During his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub, Ainge said it's not an ideal situation, with the Celtics eager to evaluate all top talent while owning the No. 1 pick. But he noted that the Celtics have drafted players who didn't work out for them in the past.
"We tried to get [Ball] in," Ainge told the "Toucher and Rich" program while Boston's front-office staff traveled for a draft workout in New York that included Duke's Harry Giles and Kentucky's Malik Monk.
"We don't deal with [Ball's camp] all that much. They didn't show up at the combine, which is very common -- many of the top 10 or 15 players don't show up for the combine. ... We just tried to get him in for a workout and they politely said no."
ESPN's Chad Ford has Markelle Fultz on top of his latest Big Board and also has the Washington guard pegged as Boston's pick in his most recent mock draft.
Ball's father, LaVar, has previously said his son would work out only for the Los Angeles Lakers.
"That's all we working out for is the Lakers," LaVar Ball told Lakers Nation earlier this month. "Just the Lakers. There's nobody else that we need to work out for."
Lonzo Ball's decision to skip a workout with the Boston Celtics, who hold the No. 1 pick, could have major financial implications. The difference on a guaranteed rookie wage scale contract between the No. 1 and No. 2 picks is $2,202,900, according to the collective bargaining agreement. The difference could be more striking if income tax is considered; California has the highest state taxes in the United States at 13.3 percent for the highest bracket, while Massachusetts' taxes are 5.1 percent.
During an appearance on Fox Sports 1's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" last week, LaVar Ball explained his preference for Lonzo to play for the Lakers over the Celtics but said, ultimately, he'd be OK if Boston drafted Lonzo.
"If Lonzo goes to Boston, he turns into a 2. ... Lonzo's always going to be a point guard. He can play any position, but his true position is point guard and Boston has so many guards, you don't need that guy," LaVar Ball said.
Later he added: "Here's the thing: I prefer Zo to go to the Lakers, but if Boston were to choose him and Lonzo wants to play basketball, then guess what, he doesn't care where he goes."