This is a couple of days old now, but the comments are worth discussing (even if they aren't exactly a revelation).
Ainge said flat out that the Celtics aren't a contending team "right now."
"Our offense has been under par," Ainge said. "We are turning the ball over too much and we're making a pretty good percentage of our shots, but the turnovers have really hurt is this year, again. We've shown signs of playing very good basketball against very good teams periodically, but not consistently. Our team, as it is right now, is not a team that we feel like is a contending team the way we're playing. And they have to step it up, and this road trip will be a very good test for us."
Of course he goes on to say that he and Doc and the players all love the team and believe in the team. But it sure sounds like he's challenging his team with the coming road trip much like he challenged the team a few weeks back after their early season struggles. You don't have to read between the lines too much to see the subtle threat here. If the team can't turn things around soon, Danny will pick up the phone and put out the For Sale sign.
Ainge said that he's fielded less calls this years from teams seeking trades, which he said was a result of teams waiting to see where they stand. The trade deadline is March 15 and players who were signed in the offseason can't be traded until March 1. Ainge said that he has explored both long-term and short-term possibilities.
Long term trade possibilities would almost have to involve a member of the Big 4, so without coming out and saying it, he's kind of admitting to talking to teams about those guys. Which should surprise exactly no one since he's said on many occasions that nobody on the roster is untouchable.
I still doubt that we can get enough in return for our stars to justify blowing it up, but I guess we'll see what the market offers up.