in our young players and I think we’re in a great position. Whether that’s a trade or not, who knows? But I’m excited about their future in Boston as well,” he said.
With Tatum, Brown and future first-round draft picks from the rebuilding Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies, Ainge is in a great position to offer up the best package for Davis. But the rumors are he wants to play in Los Angeles with LeBron James, and won’t sign a contract extension anywhere else. That would scare off most teams, but that is not the case with Ainge, who said he would bring in a player with no assurances of them signing long-term.
“Yes. But it depends on the situation. It depends on the player, the circumstances and the package you have to trade for him,” he said. “We’ve had a chance to do it and have done it, and we’ve had a chance to do it and have not done it.”READ MORE: 5-Month Old 'Fenway Baby' Becomes Crowd Favorite At Red Sox Game
That time Ainge was able to do it was when he traded for Kevin Garnett in the summer of 2007, and that ended up working out pretty well for all parties involved. But it took some convincing just to get Garnett to Boston in the first place.
“We initially had a trade together and KG said he wouldn’t come to Boston. He said no. So, we pulled the trade offer. Then we traded for Ray Allen and went back to Minnesota and they allowed us to speak to KG, and he said yes,” explained Ainge. “He also said he would sign an extension and we did the trade. We had another opportunity — I won’t name the player, but that player wouldn’t commit to re-signing, so we didn’t do the deal.
“It’s not about selling the player,” Ainge continued. “They want to be themselves and they want to win. It’s about creating an environment where they can reach their goals. That’s usually how you keep players.”
Of course the difference between 2007 and now is that Garnett agreed to an extension as soon as the Celtics brought in Allen. Davis wouldn’t sign until 2020, if at all, so there is significant risk to making the move.
But it sounds like that risk wouldn’t keep Ainge from trading for a talent like Davis. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that the Celtics will offer up any player not named Kyrie Irving and any draft pick they have to New Orleans this summer. Following Wednesday night’s win over the Charlotte Hornets, Tatum was asked about having his name mentioned in trade rumors.
The soft-spoken Tatum didn’t have much to say, but he didn’t sound very thrilled either.
“My job is to control what I can control,” he said. “I mean, I can’t control what happens, so just have to go out there and focus on today. Just play the game. See what happens.MORE NEWS: Suspect Arrested After 7-Hour Standoff In Boston
“I mean, it’s good to be wanted,” Tatum added. “I guess you can say that but I don’t have any control.”