Boston Celtics

General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics watches a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Butler Bulldogs during the 2016 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on November 24, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth,

After a week of ‘will he, won’t he,’ Danny Ainge landed the NBA’s largest-ever trade exception from the Charlotte Hornets. Despite speculation that Gordon Hayward may get away from the Celtics for nothing, Ainge was able to pull off what he believes is a multi-beneficial sign-and-trade.

Speaking with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Tuesday morning, Ainge said the benefits of the deal go beyond the $28 million trade exception.

We saved $30 million – $34 million in payroll and luxury tax. We have three young players in Marcus [Smart] and Jaylen [Brown] and Jayson [Tatum] that we’re building around and we’re going to have to build around and try to be competitive with over the next bunch of years,” Ainge said.

He also pointed out that, while the Celtics didn’t directly get a player in return for Hayward, shedding the salary opened up the mid-level exception, which in turn expanded their option in free agency. “Getting under the luxury tax is a big thing this year,” Ainge told T&R. “And being able to use our mid-level exception to sign Tristan Thompson. We wouldn’t have got Tristan Thompson without a mid-level exception.”

“We’ve been able to get a lot, and the fact that we got the trade exception is great, but it’s also gravy,” Ainge said. So what will he do with his gravy?

MORE: Danny Ainge explains Gordon Hayward’s departure

We’re not going to go do anything right now, just because it’s that time of year where trades are – people love their team,” Ainge explained. “Everybody has gotten better in the off season. We’ll see how the season goes and see where we are.”“We’ll have the ability to improve our team at trade deadline and improve our team next season,” he continued. “If not, and it just gives us another vehicle to acquire players that we wouldn’t otherwise have had…We can use it to [add] three players or four players that – to strengthen our bench at different times.”

Finally, Ainge pointed out that by not adding another veteran to the roster, some of the Celtics’ younger players who have been stuck on the end of the bench in recent years will now get more regular playing time.

“Right now, we’re looking to have our young guys get a chance to play,” he said. “Grant Williams and Rob Williams and Romeo [Langford], when he gets back healthy, I think are critical. Carsen Edwards, we have some good young players that we’re watching in that facility each and every day that we’re excited about.”

You can check out Danny Ainge’s full conversation with Toucher & Rich below.

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Celtics.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at