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Ainge: In Perfect World, I'd Trade Draft Picks For Proven Players

BOSTON (CBS) - Danny Ainge's Celtics are wheeling, dealing and acquiring as many assets as they can for the future, mostly draft picks and expiring contracts.

So many draft picks, in fact, that we had to put together this neat little post to explain them all.

"I think over the next five years we have 26 draft picks, including 11 and possibly 12 first rounders," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told Toucher & Rich Thursday morning.

Is this sort of thing unprecedented?

"I don't know. I don't know," Ainge stopped. "I don't know the answer to that. It's not normal, but it's not unprecedented."

Fans of the NBA know just how tough it is to build a contender. You either do it through the draft, free agency, or (ideally) a combination of both.

In most other sports, first round draft picks are highly coveted -- not so much in the NBA. Rich was curious to know how much value his first round draft picks hold.

Ainge knows his team is a long ways away, but there is a plan in place.

"In a perfect world I would like to trade picks for proven, quality players. That's the perfect world," said Ainge. "But the top five, 10, 15 players in the league, right now, you can't get them [by trading draft picks], except through the draft. Now listen, there's been a lot of really good players drafted in the mid-to-late first round in the past, but you have to be very lucky to get them."

The Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks were in town Wednesday night to face the C's, a game in which they won 105-91.

Atlanta is very Spurs-like in that they play team basketball, have good ball movement, and were built with late round picks. Makes sense, because head coach Mike Budenholzer is a Greg Popovich disciple.

Rich was curious to know if a team like the Hawks give Ainge hope and inspiration.

"Yeah, it is inspiring, to every team. There's a few teams around the history of the last 35 years that have been there. The challenge is do the Hawks have enough to win a championship? The Hawks are a very good basketball team right now, but the question is -- and I'm not sure they are. But they are an inspiring team. They are a little bit Spurs-like last year," said Ainge.

"I think both last year and this year give everybody hope. I do think the league is moving a little bit more towards parity with how the collective bargaining agreement is set up. So we're hopeful, sure. We're always looking to add pieces. We got a couple of good guys in this year's draft that we think are going to be good players. We're hoping to find some more in this upcoming draft and continue to add good pieces to good coaching -- which we have -- develop a culture, develop some chemistry, [find] the right players that fit. All those things are very important."

Listen below for the full interview:

Even though the Celtics lost, 98.5 The Sports Hub's Rich Shertenlieb came away from the game positive, because he believes the way Atlanta was constructed can be duplicated by the Celtics.

Listen to hear his explanation:

Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Celtics season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Celtics. Pregame coverage with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell begins 30 minutes prior to every game! Occasionally a scheduling conflict will arise, in which case the Celtics can be heard on our sister station 100.7 WZLX.


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