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Ainge on NBA offseason

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff  July 1, 2009 03:28 PM

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While introducing second-round draft choice Lester Hudson Wednesday at the team's practice facility in Waltham, Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge held a lengthy Q&A with the media on the subject of free agency. Here are some highlights:

  • On Leon Powe: Ainge noted Powe is an unrestricted free agent, but said the team would take a wait-and-see approach as he recovers from a season-ending knee injury sustained in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Bulls: "We know that Leon's not going to be available until late in the season, possibly, so yeah, that's a big factor... We'll certainly keep tabs on Leon, monitor his progress this summer and throughout the year."

  • On Glen Davis: Davis is a restricted free agent and the Celtics plan to make a qualifying offer to get the ball rolling on an attempt to bring back Big Baby. "Everything has been positive with Glen," said Ainge. "We haven't had negotiations, right now Glen will be out there testing the market, seeing what the market dictates." Ainge noted that a handful of players who may have originally been expected to opt out of their deals to pursue free agency did not, suggesting the market might not be as lucrative as players may have hoped.

  • On the Celtics' approach to free agency: "Everybody is trying to get a feel for where the market is. A lot of guys start July 1 with big dollar signs in their eyes. Some get it, some don't. Some come looking for anything later this summer."

  • On building a team around the Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen: "Because we have the Big 3, we didn't have a draft pick in the first round again this year. We've been drafting late and the success rate of late draft picks isn't high. Most teams build through the draft and free agency. What becomes the challenges is managing the future and the here and now. We do have good players and half our roster is under 25 (years old)."

  • On Rajon Rondo: "We've got a starting point guard (Rondo), who we'd like to pay at some point. It's not always about getting the best player. It might be getting the best player at the right value." Ainge noted negotiations with Rondo's agent wouldn't start until at least later this summer.

  • On the mid-level exception: Ainge wouldn't tip his hand noting, "I don't prefer either way. We might use the mid-level exception, we might split it, or we might save it."

Ainge also touched on bringing back Eddie House ("shooting is a premium in the league") and the process of evaluating draft picks and veteran players. For more, check out the video at the top of this entry.

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