Challenges ahead for Ainge in building C's roster

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Challenges ahead for Ainge in building C's roster

WALTHAM Danny Ainge has spent months preparing for this free agency period.

That doesn't make his job that much easier, however.

Ainge has a team that's three years removed from winning the franchise's 17th NBA title.

Their core group, with the exception of Rajon Rondo, are all on the downside of their careers. And Rondo has been the subject of more trade rumors than any other player in the NBA this offseason.

Oh, did we mention the C's have six players under contract?

And their only chips to play other than making a trade, will be a midlevel exception worth 3 million, and a slew of veteran minimum contracts.

"Every year is a challenge; brings different challenges," said Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations.

Ainge, taking a moment to reminisce on the not-that-long-ago good ol' days -- you know, 2009.

"A few years back, we had a target," Ainge said. "We went after Rasheed (Wallace). It was easy that way. We don't have the same flexibility this summer to do some of those things."

Ainge has a list of players that he would love to bring to Boston.

But he understands that it won't be easy building the C's into a team that can compete with Miami and Chicago for Eastern Conference supremacy.

"There's a lot of money out there, teams with cap space," Ainge said. "So players are waiting for the big pay days. We have to be patient in this process."

In the meantime, Ainge will spend a good deal of time working the phones as well as taking calls from other GMs to see if the best way to bolster the Celtics' roster is via trade.

"There's a lot of GMs out there that are anxious for the season to start," Ainge said. "And so there's been a lot of conversation. That's my job, to field all the calls from all the teams and to find the value of my players. That's what I do."

Those conversations have centered around Boston's Big 4, but Rondo's name - more than any other Celtic player - has been the one that has drawn the most media attention.

But with teams unable to talk with players just yet, Ainge has not been able to speak with the players directly about the trade rumors.

"Usually I'm around when these things happen," he said. "This is a unique situation. I will talk to the players and share with them the truth about rumors and anything else."

Regardless of whether Ainge is looking to move players or not, trade rumors will not go away anytime soon.

"Trade rumors are part of the world we live in," Ainge said. "It's a media circus out there. Everybody's name has been in trade rumors, and everyone's name will. If you're worth your salt, you'll be mentioned in a trade somewhere along the line. So it's part of the business that players have to deal with as well."

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.  

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Pistons

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