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Danny Ainge talks trade deadline, Rajon Rondo and the search for a big man

03.15.12 at 11:13 am ET
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Appearing on the Dennis and Callahan Show with Dale Arnold and Kirk Minihane Thursday morning, Danny Ainge said that there is a “50-50″ chance the Celtics make a deal before the 3 p.m. trade deadline Thursday afternoon, but nothing on a large-scale appears close. (To listen to the entire interview, click here.)

“I think it’s 50-50. It may be a small deal. It may be not as exciting as what people may expect,” he said. “But we’re working hard. We’ll work hard the rest of the day until 3 o’clock.”

“I have no desire to move anybody on our team,” Ainge said earlier in the interview. “I have to look and so far I have nothing. We don’t have anything that we’re really excited about right now. If somebody steps up and ups their offer today, who knows what might happen by the trade deadline. But I’m prepared and comfortable with letting the season play out and if somebody wants to throw in first-round draft picks, or give quality young players, that’s something we have to consider.

“I have not been close because I don’t feel like we need to. I don’t want to move the guys, but I have to listen. If something becomes available I’ll pull the trigger. But based on some of the offers that we’ve had, and the interest, it’s just not worth it.”

Ainge also reiterated that he has not actively attempted to deal point guard Rajon Rondo.

“We haven’t even had discussions about Rondo,” he said. “I don’t know where all this stuff goes. He hasn’t even been mentioned since the summertime. … I’ve fielded calls, and there’s been some interest because of all the media discussion, but I haven’t reached out to anybody.

“Just to clarify, and this goes with all trades, I’m not going to confirm or deny any of that. I’m just telling you I would never do those deals. I never called and picked up and asked about those deals. But I get phone calls regularly about Rondo, and especially as the rumor mill started happening people were just assuming that it was all true so I did get phone calls as a result of those rumors. But none of those conversations had second conversations or third conversations. They were done.”

Ainge said the priority is to find a big man to relieve some of the minutes being logged by Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass now that Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O’Neal have been unavailable.

“I hope so. Not necessarily not by the end of the day today through trade, but we’ll have to get somebody eventually and we’ll see what goes on in the trades to see if any player of size come our way,” he said when asked about acquiring a big man. “It’s going to be really hard. I don’t see a way we’re going to replace Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O’Neal for anybody if they’re quality through a trade unless we give up something we really value, one of our starting players. That’s just not going to happen. So we’re going to have to find a way to get a good, serviceable big man.”

Ainge did buy into the theory that a deal at the trade deadline can often boost spirits of a contending team, but did add that he didn’t believe that was a necessarily avenue in regard to this group.

“I think our team has great chemistry and our team is maximizing it’s talent level,” he said. “I don’t think there’s necessarily change that’s needed other than we need to bolster our front line just to eat away KG and Brandon. They’re playing a ton of minutes.”

As for if the notion that the Celtics might shy away from dealing with Eastern Conference foes, Ainge said, “I would do a deal with any team if it helps us. … I’m not afraid of the competition.”

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