Boston Celtics president of basketball operations estimated there was a “50-50” chance his team makes a trade before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline, but stressed it was most likely to be something small to add depth to the front line, which has been decimated by injuries.
“I think it’s 50-50, but it may be a small deal,” he said in an interview Thursday morning on Boston sports radio station WEEI. "It may be not as exciting as people may expect. But we’re working hard, we’ll work hard the rest of the day until 3’oclock.”
Ainge stressed he’s happy with the makeup of the Celtics, who have gone 8-2 since the All-Star break, and reiterated his stance that he’d be satisfied with his team going forward even if he was unable to make an addition.
“I have no desire to move anybody on our team,” Ainge said. "It’s just I have to look and so far I have nothing. We don’t have anything that we’re really excited about right now. If somebody steps up and ups their offers today who knows what might happen by the trade deadline. But I am prepared and comfortable with letting the season play out. If somebody wants to throw in first-round draft picks or give quality young players, that’s something we have to consider.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after Wednesday night’s victory over the Golden State Warriors that he fully expects his team to be fully intact when the deadline comes and goes. He of course would like to see the Celtics add a big man, but not if it comes at too high a price.
"The one thing I said in [my] last conversation [Ainge] was that, at the end of the day, I like our team," said Rivers. "Obviously we need a big, but let's not do anything that hurts this team this year or the future to try to get a big. I just don't think we should do that."
With center Chris Wilcox out for the season (heart surgery) and the future of big man Jermaine O’Neal (contemplating wrist surgery) up in the air, the Celtics have had to rely on Kevin Garnett playing out of position at the center spot, with Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma also seeing time there as well.
Ainge has been pleased with Garnett’s performance but acknowledged the team will need to be conscious about wear and tear on the 35-year-old with the increased load.
“I think our team has great chemistry and our team, is maximizing its talent level,” Ainge said. “I don’t think that there’s necessarily a change that’s needed, other than we need to bolster up our front line just to eat away minutes. KG and Brandon are eating up a ton of minutes.”
Ainge also address the omnipresent rumors about potentially dealing point guard Rajon Rondo. He reiterated that Rondo wasn’t going anywhere before Thursday’s deadline.
“We haven’t even had discussions about Rondo,” Ainge said. “He hasn’t even been mentioned since the summertime. I’ve fielded calls and there’s been interest because of all the media discussion, but I have not reached out to anybody.”