In the face of trade rumors surrounding point guard Rajon Rondo and other members of the Celtics’ roster, team president Danny Ainge confirmed in an interview Thursday morning that the Celtics have been active in trade talks recently.
In the radio Q-and-A with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Ainge discussed the latest rumblings about his team’s increased activity on the trade market.
On how active the Celtics are at the moment exploring the trade market: “I wouldn’t say it’s any different from any year. December 15, there are a lot of rumors because conversations are happening because December 15 is the magical date where players who signed in the offseason can now be traded. This is a hot rumor time, and there is a hot rumor time in the middle of February. But from middle of December to the middle of February, there is a lot of discussion with most teams, trying to tweak their direction. We are having a lot of discussion, like we do every year.”
On the Celtics making and receiving calls: “Sure. When you receive calls you may not find a partner in a deal that is satisfactory, so you try to get two or three or four teams involved. That’s where a lot of the rumors get started and misconstrued even. Sometimes you’re calling on behalf of doing a deal that is part of another deal, so the accuracy of some of the rumors isn’t there. I expect a lot of rumors over the next few months, for sure.”
On how successful could Celtics be without Rondo, in theory: “I don’t know. That’s a good question. Rajon has been a big part of our team, not just this year but for the past years, as you know. But Rondo, because we don’t really see what Marcus Smart has been able to do yet, because he hasn’t been healthy. He’s got such a shortage of minutes and opportunities to play with the ankle sprain — so it’s a good question. I don’t think any of us know the answer to that.”
On what the Celtics are looking for in trades: “That’s easy, let’s get stars. Everybody wants a star first. In lieu of getting a star, because there’s very few of those, there’s not very many to go around to the 30 teams, the next option is draft picks, which you hope to be able to find the next stars in the draft. Not every draft is going to be as successful, but you need swings of the bat, so that would be next. Then, the next probably best thing is good, solid players. Not stars, but good players. Guys that can play a role on a team.”
On whether Celtics fans would be able to tolerate a rebuild without Rondo and acquiring another star: “I think Celtics fans want to see good team basketball and winning basketball. I think we need to start moving in that direction. We need to win, play the game the right way and win. I don’t know if stars are required. I mean, winning is what’s important. It’s assumed in the NBA that stars are needed and that’s true, but there’s been some successful teams without a star. But I have every intention of continuing to try to find stars. When I say stars, I mean great players that have a positive effect on winning. Not stars that people want to watch, but stars that help winning basketball. Because I think that’s what Celtics fans want, is to win.”