Blakely: Ainge should resist temptation to trade stars

620916.jpg

Blakely: Ainge should resist temptation to trade stars

BOSTON The Boston Celtics are not playing anywhere close to their full potential or the lofty expectations they have every season.

So when you have the kind of talent the Celtics (4-8) have assembled, lots of losses will draw lots of attention from fellow general managers.

It is indeed a vulture culture these days around Celtics Nation, with NBA executives viewing the C's as ripe for the picking off of its superstars.

Which brings us to Paul Pierce, whose name has been on the minds and lips of fellow GMs lately according to a Yahoo! Sports report.

Two league executives contacted by CSNNE.com on Tuesday confirmed that Pierce is a player of interest if the C's look to break up the Big Four which consists of Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

"If Danny (Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations) decides to blow it up, why wouldn't you at least look into adding Paul Pierce?" one Western Conference front-office official said Tuesday evening. "You're telling me Paul Pierce couldn't help your team?"

He's right, of course. But here's the issue.

As bad as the C's have struggled, there are no indications that Ainge is looking to blow up the team anytime soon. And as far as teams expressing interest in Pierce, there has been interest in every member of the Big Four this season.

You're talking about three Hall of Famers and a two-time all-star. You would be hard-pressed to find a team that wouldn't mind adding a player or two like that; for the right price, of course.

As the losses continue to mount for the Celtics, there will be more and more GMs hoping that Ainge will get desperate and make a trade soon.

Memo to Ainge: Don't do it.

As tempting as it may be to move one or two of his Big Four players, he needs to resist the temptation.

If adding a player or two doesn't make the C's instant title contenders, what's the point of making the deal?

Boston will have plenty of salary cap space during the offseason to go about upgrading the roster. Moving Pierce who has two years and 32 million left for an expiring contract, gives them even more space and the potential to add a couple of high-salaried, high impact players.

This free agency class will have stars like Deron Williams and Dwight Howard, but there has been no indication that either player would even consider, let alone play for, the Celtics.

So while the Celtics are not where they want to be or expect to be, making major moves without adding an impact player - a high impact player - is a bad idea.

We've already seen what the Celtics look like with a roster that's long on youth, but short on experience. They were bad; one of the worst teams in the NBA, actually.

Blowing up this team by ridding it of multiple key players like Pierce will quickly bring this franchise back to those days of disappointment.

Do you really want to go there again?

I didn't think so.

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.