Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge continues to express excitement about this summer and the chance to improve his team. And he hasn't been coy about letting the rest of the league know that "Trader Danny" is ready to listen to all offers, regardless of how the pingpong balls dance at Tuesday's draft lottery.
During an on-camera interview during ESPN’s broadcast of the NBA draft combine on Thursday, Ainge reaffirmed that the team will keep all its options open in regard to utilizing or dealing whatever pick it lands.
"I think the No. 1 pick certainly has more value, but we’ll discuss trading that pick or using that pick and developing a good young player," Ainge said when asked about the potential of landing a top pick. "We'll look at every option that we can to get our team good."
Ainge noted how his team, currently armed with eight draft picks, including three first-round selections, is in the process of ranking all available draft candidates "from 1 to 100" and hopes to utilize that stash to target the most intriguing talent.
Asked about the chances that the team uses all eight of its draft picks, Ainge said, "Probably slim. There a lot of players overseas that we’ve evaluated that we like also, so there’s always the option to keep them and draft and stash guys. We'll probably have a lot of conversation between lottery night and the draft.”
During an interview posted on the team's website, Ainge detailed the advantages of the combine -- particularly getting to interview prospects, watching them in 5-on-5 work under NBA rules and seeing how much players have developed since the end of the college season -- but stressed that this is simply an enjoyable time of year because of the chances of improving his team.
"It's exciting," Ainge said. "We got a lot of work to do. It's unpredictable; that's what makes it so exciting. We don't have certainties ... we just have a lot of assets, a lot of good players that we like on our team already, and we have a lot of draft picks and there's good players in this draft.
"I don't see anything bad that can come from this offseason. But we're going to try to be very active. And I'm looking forward to it."