Watch CBS News

Austin Ainge On Celtics @ 7: 'We Will Be Active' On Draft Night

BOSTON (CBS) -- Armed with four picks (including two first rounders) and a handful of promising young talent on their roster, the Boston Celtics figure to be busy Thursday night at the NBA Draft.

It's highly unlikely they will make all four of their selections, making a trade (or two) all but certain. Then again, when it comes to Danny Ainge and company, nothing is certain.

The Celtics know they'll have plenty of options when Adam Silver kicks off all the fun in Brooklyn on Thursday, and will do everything they can to improve the team that made an impressive run to the postseason but were swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

Does that mean drafting a versatile player, perhaps a Bobby Portis? Or maybe trade up to get a rim protector like Willie "Trill" Cauley-Stein? What about forgetting those first rounders, and trading them (and other assets) for a proven veteran? With the Celtics, every option is -- and should be -- on the table.

"We will be active," Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge told Adam Kaufman on Saturday morning's Celtics @ 7 on 98.5 The Sports Hub. "Whether that is moving up, moving out, trading for players or future picks – all of those are options."

The Celtics own picks No. 16 and 28 in the first round, and after numerous workouts throughout the summer, Ainge said they have a good idea of who they'd like to take with the 16th overall pick -- should they make that selection. He obviously didn't name names, but it's clear the Celtics are hoping they'll somehow be able to add a star player (or two) to their roster for the 2015-16 season.

Whether that means trading for an established star or trading up into the Top 10 (and potentially, the Top 5), the Celtics will explore every avenue to improve Brad Stevens' club.

"We all want star players and high level talent; that's what wins in the NBA and it's a little easier to get at the top of the draft. If that opportunity presented itself we'd be interested, but it depends on the price," Ainge cautioned. "You can't trade the whole farm for one pick, and if you miss on it you're in trouble. We have to be cautious. It's all about the right price. Whether that's for a current NBA player or moving to the top of the draft, we have to get value."

While they have a nice treasure trove of picks over the next few years, Ainge said prying a top pick from another team isn't always easy.

"Teams go through a lot of losing and a lot of pain to get those, and they're not excited to move them," he said. "They're very had to get and you go through this workout process, spend several hours evaluating these college players and you tend to fall in love with them. It's hard to pry those away from teams and it costs a lot. That's why I hedge my bets when you say, 'Would you like to move up?' It really depends."

Following the trade that sent Lance Stephenson to the Los Angeles Clippers, there were rumors that Boston and Charlotte may talk about swapping some picks, with Charlotte owning the 9th overall selection. Ainge wouldn't confirm those talks, but said the C's have spent a lot of time on the phone these last few weeks.

"We've spoken with every team, and we always do," he said, warning fans that sometimes information that gets leaked isn't always accurate. "We laugh often why certain things get leaked or the timing of it – what is that team trying to do or is it an actual leak? We speak with every team about a lot of things, and 10-15 percent of those things get out. We've talked to every team in the lottery and probably every team in the league at this point."

With their cavalcade of assets, Boston fans are eager to see the young team add an experienced body to the mix -- especially a big man. While he couldn't comment on a certain player (in this case, he was asked about Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins), Ainge did say the Celtics would be willing to trade a hefty bounty for the right type of player.

"If there is a player you feel is transcendent and can be the best player on a championship team, teams are usually willing to give up anyone for those guys," he said, noting his father once said he'd trade a whole team for LeBron James -- who was in high school at the time. "They sometimes will move if they're unhappy or teams are moving in a different direction. We have a lot of assets, we feel, if teams want to get off from a veteran player and rebuild through the draft, we have a good package of picks to offer them. We will stay opportunistic."

Ainge also shares some stories from the war room, including the recent addition of cameras and the awkward reactions it sometimes leads to:

Tune in to Celtics @ 7 every Saturday morning at 7am on 98.5 The Sports Hub!

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.