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Danny Ainge is realistic about the 2011 draft

06.22.11 at 2:48 pm ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

WALTHAM — On the eve of the 2011 NBA draft, Celtics president Danny Ainge said that it’s unlikely the team will find much help for the upcoming season with the 25th pick in the first round.

“When you’re drafting where we’re drafting, I’m not trying to put a negative spin on this, I’m trying to be realistic, the 25th pick in the draft is probably not going to help us, immediately,” Ainge said on Wednesday at the team’s training facility in Waltham. “But there are some players that we think can fit our roster, fit into the personality of our team and have a work ethic that can make our team better in practice and add depth to our roster.”

Ainge said that had no intention of trading the future Clippers pick that is top-10 protected through 2016 to move up in this year’s draft and agreed with the overall sentiment that this is a down year for talent. ‘The picks we have aren’t good enough to get to the very, very top of the draft and we think next year’s draft will be better,” Ainge said.

Here are some other items of interest from Wednesday’s media gathering that also included coach Doc Rivers:

On Rajon Rondo: “He’s not 100 percent yet,” Ainge said. “He’s probably about four weeks away from playing basketball at full speed, but he can do some training and conditioning right now.”

Rondo was running on a treadmill above the practice court at Waltham and wasn’t wearing any kind of a brace for his elbow that he dislocated in the playoffs. He turned down requests for an interview.

On Jermaine O’Neal: “He has every intention of coming back,” Ainge said. “Something could happen, that he won’t come back, but he has every desire to come back and play, and he didn’t like the way it finished this year. He doesn’t want to end his career on that kind of note, wants to be a much bigger contributor next year.”

O’Neal has been in Waltham getting treatment and working out and Ainge said that O’Neal decided not to have more surgery on his knee.

On Lawrence Frank, who has been a finalist for several head-coaching jobs: “Lawrence has interest in coming back,” Ainge said. “Lawrence will have an opportunity to coach, as you know, he’s been a top candidate in a lot of teams this year. We want Lawrence back. Lawrence will have options with other teams, too, he’s not under contract, so he has an option to explore all those options.”

Frank was also getting in some treadmill time.

Ainge also confirmed that free agent center Nenad Krstic has signed with CSKA Moscow and will not be back.

On possibly trading one of their core players: “We love our core group. I will just say this. I never tell players that I would never do anything like that,” Ainge said. “We have to keep our options open and explore. That’s my job. Our intention is to bring our core group back.”

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Jermaine O'Neal, nenad krstic, Rajon Rondo Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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