A temporary sigh of relief for Ainge
|06.26.09 at 2:09 am ET|
If it were up to Danny Ainge, he would have spent the past month quietly preparing for the NBA Draft. Instead, the Celtics GM has been battling questions, trade rumors and speculations.
After midnight on Friday morning, a weary Ainge addressed the media. It was more than just the end of Draft Night. For Ainge, it was a temporary sigh of relief.
“I think there’s so much competition in the media for any new story and something exciting, and so it does get old from my perspective of having to answer so many [questions],” he said via teleconference following the draft. “We’re just sitting in there doing very boring work, watching videotape all day, and everyone else is out there making up stories and making up rumors. We’re just trying to get ready to draft the 58th pick and get ready for all of the options that may come our way.”
Without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, talks had been centered around the possibility of trading up. Starters Ray Allen, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo had all been mentioned in rumors to snag a lottery pick. Many left Ainge baffled.
“There was many rumors that had my head scratching a little bit,” he said. “Most of them are either made up or completely distorted or three weeks late.”
As it turns out, the Celtics did not come close to trading up to the first round. While they had conversations about moving up in the second round, Ainge said he is “grateful” Lester Hudson was still available at the 58th spot.
While tired of dispelling rumors, Ainge did address a hot topic of conversation — his recent interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show in which he revealed the Celtics had fined Rondo for tardiness and said he did not believe the point guard is a max contract player right now. Those comments sparked further trade speculation.
“We’re not trading Rondo,” Ainge attested. “We love Rondo. We always have. We love him more today than the day we drafted him. He’s not perfect and he’s a young player that needs to get better. And we don’t like it when you’re late.”
Now that the draft is over and lottery pick rumors have been put to rest, Ainge can get back to business. Next up is free agency and building a team for the Orlando Summer League in July.
“It’s good to be over and now I’m sure we’ll get questions and answers about all of the trades possibilities and free agents and all those kinds of rumors,” Ainge said. “So that’s not a fun part of the job, but it’s part of the job.”