Ainge: A deal was done… until the other team backed out | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Ainge: A deal was done… until the other team backed out


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.

You can go here to listen to more from Danny Ainge on Toucher and Rich.

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  • Bill Wilson

    Both teams have to be willing to dance.

    And Danny and his legions of admirers have to acknowledge that the time to convert all these alleged “assets” into winning basketball contributors is narrowing.

    The Celtics cannot remain in asset hoarding mode forever. Drafting eight guards this summer accomplishes absolutely nothing for the long-term improvement of this franchise.

    • Jake Gruber

      Not only that, but other teams know that now. So now when they are making trades with Boston, they know the Celtics need to trade some of those picks and will thus up their asking prices. It’s very concerning.

      • Bill Wilson

        For the life of me, I have no idea what the Celtics fans who glory in this accumulation and hoarding of draft picks are thinking. Save the Nets picks, they’ve proven worthless – deadline and deadline again.

        • KGino

          Relax you two. Of all the “rebuilding” teams u wouldn’t trade our position for any… Would you? loads of draft picks, cap space for two max contracts, best new coach in the league, and a few budding all stars in IT and crowder. I think ainge has done an incredible job, im not sure how people see it another way. Moves WILL be made this summer, you can count on it. We are not drafting 8 guys don’t worry

          • Bill Wilson

            Ainge hasn’t done an “incredible job” yet, because he has been unable in large part to convert those assets into on-court actual playing assets. When he does – and if he does – then he can have the accolades. He is a mediocre drafter, as the ghosts of Fab Melo, JR Giddens, et al. make abundantly clear, and an adept trader. He needs to spend less time on the former and more on the latter.

          • Curt Hays

            “Incredible” is relative. Tell me who has been better, adjusted for lottery luck. Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Marcus Smart, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Isaiah Thomas, etc. Ainge gets credit for those guys.

            Nobody is going to draft a hall of famer every year. That’s what makes it an exclusive club. Now that Ainge has a winning coach, things will start to look better.

          • Bill Wilson

            Olynyk, Sullinger and Smart are not championship basketball players. Yet. All three won’t be here when the next banner is won.

            The Celtics are about championships. They aren’t about perpetual rebuilding.

            And every HOFer isn’t going to draft James Young, Fab Melo, JR Giddens, Marcus Banks, JJ Johnson – and that doesn’t take into account the draft of summer 2015.

          • Curt Hays

            You’re not fooling anyone, Herman. We know who you are.

            You really think that your 20/20 hindsight means that Danny Ainge hasn’t been better than other GMs? San Antonio has been the best, but that’s MOSTLY because of Pop. Now Danny has the Pop of the next generation.

          • Bill Wilson

            Trading wise, Ainge has done a fine job.

            He is an ordinary drafter prone to obsessions with busts, and his draft record is replete with major mistakes, James Young being the latest.

          • Curt Hays

            You’re going to mention James Young but not Marcus Smart? He could’ve picked Elfrid Payton, Doug McDermott, Julius Randle, or Zach LaVine, but he chose Smart. Instead you want to talk about Young. At the 17th pick, he could’ve chosen Gary Harris, Shabazz Napier, Clint Capela, or P.J. Hairston. Those guys were more NBA ready. Young was better in college. Did anyone expect any of those guys to be better than Young. No. In retrospect, Ainge made a bad decision. Not significantly worse than anyone else.

            But, hey, if you need something to complain about, I’ll just let you complain.

          • Bill Wilson

            Julius Randle would have been a better pick.

            Yawn. Ainge fan-boys bore me, as does the myth that he is some sort of draft savant. He isn’t. His draft record is mediocre, and it has retarded the development of the rebuild on the floor. But sure, let’s accumulate more draft choices and watch Ainge squander half of them.

          • Curt Hays

            The Lakers would be a better pick for you. You come on here and troll around. Idk what your point is. Go be irrational somewhere else.

          • KGino

            Ainge hasn’t done anything with his assets to convert them to on-court assets? HUH??? Do you even watch this team?

            Trading rondo for a pick & Crowder… Getting IT for peanuts… You’re right, he hasn’t done much with his assets… HE’S BEEN BUILDING a 3 SEED WITHOUT USING HARDLY ANY OF THEM!!

            Oh, his draft record isn’t perfect? Show me someone who’s is. Remember CLE taking Anthony Bennett #1? Ainge is missing on what, 50% of the guys he’s drafted 17th or later? RJ Hunter and Mickey look like excellent late rounders to me. But let’s talk about James young and Fab Melo (we needed a Center at that time BADLY, i would have taken melo too).

