Ainge: 'Unlikely' anything will get done before deadline


Ainge: 'Unlikely' anything will get done before deadline

DENVER The Celtics are still keeping all options open between now and Thursday's trade deadline. That said, Danny Ainge doesn't sound too optimistic that the C's roster will look radically different from where it stands now.

"It looks unlikely that anything will be done," said Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations.

He said the Celtics would likely fill out the remaining holes in their roster by signing free agents or possibly by picking up a player or two who might be bought out in the coming days.

Boston is close to having Terrence Williams on the floor. He and the C's have come to terms on a 10-day contract, but the Celtics are still waiting for a letter of clearance from the team he played for in China, the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

"Sometimes that's quick, sometimes that's a long process," Ainge said of receiving the letter. "I'm hopeful it will get done soon."

Williams is with the Celtics now in Denver, but unable to participate in practice or game preparation until the letter of clearance is received.

The addition of Williams speaks to how far and wide the Celtics have to go in order to add talent with an extremely limited budget. Boston is inching closer and closer to the league's cap limit of 74 million, which has left Ainge and the C's little choice but to pinch a few pennies.

That's why they waived second-round pick Kris Joseph and later, signed Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract but didn't pick it up after 10 days. Instead, he has signed with the Miami Heat for the rest of the season.

Being busy is a given this time of year for Ainge, although there has been more dialogue between the C's and other teams this season than past years.

"We've had injuries," explained Ainge. "We wouldn't have been talking so much if we hadn't had so many injuries."

With a healthy roster, Boston has 13 players. But with three players (Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and most recently, Leandro Barbosa) out with season-ending injuries, the C's depth has been stretched about as thin as it's going to be.

That leaves the C's with just 10 available players, a number that will increase to 11 once Williams is cleared to play.

"There's been a lot of conversation around the league and we've certainly been busy at it," Ainge said. "Trades are very challenging to make."

It becomes even more complicated when a team gets on a roll like the Celtics have the past couple of weeks.

Boston comes into tonight's game having won eight of their last nine games, which includes a triple-overtime thriller against the Nuggets in Boston on Feb. 10.

"We like our guys; I like watching this team play," said Ainge who added, "we just need to find a way to give them the best chance to win with the resources we have."

Al Horford recalls offseason flirtation with Rockets

Al Horford recalls offseason flirtation with Rockets

Al Horford was destined to play in tonight’s game between Boston and Houston.
But for which team?
That was the question the four-time All-Star pondered this summer when he narrowed his list of suitors outside of Atlanta to Boston, Houston and Washington, in that order.
“I really considered coming here,” Horford told reporters on Monday. “But them and Boston and Washington. (Houston) and Boston were probably the two teams I was really, really looking at. Just a lot to consider.”

When you look at how seamless Horford has fit in with the Celtics and how well the Rockets (13-7) have played this season, you get the feeling that Horford would have found success individually and for whichever team he chose.
“At the end of the day, I just felt I was better off being here in Boston,” Horford said.
Rockets All-Star James Harden was among the party Houston sent to try and woo Horford to the Rockets.

“I thought we had a chance,” Harden said. “I thought we had a real good chance, but obviously it didn’t work out. Which is fine.”
Indeed, the Rockets have been one of the surprise teams of the NBA this season in large part to Harden moving to the point guard position full-time.
Not only is he once again ranked among the NBA’s top scorers at 28.3 points which ranks fourth in the NBA, but he’s also dishing out a league-high 11.8 assists per game.
“They made it pretty clear in the offseason that he was going to be the point guard,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “He’s got the ball all the time. He had the ball a lot before, but certainly now with their spacing and his ability to make the play himself or the right read to the big rolling or to the many good shooters around, it’s a perfect setup for him and his skillset.”
The ability to draw defenders and create space for those around him is one of the many reasons why the Rockets felt Horford would have been an ideal fit for their system.
But the same argument can be made for the Celtics who unlike the Rockets, at least attempt to play defense at a high level.
Boston began the season ranked among the worst defenses in the NBA, but are currently up to 18th with a defensive rating of 105.0. Meanwhile, the Rockets’ defense ranks 27th in the league with a 107.2 defensive rating.