Danny Ainge is nothing if not a good magician. He just made a coach vanish into thin air and produced a future first round pick in his place. Last year he turned one mid-level exception and turned it into two (via the sign and trade for Courtney Lee). The guy is nothing if not creative. So why is it that he can't dream up something on a day when everyone is looking at him, expecting him to make a significant deal or two.
Yet if you listen to him (spin) he doesn't really see anything happening.
Ainge might be playing his cards close to the vest, but even after confirming the Celtics have been involved in some interesting discussions with other clubs, he isn’t expecting to make any big splashes tonight with a deal that could include some players already under contract. The Celts have until Sunday to decide whether to buy out the last year of Paul Pierce’s contract for $5 million or guarantee him some $15.3 million for next season, and it is known the captain has drawn interest around the league. But again, Ainge doesn’t anticipate fireworks from Celtics draft headquarters tonight. "I don’t see it," he said. "We’ve been working hard and been looking at all sorts of things over the last few weeks. We’re not close to anything like that yet, so I don’t know. I don’t sense that we will or that there’s a possibility."
This is The pledge, where the magician shows you a bird. There's no reason why that bird shouldn't keep on being a bird, sitting happily in its cage.
The draft might be The Turn, where the bird disappears. And then comes the Presige, where the bird either comes back or is replaced by something different.
You see, Ainge's comments are semantics at best and a flat out lie at worst. They were supposedly "not close" to trading Doc Rivers until Sunday. They are never "close" to doing anything until the teams are on the phone working out details.
If I had to guess, I'd bet that he's got at least 3 contingent deals lined up with a few more in his back pocket that he'd be ready to offer if certain things fell just right on draft night.
It could be a very quiet draft night. Don't get me wrong. Ainge has surprised us in the past with the status quo when everyone was expecting fireworks. That said, I'll believe it when I see it.
All signs point to them wanting to make a big move this offseason and the draft is typically the best time to do it. Moreover, that June 30 deadline on Pierce's contract is looming. At the very least, that decision has to be made. It doesn't mean that he is certain to stick around after that deadline, just that the waiving option is off the table by that time.
Again, I could see Garnett taking a longer period of time to work out. He would have to be consulted on any trades and he typically takes some time to mull things over before agreeing to them. On the other hand, it is possible that his agent has given Ainge a list of teams that he's perfectly willing to have management talk deals with. You never know.
So we sit and wait on the edge of our seats. It is like the end of a movie where we know that time is running out and something has to happen and we're not exactly sure which way things are going to go. Maybe the magician will be thwarted and his tricks will be revealed. Or perhaps when all looks lost, he'll pop up in the rafters of the stage and make a dramatic re-entrance onto the stage.
I'm not sure what's going to happen tonight, but I know that I'll be watching. Won't you join us?