Danny Ainge joined Andy Gresh for his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub with just hours remaining before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday afternoon.
The Celtics president of basketball operations covered a wide array of topics in his interview, touching on the risks involved in trading for future free agents [such as Goran Dragic or Reggie Jackson], the chance that Brandon Bass remains a Celtic, and a potential look ahead to the team’s summer plans.
Here are a few highlights of the exchange:
On trade deadline discussions: “We’ve had a lot of discussion over the last month. We’ve had a busy season with Rondo and Jeff Green, arguably our two best players at the time. That has probably made it less busy in the last month, but we’ve had a lot of conversations. We’re all over the map in directions we could go. We don’t feel pressure that we have to make decisions. Most of the discussions are freeing up cap and acquiring future picks, but keeping our core intact.”
On the risk of trading for potential free agents at the deadline: “We are also looking to acquire players who are already under contract. We don’t want to get rid of picks for players who have uncertainty in the free agent market, players like Rondo, for an example. It’s more likely we will be busier in the summer time and get more accomplished than we will here at the trade deadline.”
On adding backcourt pieces, despite having Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley in place: "We really like [our guards] a lot, but you need depth and you need a lot of shooting and scoring at the guard position to be a great team. We like our young kids, also. But we don’t have enough. The talent level that we have right now is not good enough at this moment. We do believe that most of our young players aren’t even close to reaching their prime, so that’s a very encouraging thought. And we also have James Young, who we like very much and we haven’t seen a lot of yet this year. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to get more playing time as the season goes on."
On the future of Brandon Bass: "I've talked with Brandon about that. I think there's some uncertainty about what Brandon's going to do. He's a free agent [after this year]. He has options. Brandon has been a great soldier for us. He has been a really good player with KG and Paul. There was a time when Brandon moved into the starting lineup in the second half of the season, I think in 2011, and it actually became the best lineup in basketball. He’s a true pro. Even though he's in his upper-20s, I think he's still getting better. So he very well could be part of our future if it's something that he wants, and if it's something that [works] with the rest of our roster after the draft."