This year's draft is widely seen as a pretty weak one compared to some of the better drafts. However, the draft still presents the best opportunity for teams to pick up cheap, quality talent that can grow into franchise changing players.
The Celtics have the 16th pick and haven't drafted this high since the Kevin Garnett trade. It is possible that Ainge is looking to up the ante even more and get himself into the lottery.
Apparently based on who the Boston Celtics have interviewed at the 2013 NBA Draft combine – a list that includes projected top-10 picks Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, plus other possible lottery picks Mason Plumlee and Kelly Olynyk – Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix suggested Thursday that the Celtics could be looking to move up.
An aside on Boston. C's met with Victor Oladipo, who will likely be gone in top-ten. Met with Kelly Olynyk, too. Could be looking to move up— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 17, 2013
How he would go about doing that is an interesting question. We certainly have some trade chips outside of Pierce and Garnett, but aside from Bradley or Sullinger, I don't any of them would net us a lottery pick in return by themselves. Still, if someone wanted a shot at kick-starting Courtney Lee's career, it might be worth it if they are simply swapping picks. Moving from say the mid lottery down to 16 isn't a huge drop and if the team isn't that impressed with anyone on the board, they wouldn't mind moving back.
Of course, Ainge could be simply doing his due diligence in looking at all the options available. But as Jay King points out, teams are only allotted 18 interviews and it would be foolish to waste time on too many guys that don't have a chance of falling out of the lottery. So we'll see.
Update: Here are some quotes from Ainge on this subject.
“We’re always having discussions about moving up and moving down and moving out,” said Ainge. “That’s just like every other year. But I don’t know what the chances are of that happening.” He feels confident the Celts will have choices to make regarding deals involving picks. “Sure, I think I will have chances,” Ainge said.