|Can Danny Ainge lure free agents to Boston this summer? ‘We will be attractive to some’||05.04.16 at 3:47 pm ET|
WALTHAM — With the cap flexibility and the possibility of names like Kevin Durant and Al Horford on the free agent market this summer, there’s one question at the top of everyone’s mind: Can Danny Ainge make Boston and the Celtics attractive to free agents next season?
“I think our team is attractive to some,” Ainge said. “I think Boston and the tradition and the Celtics and their winning ways and our fan base and ownership group and sort of the chemistry that we have as an organization between coach, management, and ownership, I think that we’re an attractive place for free agents.”
Ainge is not permitted to talk about any free agents at all, not even potentially his own as they apply to next season, including Tyler Zeller, Evan Turner and Jared Sullinger.
What Ainge did make clear was that he believes with the coaching staff in place — led by wunderkind Brad Stevens — and the winning chemistry of a team that won 48 games a year ago, there is a lot to be drawn to in Boston.
“But, ultimately, free agents want to come to a place where they can win,” Ainge said. “Where they get paid. Where they get an opportunity to play their game. There’s many factors. And some places people want to be closer to the sun, closer to equator, and I think that there’s just a lot of factors. But I do think that we are and we will be attractive to some free agents.”
|Danny Ainge sending Isaiah Thomas to NYC to bring Celtics lottery luck: ‘He’s our leprechaun’||at 2:19 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics are going in a different direction to change their lottery luck.
Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations, confirmed the big news after draft workouts Wednesday that they’re not sending one of the legends like Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn or Jo Jo White to New York City for the May 17 draft lottery.
Instead, they’re sending a current star who seems perfectly suited to fitting the bill of bringing good luck: Isaiah Thomas.
“Sure. Yeah. He’s our leprechaun,” Ainge joked Wednesday.
Ainge said it was actually a decision made after consultation with owners Wyc Grousbeck and Stephen Pagliuca and team president Rich Gotham.
“Wyc and Rich and I collectively, and Pags, we talked about it and thought it would be a great idea,” Ainge said. “And Isaiah when he was told, it was like his eyes lit up. He loves that stuff.”
Ainge was asked to respond to those who argue that Thomas is not a foundational piece of the Celtics and key to their team moving forward.
“Have they been to any games?” Ainge replied.
|Danny Ainge could be very busy this summer building: ‘We have a lot more things to trade, a lot more things to move’||at 1:40 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The comparisons have already begun with the Celtics this offseason.
Many Celtics fans are hoping for the kind of reset that the franchise underwent in the summer of ’07, when Ainge was able to trade for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and put together a team with just enough youth, veteran talent and depth that resulted in Banner 17 the following June.
With Brooklyn’s lottery pick on the horizon as one of three first-round picks and eight overall in the draft and the prospects of a Kevin Durant in free agency, the potential is there.
Does Ainge see any similarity with summer of ’07?
“I’m not sure we have a Paul Pierce on our roster,” Ainge said. “But I do think we have a lot more things to trade, a lot more things to move.”
This, of course, brings up the next point, is anyone on the current roster untouchable?
“Nobody’s ever untouchable. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gets traded, you know there’s no such thing as an untouchable in the NBA, or in any league for that matter,” Ainge added. “There’s certain guys that we want to keep and build around and move forward with.”
Ainge acknowledged there are certain players he’d like to keep, a not-so-thinly veiled reference to Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
Ainge said he doesn’t have a good feel for the pending salary cap (estimated at $89 million next season and $109 the next) and how that might alter trade market.
“I don’t know that. I don’t know. This is new territory for all of us,” Ainge said. “We can all make our predictions but really, I’m not sure. Every team is in a unique situation and a different situation. We’ll be making lots of calls, trying to make trades. Listen, the transcendent players, the good players that you all need to win and to be successful in the NBA, they’re very hard to find and there’s not that many of them. And there’s 30 very qualified teams out there trying to find them all.”
|Celtics hope Kelly Olynyk can ‘up his activity’ next week||03.02.16 at 9:17 pm ET|
The waiting game continues for Kelly Olynyk and the Celtics.
The 7-foot stretch forward/center who injured his right shoulder in the final game before the All-Star break against the Clippers is still in a holding pattern, as is the team, something coach Brad Stevens indicated before Wednesday’s game against the Blazers.
“Last that I’ve heard is we’ll be re-visiting that on Monday with a chance that he’ll up his activity Monday, whatever that means,” Stevens said.
Immediately after the trade deadline on Feb. 18, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge indicated that tests on Olynyk’s shoulder revealed no serious damage and no need for surgery.
He suggested Olynyk, diagnosed with a bruised shoulder, would be out a minimum of two weeks.
With Olynyk, who traveled with the team on their 3-game road swing, not returning to basketball activities yet, that estimate appears to be overly optimistic.
The timing was very unfortunate for Olynyk and the Celtics. Before injuring the shoulder in the first half of the Feb. 10 game at the Garden, Olynyk had become a key part of the Celtics offense, pulling the opposing big out from the post with his 3-point shooting. Olynyk was leading the C’s in 3-point field goal percentage, hitting 41.3 percent of his attempts.
