Danny Ainge made his big splash this offseason. He's said all along that he was looking to build assets to make a trade for superstar type talent. Mission accomplished, right? Well, he has also said that he would never consider himself "finished" until the team won a Championship (if then). He will always look to improve, as he should. That's what good GMs do.
Ainge and Doc have repeatedly stated how much they like their team as it is. But Ainge has also repeatedly stated the fact that he's still looking. From today's Bulpett article:
"It’s the same as any deadline," Danny Ainge, the director of basketball operations, said yesterday. "We’re taking calls and seeing if there’s anything we can do to improve ourselves. But at the same time I don’t feel we need to do anything.""It’s the same as any deadline," Danny Ainge, the director of basketball operations, said yesterday. "We’re taking calls and seeing if there’s anything we can do to improve ourselves. But at the same time I don’t feel we need to do anything."
The conventional wisdom is that Ainge has no trade assets left and thus no chance to make a trade this deadline. The experts all seem to agree that the Celtics best chance to upgrade the roster would be if the Clippers waive Sam Cassell.
That may be true, but I can't help but wonder if Ainge will find a way to get in the action this week. Let's take a look back at Ainge's prior trade deadlines.
- 2004: Got a first round pick from the Pistons to help them trade for Rasheed Wallace.
- 2005: Traded for Antoine Walker
- 2006: Traded Ricky Davis and Mark Blount for Wally Szczerbiack
- 2007: No trades
So we know from last year that he can show restraint if the right deal isn't on the table. We know from his other deals that he isn't afraid to take chances. Likewise, he isn't afraid to cut his losses and move on from past mistakes. Perhaps the most interesting one, however, is the deal he made in 2004.
He helped facilitate a trade to make a rival team stronger. That's the bad news. The good news is that he knew the Pistons were going to find a way to make that deal happen with or without him, and he found a way to get a first round pick out of it for essentially nothing. (The pick later turned into either Tony Allen or Delonte West, I can't remember which)
Another interesting point is that Ainge has found ways in the past to work with loopholes in the system. The league frowned upon Stackhouse's comments about coming back after 30 days. Anyone remember why that rule is in place? Because Ainge traded Gary Payton for Antoine Walker and Gary Payton became a "free agent" (wink wink) and resigned with the Celtics. The next year, the 30 day rule was in place.
I'm not sure what Ainge will do this year, if anything. But nothing would really surprise me. Aaron McKie and Kieth Van Horn have been traded this year. Anyone think Ainge wouldn't trade Roshown McLeod, Dana Barros, or Grant Long if he found the right deal? If memory serves me right, the team still has a trade exception tied to the Delonte West trade to use if the opportunity presents itself. The point is, you can't rule Danny Ainge out of the action this deadline.
I have a hunch that there will be plenty of action in the final hours. I know the big, headline grabbing trades have already gone down. But that only means more teams are no longer waiting for the other shoes to drop. They are watching their plan A's and plan B's go up in smoke (just ask LeBron) and they might be more willing than ever to make a deal at the deadline.
Should the Celtics make a trade? If it improves the team, absolutely. Is chemistry a concern? Sure, but winning makes for great chemistry. If Ainge stays on the sidelines past the deadline, he still has the option of picking up any pieces that are cut loose after the fact.
Regardless, it is always fun watching the action on and around the deadline. So feel free to share your best trade ideas here and in the forums. And please keep us up to date if you hear any good rumors (just remember to give us a link and label it as "rumor" until it is reported by a major news outlet - this avoids confusion).
It is a nice feeling knowing that we don't really need to make a deal. Still, you can't blame Ainge for looking under every rock.