"There’s no such thing as untouchables," Ainge said Tuesday at the team's practice facility. "But there’s guys that we really love and are part of our core that we don’t want to move."
Ainge noted that the Celtics are potentially interested in moving up in the draft, particularly given their surplus of picks (both this year and in future drafts). When asked if any of the team's current core would be off limits in a swap, Ainge reaffirmed his long-standing belief that any player can be had at the right price.
Don't misconstrue. Ainge likes his young core, but he's simply realistic about the idea that it takes talent to get talent.
"I think [Boston's youngest players are] progressing a lot," said Ainge. "I think they’re all going to have their best years of their careers up to this point. I think Marcus [Smart] is just beginning to grow. I think he had a good year as a rookie, but I think he’s going to be much better this year and probably much better next year. I think Kelly [Olynyk] and [Jared Sullinger] and Tyler [Zeller] are all ready to step their games up. I think they made a lot of strides last year. Avery [Bradley] is continuing to progress -- I don’t think he’s even close to what he will be and can be. I think all of our young guys are just becoming better all the time.
"We like those guys, and James Young has made great strides. So I think we have a lot of good young players. That’s why sometimes it’s hard to get some of the draft players to come in. They say, 'You have Isaiah [Thomas] and Marcus and Phil Pressey at point guard. Why am I coming in?’ Because they respect those guys, and we have Marcus and Avery and James Young. Why would [another shooting guard] come in to be drafted by Boston right now? A lot of the guys in the draft don’t really see an opportunity to play for our team because we have a team that’s loaded with good, young players."