But the flip side of that, of course, is that it forced the Celtics to find other options in their offense, something they’ve done well since returning home from the 1-2 trip through Utah, Denver and Minnesota.
|Celtics officially waive David Lee||02.19.16 at 5:48 pm ET|
The David Lee era is over in Boston.
The team announced Friday that they have waived the 32-year-old forward/center.
“We thank David for his contributions to our organization and wish him nothing but the best in the future,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Ainge indicated Thursday afternoon that he would sit down and talk about Lee’s future within the next two days and Friday’s transaction would indicate that the two sides were able to reach an amicable buyout agreement. Ainge indicated at the time that Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will sideline him for at least two weeks, would not impact Lee’s future in Boston, leading to the assumption that Lee’s days were done in Boston.
The Celtics did not release details of the buyout of the final year of his six-year, $79.5 million contract. Lee was due to be paid $15.49 million this season. If he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and can sign with any team.
Lee has appeared in 30 contests for the Celtics during the 2015-16 season and averaged 7.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 15.7 minutes per game over that span. Lee sat the bench the last 18 games with the Celtics and hadn’t played since Jan. 10 at Memphis. Lee recorded a season-high 14 points, to go along with one rebound and one assist, in 15 minutes on Nov. 18 against the Mavericks.
The 6-foot-9 big man was originally acquired by the Celtics last July 27 in a trade from Golden State for Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb. Lee has career averages of 14.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 725 regular season games.
While the NBA trade deadline amounted to just a lot of hot air for the Celtics, Danny Ainge says he nearly pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal.
The Celtics‘ president of basketball operations said Friday on WEEI’s OM&F that he was ready to execute a big deal for a superstar but that the other team got cold feet at the last moment.
Ainge said there was a lot of discussion about their possession of Brooklyn’s likely lottery pick this June and said he and his staff made a significant offer for a big-name player from an undisclosed team.
“We were close to pulling off what I would classify a big deal,” Ainge said. “But it just didn’t happen. You’ve got to have two [teams] that want to do it. These deals are tough. They’re not easy. It was not a no-brainer for us. A lot of deliberation went on over the last couple of days and we felt it something we should do. But ultimately, the other team we were dealing with just did not want to do it, and I certainly understand why. It’s a tough call.”
Ainge said there was enough productive talks that occurred that could lead to something bigger this summer.
“I think that sometimes these can set the table if there are future conversations off ones that happen in this trade deadline,” Ainge said. “That does happen often. So much of it is going to depend on how good teams play down the stretch. Doing deals at trade deadline are tough. Most of the trade-deadline deals are book-keeping deals, cleaning house, sometimes with a player that doesn’t get along with a coach or team, or they’re preparing for summer, getting draft picks if your team isn’t going so well because of injuries or other things, not living up to expectations, but those are the kind of deals that are done mostly at trade deadline.
“I don’t think it’s a shock or coincidence that no blockbuster deals were done at trade deadline because you have only a third of the season left and it’s really even tough to maximize this last 27-game stretch we have with a new player and trying to implement those type of things and you’re taking one year away. That’s why more of the bigger deals are done in the offseason.”
The Celtics are 32-23 and in third place in the East behind the Cavaliers and Raptors. Ainge said he would’ve like to have added a piece to help the current roster but not at the asking price that was being demanded by several teams.
“There were no really close situations in taking on rentals, no,” Ainge added. “We weren’t selling any of our future assets. A rental for a small price is something that we would have considered. But certainly not a rental for the demanded price. Absolutely not, not even a thought or a close consideration.”
As for his purported adoration for Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Ainge said he laughs at many of the rumors that floated over the last two weeks.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there and flat out false rumors and interest in certain players,” Ainge said. “I don’t know where the media has their sources because I believe sometimes it’s just completely made up. Kevin is a good player. There’s no question about it. He’s an All-Star. He’s a very good player on a very good team right now.”
Ainge would not mention the names Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard or Al Horford and insists that they were never really on the team’s radar at the Thursday’s deadline. To hear the entire interview on OM&F, click here.
|Danny Ainge will sit down with David Lee ‘in next 24-48 hours’||02.18.16 at 7:23 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday in the post-deadline conference call that he plans to discuss the options for both Lee and the team after Ainge was unable to execute a deal to send Lee and his $15.49 million contract out of town.
“We’ll sit down with David and his representatives and have some conversation about what’s best for us and what’s best for David in the next 24-48 hours,” Ainge said.
Lee, who hasn’t left the bench for any action in the last 18 games, is represented by Mark Bartelstein. Since the Celtics weren’t able to trade him, Lee is an eligible candidate to be bought out. Lee is averaging a career-low 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games this season.
The game before the All-Star break, forward Kelly Olynyk injured his right shoulder. That injury would appear — on the surface — to possibly have changed Ainge’s thinking on Lee. But Ainge made it clear Thursday that’s not the case at all.
“I’m not sure that Kelly’s injury has much to do with that,” Ainge said, adding to the likelihood that Ainge will make every effort to pursue a buyout and cut Lee free and let him hook on with a playoff-bound team that might be willing to pick up a 32-year-old power forward.
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