            Trading wise, he has been great. In terms of building a positive/coherent/capable of winning culture for the team, he has been excellent.

            Everyone knew this rebuild would take about 5 years, it’s only year 3 and we’re a god damn 3 seed, not to mention we’ve gotten there using hardly any of our major assets. You guys are complaining we have TOO MANY ASSETS, think about that for a second.

            I have an idea, lets trade Ainge for James Dolan. He can put a guy like Isiah Thomas in charge of the team, and when that doesn’t work he can hire D’Antoni, the most winning coach in NBA history. And when that doesn’t work out, he can hire a coach that sleeps with his team’s player’s wives. He can make major trades for Andrea Bargnani. We could have had two first round draft picks since 2012. Life would be so much better with a different GM!!

            We aren’t “Ainge fan boys”. We are Celtic fan boys who can see this team is heading in the right direction and is a few steps away from competing for those championships you covet so much. And for that reason, we can say Ainge has done a great job.

            He got us Brad Stevens. That in itself is incredible. Literally you could have asked me to pick my dream coach at that time, and that’s who I would have picked. Still baffles me to this day.

          • Curt Hays

            Miles Plumlee was drafter later than Fab Melo, and he is really good…wait…well he’s tall. Look at all the Centers drafted after Fab Melo–and somehow Danny wasted his pick. Remember, he picked Jared Sullinger with the pick immediately preceding Melo.

            To be fair, Jae Crowder and Draymond Green were both available when Danny picked Fab Melo. Neither was expected to succeed as well as Melo…except maybe Bill/Herman saw it ahead of time.

            Also, Crowder was immediately traded, by Cleveland, to Dallas. Seems like Cleveland screwed up again.

            To be objective and not be a fan-boy: (Melo was picked using the 1st-round pick that Danny got for trading Perk and Nate. Just a reminder how BAD that situation was.)

            Danny is better than others. And he didn’t bankrupt us to do it.

          • bob

            Anyone following Melo? He is still only 25, has been woorking on his game and wants to return to the NBA! I wish Boston would stick him in Maine. (or Robert Upshaw)

          • Thank you for shutting down the troll on these boards. I’m not sure what people expect. It’s foolish to give up trade bait for all stars that won’t take us over the top. This is Boston. We don’t consider ECF appearances victories for our club. If we are to make deals, we will do so for legitimate pieces. Trading for Al Horford would be like trading for Carlos Boozer in his prime: nice player, but won’t bring you the big prize.

            As for the draft, what do the haters expect? Smart has been terrific. His jump shot is up and down for sure, but his defense and overall tenacity lifts the team on a regular basis. If he sorts out his shooting, he’s a legitimate all star caliber player. Even without his shooting, he can be a defensive, intangibles style player a la Tony Allen.

            The problem facing this team is that we need the centerpiece player, because we currently have the core team that would complement whoever that player may be. However, in order to get a player like that, we will have to trade pieces that could change the complexion of our team, which could negate the benefit of picking up that superstar player in the first place. So, Ainge has the tricky task of finding a player that could thrive in this environment without changing the environment itself. However, it is difficult to pick up Kevin Durant with a couple of draft picks. You might get Al Horford, but he’s not enough to win a championship. At the same time, waiting for the draft won’t necessarily be the solution either. It would be an easier predicament if we were terrible, but we have an excellent coach and a solid team in a weak conference. In this league, you either go straight from the bottom to the top or you flounder in the middle with average to above average teams. Ainge has to find a way to navigate from the center to the top.

          • Vivek Vikram

            Basically the troll wants Ainge to make irrational decisions impulsive and dump his assets like rest of the league. he is frustrated ainge aint stupid. now celtics front office is frustrating the league.

          • Derek Bruno

            3rd in the east with tons of cap space and draft picks. I’d say Ainge is doing a fine job. Kick rocks.

          • Vivek Vikram

            good part is be 3rd in the eastern conference and still may have a lottery pick.

          • Curt Hays

            I’m afraid that, after the loss of Kelly’s shot, we won’t have home court advantage.

          • swissflix

            Better than Marcus Smart? You just lost all of your credibility. Smart is a game changer and a reason we have been winning games for a year now. Our top 3 defense would not exist if he was not there. Randle meanwhile has ok stats with a bad shooting percentage for a big guy on a losing team.

