Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made an appearance on WEEI sports radio this morning and repeated a theme he's been making public during the last few weeks, telling the sports radio station that he does not plan to move any of his players before this afternoon's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
"I have no desire to move anybody on our team," said Ainge. "I have to look, but there's nothing."
Point guard Rajon Rondo's name has come up most frequently in trade scenarios over the last two seasons, scenarios that reached their peak when the New Orleans Hornets were shopping point guard Chris Paul before the start of the 2011-2012 campaign. Paul was traded to the Clippers, and Rondo's name has not come up in any rumors nearly as substantive as those since. The Celtics are nearing the end of their run with Rondo and the Big Three of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, but Ainge said this morning he did not expect to blow up the team today.
"I don't think there's necessarily a trade that's needed," said Ainge. "Other than we need to bolster up our front line to eat away minutes if KG and Brandon [Bass] are playing a ton of minutes."
The Celtics announced Wednesday they have lost power forward Chris Wilcox for the season with a heart ailment, further thinning an already thin frontcourt. Center Jermaine O'Neal's status is still very much in the air for the rest of this season. But the loss of Wilcox and O'Neal would not seem to correlate with a deal that would ship out any of Boston's core four players. Ainge could trade a young player/bench player for more frontcourt depth, but trading one of his All-Stars for a two-month rental on a mediocre forward or center doesn't seem to make sense for a team that is not one or two pieces away from a championship.
The Celtics have been playing better basketball of late, which may also be a reason Ainge sits tight with what he has. Garnett and Allen's contracts come off the books after this season, and Pierce and Rondo are two players who will be very valuable in any kind of rebuilding process next season.
Despite the fact that a big trade is unlikely, Ainge told the radio station he will be listening for any offers that might improve his team. Because of the deadline, Ainge said that he had forgotten that his alma mater, BYU, plans a 2:45 p.m. game today in the NCAA Tournament.
One interesting nugget Ainge offered was that he consults with his veteran players on potential trades to a point, but Ainge said that he ultimately runs with the process on his own. Asked if any of his players had objections to the team trading Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder last season, Ainge said, "No they did not. I don't know if they've taken a trade that I want to do, at that stage, and they've talked me out of it."
In a few hours, we'll know if Ainge has any more big moves up his sleeve.