While Danny Ainge told reporters in Mattapan that “free agency right now is not a priority for us,” the Celtics president of basketball operations inquired about free agent Lakers center Dwight Howard .
Ainge reportedly put a call in to gauge Howard’s interest in a sign-and-trade involving the C’s bitter rivals, but Howard’s representatives said, “No,” according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn .
During a press conference introducing 7-foot rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, Ainge announced he is more interested in “cleaning up” the roster than lobbying a list of free agents that includes Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans  and Monta Ellis .
Still, Ainge reiterated his stance on Rajon Rondo : The three-time All-Star point guard is a centerpiece worth building around, and the Celtics aren’t actively seeking a trade for him. That’s not to say they won’t pick up the phone when other teams inquire about Rondo, Brandon Bass , Jeff Green , Courtney Lee , Jared Sullinger and everybody else, including Olynyk — just as Howard’s agents answered Ainge’s call.
“Maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players,” Ainge told reporters from the Boston Center for Youth & Families Mildred Avenue Community Center. “There has been calls for all those guys, and maybe the assumption is we’re just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”
Considering the departure of coach Doc Rivers  and the pending trade of Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett  and Jason Terry  to the Nets  on July 12, the Celtics appear to be sinking deeper and deeper toward the 2014 NBA draft lottery, but Ainge assured Washburn , “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics .”