In the best of times, Danny Ainge sits at his desk, kicks his feet up and calls 29 general managers per day, hoping to reach his self-imposed daily quota of 615 trade offers, sometimes offering Otis Smith a maximum-contract box of Velveeta shells and cheese in exchange for Dwight Howard because, let’s face it, nobody ever knows when Smith will accept a mind-boggling, severely damaging swap (see: Glen Davis, Gilbert Arenas). Ainge is active like a jackrabbit and as hesitant to pull the trigger as Brandon Bass, even in the best of times.
So now, with the Celtics having lost four out of five and sometimes looking like hunters with no ammunition, Ainge is contemplating what moves to make at the trade deadline. While nothing is imminent, he’s considering a wide variety of options to help a team he says “is not a team that we feel like is a contending team the way we’re playing.” (WEEI)
As for his own roster, Ainge said that he was encouraged by his team’s defense, but acknowledged that, “Our team has been very up and down, very inconsistent.”
“Our offense has been under par,” Ainge said. “We are turning the ball over too much and we’re making a pretty good percentage of our shots, but the turnovers have really hurt is this year, again. We’ve shown signs of playing very good basketball against very good teams periodically, but not consistently. Our team, as it is right now, is not a team that we feel like is a contending team the way we’re playing. And they have to step it up, and this road trip will be a very good test for us.” …
The trade deadline is March 15 and players who were signed in the offseason can’t be traded until March 1. Ainge said that he has explored both long-term and short-term possibilities.
“I’m exploring opportunities for both, always. To help the here and now and to prepare for the future,” Ainge said. “A lot of it depends on the opportunities that are there. Right now, there’s nothing in the works for the Boston Celtics. Doc Rivers likes our team. I talked with our four All-Stars recently, they all really like our team and they feel like they’re better than they’ve been playing, and so, we’ll see. These next few weeks will be big.”
Ainge is likely going to ride out the Big Three this season and look to rebuild in the offseason. Not necessarily because he wants to, but because only certain trades make sense — ones that net Boston draft picks and young players with manageable contracts — and judging by what the Celtics have to offer (older players on their way out, younger players with plenty of flaws, draft picks they probably want to keep for the rebuilding process), those trades will be difficult to come by.
But he will turn over every rock and dig up every hole, seeing what he can do for the Celtics. If Ainge is nothing else, he’s bold and unafraid. That’s not always a great thing, but it does mean he’s always looking for a suitable deal.