Although the Boston Celtics are rumored to be in the running to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs in a potential blockbuster trade, general manager Danny Ainge doesn’t seem to be too interested in making big moves in the NBA offseason. That’s because he believes the Celtics have a solid lineup that doesn’t need much tweaking.
Citing statements made by Ainge at a press conference earlier on Friday, the Sporting News wrote that the Celtics legend-turned executive appears to be content with the Celtics lineup at the present, which he built up by acquiring high draft picks such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in previous trades. Instead, he is reportedly planning to lie low in free agency, and focus instead on adding “role players” that could complement the team’s nucleus.
“We don’t really have a need. We have really good players,” Ainge remarked.
“We need to surround them with role players with the rest of our roster that have a chance to win.”
The Sporting News added that Danny Ainge also discussed the possibility of making a big trade in the offseason, admitting that the team takes a look at different types of trade possibilities, including those involving superstar-caliber players and “first ballot Hall of Fame type of players.” However, he said that he doubts that the Celtics will actually pull the trigger on a major trade in the current offseason.
“We’re gonna take a look, kick the tires, and see if there’s something there. I think those things are unlikely.”
As noted by NBA.com, Ainge also expressed his frustration with media reports that have connected one player or another to trade rumors, saying that most of these rumors are inaccurate, and admitting that he’s had to “mend fences” with players named on those reports.
“Most of it’s not true, but there’s sometimes bits and pieces of it that are true. So it’s not total lies but — I can’t call it fake news — but it’s complex,” said Ainge.
According to the Sporting News, Danny Ainge’s assessment of the Celtics came as a surprise due to the plethora of rumors suggesting that the team is chasing Kawhi Leonard and among the top candidates to acquire the Spurs forward. However, the publication opined that Ainge “could be right,” as the Celtics finished second in the Eastern Conference despite losing forward Gordon Hayward in the first game of the regular season, then had a deep run into the playoffs earlier this year despite also playing without point guard Kyrie Irving. The Celtics went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2018 playoffs, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games.