          • Curt Hays

            We could be wrong. @disqus_slP8MBBsJg:disqus could be right in a few years. Randle could develop into a dominant big (in a league that is getting smaller every year).

            Here’s Marcus Smart vs Julius Randle. Not. even. close.


          • Eisenhorn1976

            Okay… just to make it clear before @Bill Wilson decides that the counting stats make Randle look better: the most important stats on that page are the advanced stats.

            It’s why I said Randle has been mediocre: VORP of -0.8, just 0.7 Win Shares and BPM of -4.2. I don’t know why we have Lakers fans commenting on Reds Army. We don’t go out of our way to troll them on their boards, right? They’re always the ones who start with the Jordan Clarkson vs. Marcus Smart flame wars…

          • Eisenhorn1976

            Sorry, Julius Randle has been a mediocre pick so far. Try again.

          • bob

            How do you know how well Kelly, Sully and Smart will develop? If they are not in Green when the next banner is raised, they will certainly be part of trades that improve the Celtics. Young 17th pick, JJ Johnson 27th pick, Banks 13th pick, Giddens 30th pick and Melo 22nd pick. Not exactly the top of the draft order. Banks, Melo and Young had fans all excited. (not just Ainge) After the first dozen picks or less in the draft it is like a coin toss or a wild guess as to who will adapt the best to the NBA. The Celtics have improved greatly since Pierce, Terry and Garnett stopped winning games.

          • bob

            Fab Melo self-imploded. When he was setting records in the developmental league Ainge was considered a genius. Ainge is not Physic. Fab Melo was a great pick at the time. I do think there are some gems in the Developmental league that Ainge should be looking at as well.

  • Curt Hays

    Danny…phrasing. It sounds like he’s a girl describing an encounter with a guy at the bar.

    • Eisenhorn1976

      Haha. Danny’s been eating way too much Chipotle.

      (Okay, in case anyone is missing the reference, someone mentioned — I don’t recall if it was Simmons or another writer or blogger — after that Zach Lowe article came out that Danny’s dietary habits are like a teenage girl’s)

  • RedsLoveChild

    Did Doc Rivers really acquire Jeff Green—on trade deadline day—AGAIN?!?

    Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it….R.I.P. LAC

    • Curt Hays

      Memphis got a 1st rounder out of it. They must be happy. Doc was probably just sick of Lance. I don’t think it makes LAC worse…just sorta, worse in the future. But Jeff might actually win 1 game for them in the playoffs.

      • stephen

        He has some good games every now and then, when he gets going he is a beast and i dont understand how this guy isnt a top 5 player. He could, and should be so much better.

        • Curt Hays

          It makes one wonder how Scottie Brooks sleeps at night. Durant, Ibaka, Westbrook, Green, and Harden, but no rings.

          • stephen

            Its crazy, but he isnt a very good coach. His lineups for one never made much since. But the first couple of years jeff greens potential was just as high if not higher than durants

    • FantaXP7

      That was my first thought…But

      1. Better than Lance even if slightly
      2. At a 4-5th option for scoring…he’ll be acceptable.
      3. Much less of a knuckle head

      Not a terrible move as they were fed up with Lance.

      And how lucky is Green to be on all these good teams…

      • Eisenhorn1976

        The problem is that those good teams inevitably stumble after acquiring Green…

  • Astarot

    The most intriguing and worrying part is a “big package” part. Sure it depends on who that player was. But well if it was Howard, Horford, Gasol, or even Cousins or Hayward then “big package” is something I don’t want to hear. It may be just a phrase he used (probably is) to make himself look better. Deal most likely wasn’t that close as Ainge want us to believe. If there was really a deal on a table I hope Nets pick wasn’t in discussion. Real test for Ainge and his ability to use those assets comes on Draft night and in the offseason (which I’m most worried about).

  • Eisenhorn1976

    I wonder if it was Horford… allegedly, the Celtics were balking at paying a premium. Maybe the Hawks eventually came around to just David Lee and a couple of late 1st’s then decided against it. I guess we’ll only know someday.

    I still don’t think Horford is a good idea because of his age and injury history. Maybe the C’s will sign him in the offseason (directly or via S+T) and he’ll prove me wrong and we’ll be hoisting Banner 18 before he turns 33 — but I’m thinking there’s an equally good chance that we’ll be hearing the phrase “Al Horford’s corpse” in a few years to denote a dead contract. We’ll see.

  • BigHog

    Jahlil Okafor.