The Boston Celtics did not make a single trade at the NBA trade deadline, opting instead to return for the second half of the season with the roster intact.
But Danny Ainge was still active in searching for the right trading partner. Until 2:57 p.m., Ainge worked his cell phone. (ESPN)
“I guess what prevented any trade was making at least two teams in a deal happy, or satisfied that a deal was worthwhile,” said Ainge. “But as late as 2:57, there was still trades that were possible and being negotiated. We were close to handful of different types of trades — small to bigger — that just couldn’t be resolved. That happens often.”
Asked later if he approached the deadline as a buyer or a seller, Ainge added, “I was looking at both opportunities, to strengthen our team for the playoff run this year and/or build some chips and some assets for future. We actually had a lot of conversation on both sides, but nothing seemed good enough to do.”
The fact that Ainge did not make a trade could be construed as a sign that he wanted one last run with the Big Three. Wrong. The reason he didn’t make a trade was that he knows the Celtics are set up for the future, with tons of cap space this summer, and the only way Ainge would have made a deal is if it positively impacted the future. He definitely looked for a deal that would do that, didn’t find one, and was content playing out the string on this season.
Even with the Celtics desperate for a big man this season, Ainge did not pull the trigger for a big. He’s (rightfully) given up hope for this season. There’s little chance the Celtics can get by the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat this season. (Damn it, I hate writing that, but it would take a miracle.)
Ainge certainly looked for a big man yesterday, but he wasn’t going to surrender future assets to do that. The priority has changed from now to later. I, for one, am happy Ainge was smart enough to stick to his game plan. I’d love for the Celtics to make a deep run this postseason, obviously. But that would probably take a lot more than a mediocre center acquired at the trade deadline. Ainge stood by his plan to build for the future and he quietly allowed the Celtics to keep all their hard-earned cap space and assets.
The trigger-happy GM failed to fire a bullet yesterday, but his shot still hit it’s mark.