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Ainge on Big Show: ‘I didn’t want to move’ Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett

Celtics [1] president of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn’€™t want to trade Paul Pierce [2] or Kevin Garnett [3] at the NBA trade deadline — not for pennies on the dollar, he told the Big Show.

‘€œWe really like those guys,’€ said Ainge on Friday evening. ‘€œI like Kevin and I like Paul a lot, and I didn’t want to move them.’€

Ainge wouldn’€™t discuss how close he ever came to trading Garnett to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan — other than to say, ‘€œI never talked to Kevin’€ — or dealing Pierce to the Nets [4] for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a pick.

“You don’t just give them away,’€ he said. ‘€œThere is great value in those guys.’€

So, Ainge apparently wasn’€™t offered a deal that matched the value he places on either Garnett or Pierce, so he never had the opportunity that Red Auerbach [5] had. For some background, here’€™s what Ainge told The Boston Globe [6] two years ago (h/t @trubygreen [7]):

“First of all, it’s a different era. I sat with Red during a Christmas party (in the 1990s). Red was talking to Larry [Bird], Kevin [McHale] and myself and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time, and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red, what are you doing? Why are you waiting?

“He had a chance to trade Larry for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and [Steve] Stipanovich and he had a chance to trade Kevin for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’ I mean, I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kind of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal.”

On Friday, Ainge told the Big Show that deals like those weren’€™t on the table for Garnett or Pierce this season.

“What I said is that I would’ve done those deals,’€ said Ainge. ‘€œThat’s all I’ve said, and I hold true to that. Those deals don’t exist, so there’s a big, big difference between what you’re trying to have me said and what I did say. ‘€¦

‘€œKevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are playing much better at that stage of their careers than Kevin and Larry were at the same stage, so KG and Paul have been way, way more durable than Kevin and Larry ever were.”

Pushed on the circus that surrounded Garnett in recent weeks, Ainge added, ‘€œHe’s very loyal. Right now, he bleeds green, and he has a huge, huge impact on the development of our young players.”

As for the deadline deal Ainge did make — trading the injured Leandro Barbosa [8] and Jason Collins [9] for Jordan Crawford — the C’€™s president said, ‘€œWe are looking to replace Barbosa’s scoring punch off the bench.’€

To listen to the complete interview, check out the Big Show’€™s audio page here [10].