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Ainge: Every Intention Of Finding Star Players

BOSTON (CBS) --  The Boston Celtics are reportedly working the phones, with a Rajon Rondo trade the hot rumor of the day, but Danny Ainge says this year is no different from any other.

The Celtics' president of basketball ops. joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich for his weekly call on Thursday morning, and though he wouldn't address (or refute) the Rondo rumors, he said we're entering the time of the season when those phone calls -- and all the rumors that go with them -- really start to pick up.

"I wouldn't say it's any different from any year," said Ainge. "December 15, there are a lot of rumors because conversations are happening. December 15 is the magical date where players who signed in the offseason can be traded. This is a hot rumor time, and there is a hot rumor time in the middle of February. But from mid-December to February there is a lot of discussion with most teams.

"We're having a lot of discussion, just like we do every year."

Ainge said he is both making and receiving calls at this point, but urges fans not to believe everything they hear.

"When you receive calls you may not find a partner in a deal that is satisfactory, so you try to get two or three or four teams involved. That's where a lot of the rumors get started or misconstrued. Sometimes you're calling on behalf of doing a deal that is part of another deal, so sometimes the accuracy of the rumor isn't there. I expect a lot of rumors over the next few months."

Ainge said he's not sure what the Celtics would look like without Rondo on the roster, because they haven't been able to get a good look at rookie point guard Marcus Smart given his recent string of injuries.

He continues his quest for a quick rebuild, and is trying to get a star player to Boston, but Ainge has also come to terms with the fact that finding such a player may not happen.

"My job is to look at all the different ways and path ways to be a championship team," said Ainge. "This is the time of year where there's a lot of talking and calling going on. Part of my job is to explore our way to the next championship.

"Everybody wants a star first, but in lieu of getting a star -- because there are very few of those for the 30 teams -- the next option is draft picks, which you hope to find the next star in the draft. You need swings of the bat, so that would be next," explained Ainge. "The next thing would be good, solid players – guys who could play a role on the team.

"I think Celtics fans want to see good team basketball and winning basketball," said Ainge. "We need to start moving in that direction. I don't know if stars are required. It's assumed in the NBA that stars are needed, and that's true, but there have been some successful teams without a star. But I have every intention of finding stars; great players who have a positive effect on winning.

"Not stars who people want to watch, but stars who help with winning basketball," he said.




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