Danny Ainge Says It's 'Unlikely' Celtics Pull Off Any Blockbuster Moves This Offseason
By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- The last two summers have been pretty interesting for the Boston Celtics.
Two years ago, Danny Ainge and his crew spent their Fourth of July in the Hamptons trying to convince Kevin Durant to sign with the Celtics. While that was an unsuccessful venture, the Boston brass was able to land Al Horford that offseason, thus beginning a new trend for the Celtics.
Last summer, Ainge and company signed prized free agent Gordon Hayward to a max contract. A few months later, Ainge pulled off a blockbuster swap with the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Talk about fireworks.
As this NBA offseason gets set to kick into its normal frenzy with free agency opening at midnight on Saturday, the Celtics continue to be mentioned in just about every major rumor. The Spurs are looking for a trade partner for disgruntled superstar Kawhi Leonard, and reportedly covet Boston's slew of assets. Even free agent Paul George mentioned Boston as a potential destination, though it's extremely likely that's just a ploy to get more money elsewhere (the Lakers). Boston was even mentioned as a spot that LeBron James may bring his talents to now that he's leaving Cleveland once again.
But according to Ainge, those rumors will remain just that. He's going to do his job and examine every potential move he can pull off to make the Celtics better, but told reporters that lighting off more fireworks is "unlikely."
"If I feel like it'll help our team -- we explore every trade of players of certain magnitude or superstar, first-ballot hall-of-fame-type of players," Ainge told reporters Friday, according to ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg. "We're going to take a look and kick the tires and see if there's something there. But that's all.
"I think those things are unlikely," he said.
So it sounds like Celtics fans can actually enjoy their Fourth of July next week, and not have to spend the day glued to Twitter. Ainge said most of the rumors that Boston has been mentioned in this offseason are false.
"And what I don't like about it is I don't like how names are just thrown around [in media reports]. [Reporters] probably don't care about the names, and that's your job is to make good stories and have things to talk about on the air. Most of it's not true, but there's sometimes bits and pieces of it that are true. So it's not total lies but -- I can't call it fake news -- but it's complex," he said. "These are complex situations and I think that, just like [reporters] don't like answering or having to respond to rumors, even though it does give you good programming, I don't like it any more, having to deal with the players that are calling me and the agents that are calling me when their name is in a rumor that's like just totally made up."
With Irving and Gordon returning from injury next season, the Celtics will add two All-Stars to a young core that got them just one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals. Ainge once again feels that his Celtics, as currently constituted, are a title contender for the second straight year.
"I feel great that we have a lot of players that people like and want," said Ainge. "That's a great feeling to have. That's not always the case and that's the reason we like our guys, too, is we have a lot of talent on our team. I'm excited about our team going forward."
Of course, this could all be mind games from Ainge. He's never one to show his hand, so maybe he does go out and pull off something wild this offseason. Maybe he's just playing possum with the Kawhi trade talks, in hopes of lowering San Antonio's demands. If there is a move out there that is going to make the Celtics a better team, he isn't going to pass up the opportunity. Even if the Celtics have no chance at making the move, he's going to make sure that's the case before moving on.
But Ainge also has the luxury of being able to stand pat this summer and still send out a team with championship aspirations come October. That may mean the Celtics sit out this summer's fireworks extravaganza, something Boston fans probably wouldn't mind with all the promise the C's future already holds.
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