There are many critics of Danny Ainge for his lack of loyalty but there aren’t many out there that truly understand the genius of Danny Ainge as a GM. Ainge has been said to be willing to trade his own grandmother if it were ultimately in the Celtics best interest. There are many ways to interpret that quality, but I for one don’t read any disloyalty in it, in fact I see the exact opposite. I see someone so committed to improving the Celtics franchise that he won’t he let his own personal bias stand in the way.
With rumors running rampant the C’s were "destined" to have a roster change, be it block buster or salary cap savings something was bound to happen. And indeed something did happen. Nothing. Draft picks, assets, cap space, roster space, they are each a piece of a bigger picture that Danny clearly values above the rest. Flexibility. Under the current CBA rules salary matching becomes a big problem, for teams over the cap but under the taxer payer’s line, due to their lack of unwanted expensive contracts, further making (and paying) a championship team increasingly difficult (see OKC thunder James Harden trade).
Take the 76’ers for example the largest contracts they have for the 2014/2015 season are Thaddeus Young, Jason Richardson, and Earl Clark (assuming they pick up his team option). Those 3 combined make just under 20mil and if they keep everyone on their current roster as well as their 2014 draft picks their total team payroll would be at roughly 35 million leaving almost 30 mil in cap space if the salary caps moves to 62 million next season. Even with all that cap space they are unlikely to land a marquee player such as a Lebron or Melo. With their pristine reputation as a "tanking" team they are honestly unlikely to land anything major in free agency so if they just sign a few roster fillers to get to the cap floor they’ll have about 15 million left in cap space and a 5 million mid-level exception.
A MCW, roster filler, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Noel lineup is a promising starting 5 also with a full mid-level they might even be able to get a solid 6th man and in 3 years or so they might be able to make a run at the eastern conference finals. However if one of their draft picks doesn't turn into great players or one of them has a career ending injury they have no trade assets. Remember Evan Turner was the #2 draft pick and an absolute stud in college ball. With no 1st round picks (2014 or 15 to the C’s and 2015 or 16 to Orlando) no contracts to match salaries all of the 76’ers eggs are in on basket. Building through the draft is their only hope. The only desirable players they would have are the players they drafted in order to build around making trading them counterproductive.
Bargain shopper, haggler, used car salesman, cheapskate, call him what you will but the truth is Danny Ainge is one heck of an opportunist. Ainge has positioned the Celtics to have a smorgasbord of trade assets and potential trade partners which is one of the reasons you hear Boston involved in so many trade rumors. Standing pat has allowed Ainge to be the master of the Celtics fate. By maintaining trade flexibility Ainge can effectively wait for an opportunity to present itself and then pounce. Danny can now sit back and just wait for a GM to panic and take advantage of the situation. No one knows what the situation will be not even Ainge.
Danny the gambler is indeed gambling but his money isn’t is on black or red (buying or selling) Ainge is wagering that sometime between now and 2015 free agency a rival GM will panic and either go into a buying frenzy (like Cleveland or the Wiz did this year ) or a hold a fire sale (like the 76’ers or the Hornets have done recently) and when that happens Ainge will be there fanning the flames or supplying the shovels.