The San Antonio Spurs are trying to trade disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard and the Boston Celtics have expressed (varying degrees of) interest. LeBron James, meanwhile, has officially opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is important beyond the fact that the Celtics are allegedly on LeBron’s list of summer meetings, too.
It means Celtics president Danny Ainge could pull off a summer blockbuster for the third year in a row.
But Ainge’s Friday commentary should probably be enough for you to rest comfortable this Fourth of July.
“If I feel like it’ll help our team — we explore every trade of players of certain magnitude or superstar, first-ballot hall-of-fame-type of players,” Ainge said Friday at an introductory press conference for 2018 first-round Robert Williams III. “We’re going to take a look and kick the tires and see if there’s something there, but that’s all. I think those things are unlikely.”
Given what some have reported — from what the Celtics are dangling out there this summer to what other teams are asking for in any trade with the C’s — Ainge also touched on his own frustration that can come with what he considers ‘false’ rumors.
“I think that most of [the rumors are] false. Especially the details of it,” Ainge remarked. “And what I don’t like about it is [that] I don’t like how names are just thrown around. [Reporters] probably don’t care about the names, and that’s your job is to make good stories and have things to talk about on the air. Most of it’s not true, but there’s sometimes bits and pieces of it that are true. So it’s not total lies, but — I can’t call it fake news — but it’s complex.
“These are complex situations, and I think that, just like [reporters] don’t like answering or having to respond to rumors, even though it does give you good programming, I don’t like it any more, having to deal with the players that are calling me and the agents that are calling me when their name is in a rumor that’s just totally made up.”
Ainge’s decision to not go all-in on another big trade largely comes back to the price most teams want in exchange for a star player (it seems that the entire league wants Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum) in a potential trade. But it also comes with the acknowledgement that his title-contending team from a year ago has still yet to get a full year together thanks to Gordon Hayward’s season-ending injury in the opening five minutes of a C’s season that ended in a Game 7 loss in round three.
“I felt like we were a title contender last year in training camp,” Ainge admitted. “I didn’t think we were the favorites, but I felt like we were a contender.”
Consider the fact that their lone offseason losses with likely come with Shane Larkin, Aron Baynes, Greg Monroe, and maybe restricted free agent Marcus Smart, it’s not hard to see why Ainge seems confident with similar expectations for next year.
And a quiet offseason.