BOSTON — The Celtics have traded away three veteran players over the past three weeks. The latest deal came Monday when leading scorer Jeff Green was sent to the Memphis Grizzlies. Boston acquired Tayshaun Prince, Austin Rivers and a protected future first round pick from Memphis in the three-team deal. Both new additions were not with the team for Monday’s game against New Orleans and their futures with the team remains unclear.
With the NBA trade deadline more than a month away, additional moves could also be on the way as Boston’s front office continues to gather assets and build for the future.
On the heels of all the dealing, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke with the media before Monday’s game against the Pelicans to discuss his decision to trade Green and what lies next for the Celtics’ rebuild. Here are a few key remarks from the exchange.
Why did the team elect to trade Green? “I just felt like a timeline thing, the players that we had, the uncertainty of the future and free agency and felt like we were getting good value in return based on this contract situation.”
Reflecting on Jeff Green’s tenure as a Celtic: “Jeff was a high character guy who came to work every day. After his heart condition he really put forth a great effort to get himself back to an NBA player. He didn’t miss a game, I’m not sure if he even missed a practice and he’s working really hard. I think Jeff is still a guy that hasn’t reached his prime, even at his age I still think he’s getting better. I think he was a good guy in the locker room, our leading scorer this year and he was a pleasure to be around. I think he’ll be a good addition to Memphis.”
Do the Rondo and Green trades give you a chance to see what you have on the current roster? “I think that’s very important for us to know who they are and I think that’s it’s a real challenge going into every offseason and not being quite sure what you have and what your players are so I think that that’s fair to say. But I don’t think its good for anybody to get unconditional minutes; I don’t think that’s good for anybody’s development.”
What’s the status of new additions Austin Rivers and Tayshaun Prince with the team? “That’s an uncertainty, we’re having conversations with Austin right now and trying to figure out what’s best, but he could be in town shortly. We’re still communicating with Tayshaun and Austin on what our plans are for them.”
Is there such a thing as too many draft picks? “No, because draft picks are always tradable; players are not. Draft picks are always assets until sometimes they’re drafted, until they become players, or until they become paid. I don’t believe so, no.”
Do you feel like you will be able to rebuild the roster through the draft? “I think you have to build through the draft, but like last time we built through the draft and we developed players and we were able to trade to get some veteran guys in that were ready to win that were more compatible with Paul (Pierce) at the time, but we did it through the draft. That’s how I look at it and right now we’ll do the same thing; we’ll draft players, we’ll develop players and we’ll look for opportunities to take steps forward.”
Have you had communication with all the veterans in the locker room about their status? “I’ve talked with all the guys. I think everybody is pretty certain what the situation is as certain as they can be as certain as I can which is somewhat uncertain.”