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Danny Ainge asked for Isaiah Thomas to help recruit free agents

Hint: Isaiah Thomas is childhood friends with Kevin Love.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Danny Ainge told Isaiah Thomas that he wants his feedback on the upcoming free agent class and that he could be a "valuable recruiter," Thomas recently told the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach:

Isaiah Thomas wants to help Celtics recruit free agents
"Danny said if there’s any free agent out there I’m interested in, to let him know," Thomas said by telephone. "That has me excited. For him to ask for my input means a lot, because it means I’m definitely, right now, a part of the future, and they also value your word and what you think about the game of basketball. It means a lot, and it’s a mutual respect we have. Now, hopefully, we can get a few guys."

At the risk of reading between the lines too much, let's just remember one key thing: Isaiah Thomas and Kevin Love have been friends since childhood when they met playing basketball in the Portland AAU circuit, and Love of course is an upcoming free agent if he doesn't pick up his player option. Thomas and Love were so close that they'd sleep over each other's house and Thomas said in a 2013 tweet that he used to "lower the hoop outside so I could dunk."

Thomas went on to cite the positive culture and historic past of the Celtics as important factors for free agents. Love certainly cares about his legacy, which will certainly be a key in his decision this summer. If you'd like to read more about the relationship between Love and Thomas, click here.

Either way, it sounds like Ainge filled Thomas in on what the potential plans could be this summer: find success on draft night and then hit it big in free agency.

Thomas also told Himmelsbach that finding a defensive-minded player could help the team out.

Isaiah Thomas wants to help Celtics recruit free agents
Thomas did not name specific players on his wish list during an interview with the Globe, but he said a rim-protecting big man would be at the top of it.

"A defensive-minded player," he said. "It'd be nice to get one of those in the draft. A lot of the big men out there could definitely help us out. But I know Danny is always up to something."

It's interesting that Thomas would go out of his way to mention that finding a rim protector in the draft would be nice. Either he doesn't know anything about the class or Ainge told him that's where he plans to find his rim protector.

Of course, there is only one rim protector that is ready to help an NBA team: Willie Cauley-Stein. (Robert Upshaw comes with serious risks, and the other options don't move the needle as rookies.) WCS, of course, is the rim protector the Celtics should be looking for, as previously covered last month. His ability to switch on all pick-and-rolls while protecting the rim with weakside help makes him one of the most unique athletes to enter the NBA in years.

It's risky to read between the lines, but sometimes that's how you discover the underlying message. If I was willing to make a bet, I'd say that the Boston Celtics will try to trade up into the lottery on draft night using Kelly Olynyk and picks to select Willie Cauley-Stein. Then they'll make a hard run at Kevin Love in free agency using Thomas' relationship and his legacy potential Celtics legacy as the two leading selling points.

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