Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reaffirmed a desire to "blow off some fireworks" this offseason, but stressed that the team must remain patient and diligent while navigating this transition process.
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck suggested last month that the Celtics had potential for fireworks this offseason given Boston's pile of assets (draft picks, tradable contracts, trade exceptions) and Ainge has said he hopes the team can light up the summer sky with moves to restore Boston to contender status.
"I’m going to try to blow off some fireworks, but I have to be patient as well and we have to make sure that we don’t do deals just to do deals," Ainge said Thursday during his weekly call to Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub. "We have to do the right deals. Those are a lot harder than most people think or believe or understand. I’m not making any promises, we have a busy summer ahead of us, and there's a lot of different directions we could go."
The Celtics were quiet at the February trade deadline, but Ainge noted how the team did much of its work a month earlier with two swaps. Even still, he said those conversations in February, while they didn't bear any additional deals, might have helped lay the groundwork for what's possible in June or July.
"I think that the the groundwork has been laid, potentially for some deals this summer. But no guarantees," said Ainge. Asked what the areas of need were for his team, Ainge added: "We need quality players. I would just say, one of our weaknesses has been a closer and rim protection -- those have been two of our weaker spots in the course of this year. But, listen, I’ve seen a lot of teams react and fill those needs at the expense of something else. It’s just not that easy that you can go find those weaknesses, or we’d obviously have them. A closer is obviously a really really hard to find."
A couple other nuggets from Ainge's appearance:
• AVAILABLE AVERY: Avery Bradley returned from a three-game absence to score a team-high 24 points in Wednesday's loss in Atlanta. Ainge was asked if Bradley's injury woes have caused him any concern as the player nears restricted free agency. "Listen, I’ve often said the most important ability is availably," said Ainge. "So I do think that’s a concern, but he is very young, and they are not any injuries that have set him way back. The shoulder injuries, two years ago, took away a summer of his development. But, listen, we’re big fans of Avery’s; injuries are alway a concern, but we’re big big fans. You can see how he’s improving as a player every year."
• KG, PIERCE PITCHED CARROLL: Following up on something he mentioned on the CSN broadcast on Wednesday, Ainge said Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce had pitched acquiring DeMarre Carroll during the summer of 2013. "In DeMare, they weren't saying at all costs, they were just saying, 'Hey, we played with this kid, he looked pretty good this summer. It looks like he's shooting the ball better and he's worked hard on his game," said Ainge. "They thought he would be a nice piece for us to add." The Celtics were already stocked and didn't have the means to add Carroll, who signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Hawks in August of 2013. The 27-year-old Carroll is averaging a career-best 11 points on 46.6 percent shooting to go along with 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 steals over 32.1 minutes per game.