There is some consternation on the part of some Celtics fans who have chosen to wag a finger at Danny Ainge and tisk tisk him over a lack of action at the trade deadline.
However, Ainge paints a much different picture than that of the General Manager who punted on 4th and an inch rather than grow a pair and go for it. According to Ainge today on Toucher and Rich, the Celtics did, in fact, have a deal that was done… except…
“I can’t tell you the team or the name but it was very close. It was something we had been deliberating two days straight. The other team was doing that. We were wrapping ourselves around a big package to do a deal and at the very last-minute they just said they did not want to do it. They just backed out. It was talked about, thought about, and that was probably the closest that we came.”
It’s hard to say who that team was or what the offer might have been, but considering how the rumors played out, I’m going to make a guess that it was Atlanta and Al Horford. However, it could have been Chicago with Pau Gasol, Houston with Dwight Howard, or some unknown team that may someday be revealed in a Woj-bomb on Twitter.
Whatever the case, Ainge did leave this little tidbit out there…
“A lot of the discussions we had can set the path for something down the road”
The fact is the NBA is full of constant discussions between front offices about players. One failed trade deadline might result in a successful draft night or July deal. It’s all about building relationships and having some level of trust between the teams. If you really want some great insight, listen to this front office roundtable on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. It’s a great look behind the curtain about how front offices really operate.
Maybe Ainge is trying to save face. Maybe he’s spinning something a bit to make the fans feel better about his efforts. I think it’s clear the Celtics were active and trying to make a move, and ultimately, there was nothing palatable for both sides. That’s how it goes with trades. Both teams have to be willing to dance.