Ainge trashes trade talk

Swaps with Bobcats, Wizards just rumors

By Frank Dell’Apa and Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / February 13, 2010

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DALLAS - Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said yesterday he has not discussed trades involving the Washington Wizards or Charlotte Bobcats, seemingly debunking persistent rumors.

“There is no truth to either one of those,’’ Ainge said. “I have had conversations with a lot of teams but those have never been discussed. There are a lot of things I would like to do, but I don’t feel a need to do something. I am always looking to upgrade the team, if possible.’’

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that the Celtics have been discussing a deal that would send Ray Allen and his expiring contract to the Wizards along with the expiring contracts of Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens for Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler. However, Wojnarowski later reported the Wizards were close to a deal that would send Butler and DeShawn Stevenson to the Dallas Mavericks for Josh Howard and another player still being negotiated.

The Charlotte rumor is intriguing. Bobcats coach Larry Brown could be interested in Rasheed Wallace, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer, but Ainge said Wallace will not be dealt. Ainge said he does not plan to attend the All-Star proceedings this weekend and that deals will not likely be concluded until closer to Thursday’s trade deadline.

“It will probably heat up next week,’’ Ainge said.

Ainge said he expects the Celtics (32-18) to improve. They have won just nine of their last 22 games.

“We are clearly a better team than we’ve been playing,’’ Ainge said. “There have been some injuries. But there is no question we are better than how we have been playing.’’

Asked if he felt he needed to make a move to shake up the team, Ainge said, “All speculation. It’s only a month ago [that the team was performing well]. We need to play better and I think we can.’’

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