Ainge admits trade discussions, says reports 'embellished'

Ainge admits trade discussions, says reports 'embellished'
December 19, 2013, 10:45 am
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Danny Ainge was about 40 minutes late for his regularly scheduled Thursday radio hit.

But according to him, it was due to traffic in New York city - where he's out scouting. Not because he's on the phones trying to make trades.

Over the last few days, reports and rumors have surfaced involving players like Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass.

While there doesn't seem to be any truth to some (Rondo to Sacramento), others (Lee and Bass plus a draft pick for Houston's Omer Asik) could seem more realistic.

But just how realistic?

“I have no indication of that other than the rumors,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “I have no indications with my dealings with other teams that we’re close to doing a deal.”

Ainge is very careful with his words. His saying that the C's aren't "close" to a deal could mean anything. It could mean they literally are nowhere near an agreement, or that they're not budging on a certain draft pick.

What's clear is that Ainge and the Celtics won't shy away from making and fielding calls.

“We’re just opportunistic,” Ainge said. “When you read our name out there sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not. I think the reports are embellished, but we are having discussions and seeing what opportunities are out there.”

An opportunity to get what many consider to be a top-10 center in the NBA in Asik is certainly one that Ainge will look at from all sides. The C's are small as is, and Asik would fill that need instantly. Boston won't have a chance to acquire a better center anytime soon, as they won't find one in the draft, and it's highly unlikely they'll sign one in free agency.

Asik averaged 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in his breakout season with the Rockets last season. Before this season, he had played in every game of his career, starting all 82 last season with the Rockets. Asik is a legit 7-footer who can defend the best ones in the NBA. Ainge knows that's a rarity.

“The NBA is loaded with quality players, and big guys are much harder to find than small guys," Ainge said. "Everyone’s looking for big guys that can defend.”

Acquiring Asik now makes it more likely that the Celtics can re-sign him once his contract runs out next season. It would also allow the Celtics to move Jared Sullinger to the power forward spot, which he is more suited for.