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Ainge: Optimistic, Hopeful Celtics Will Land Premier Free Agent

BOSTON (CBS) -- Following a string of trades over the last month, Danny Ainge is hoping that his Boston Celtics are set up to make some noise in the offseason.

Ainge has a nice collection of draft picks over the next four years after pulling off four trades in the last month, and will have up over $30 million in cap space for the upcoming offseason. He hopes to be able to lure a big-name free agent to town, but given Boston's success rate of doing so in the past, he isn't overly confident that will happen.

"I'm not confident; I'm optimistic and hopeful," Ainge said Thursday morning on his weekly call into 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich. "We will work hard to use our cap space to better our team this summer. I think the most important thing is to remain patient. We will go after the best free agents available and do all we can to land them, but I think it's difficult for any city to land them because I think the best free agents are going to stay where they are."

Patience has been key for the Celtics this season, especially from head coach Brad Stevens. With all of the trades Ainge has been making, Stevens has had a fluctuating roster to juggle every night. While the Celtics are only 13-26 on the season, Ainge is pleased with the growth of his head coach in just his second year in the NBA.

"I got a kick out of Brad's comment the other day when he said 'Danny emailed me who was going to be on the roster.' I think Brad is doing a very good job handling it," said Ainge. "This is all new to him, the NBA is new to him as well, so I think he's handling it great. He's a bright guy, a good people guy and he's learning the business of the NBA all the time."

Before getting into basketball, Ainge was asked about his take on the current "Deflategate" drama surrounding the New England Patriots. Ainge doesn't understand the fuss around the story, and believes head coach Bill Belichick didn't have anything to do with whatever happened to the footballs in Sunday's AFC Championship game.

"I'm still giving Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt that he didn't have anything to do with the deflated balls. Until I know otherwise I'll stick with that," said Ainge.


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