By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
It sounds like Danny Ainge isn’t going to just stand pat at the 2019 NBA Draft. In fact he may be working on more fireworks.
Sure, that’s probably not what Celtics fans want to hear right now. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are on their way out the door and prized trade addition Anthony Davis is joining LeBron James on the historical rival Lakers. But it would be largely unlike Ainge to just sit back and take his picks (14, 20, 22) in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
The Celtics president of basketball ops isn’t about to just accept another five years of rebuilding and gambling on Jayson Tatum and/or Jaylen Brown blossoming into All-Stars during that time. So it should surprise no one that he’s at the very least getting the word out that he’s working on a “major” draft day trade, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
An NBA source told Washburn that the Celtics are using at least one of their picks on Thursday to work toward a deal that brings in an “established veteran”. He name-drops Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who has previously been the subject of trade rumors involving the C’s.
Beal would cost over $27 million next season, so he would take up most of the Celtics’ remaining cap space. But Ainge would also be adding a two-time All-Star (2018-19) who averaged 25.0 points per 36 minutes last season and shot .475 from the field.
On the other side of that coin, veteran NBA reporter Jeff Goodman tweeted with a rather definitive tone that the Wizards “have no intention” of trading Beal. It’s hard to figure out who to believe at this time of year in the NBA. Probably best to assume nothing is true. But every little nugget is certainly fun to discuss and think about and sometimes they do come true.
Washburn also believes that Ainge is trying to move up in the draft, with Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland on his radar. Would he actually be able to trade up to get Garland and swing a trade for Beal or a similar established vet? Making both moves would probably require next year’s Mephis Grizzlies pick (top-6 protected) in one of the deals.
One thing appears certain. Ainge isn’t going to take these picks without making any other moves. Washburn echoed top NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who also said Ainge doesn’t want to have three rookies on next year’s Celtics team.
Get ready for some kind of activity from Ainge on Thursday. The hope is that it softens the blow of the Celtics’ rough offseason to this point.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.