Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Ainge talks strategy ahead of draft
By Greg Payne
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on Wednesday that he is preparing for a host of possibilities for Thursday's 2012 NBA Draft, including trading up or down on the board, but for the time being expects to keep the 21st and 22nd overall picks Boston currently owns.
"We might make a trade, but, generally, I mean, I would expect to keep [our picks], because we're preparing to keep them," Ainge said. "But we're also preparing to move up and move back, and move for future picks. There's all sorts of things that will be on the table on draft night, and I don't know what we'll do. Whatever we think is best."
Ainge also said the team has not made a promise to any of the prospects available. ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported last week that there were rumblings that the Celtics had promised Iowa State forward Royce White that they would select him with the 21st overall pick (in his latest mock draft, Ford actually says that a Celtics source adamantly denied a promise to White), but Ainge shot down any speculation of promises on Wednesday.
"As a general rule, I do not make promises. I have before. It's been a while. And we did not make a promise, no," Ainge said. "And the reason is because, on draft day, I'll have 10 contingency plans and we're exploring all the possibilities, and if you make a commitment you're just taking yourself out of that game. And you had better be sure that you have a chance to get that player. In today's day-in-age, most players, by the time you make a commitment to them or promise them, everybody knows them already anyway, and I'm not sure you're really gaining an advantage other than preventing yourself from doing all that you can and exploring every opportunity."
Ainge said he does see the value in trading up in the draft, but cautioned about such a move coming at too high of a price.
"Yeah, I think it is worth trading up, but it all depends on the price to get up," Ainge said. "So we're continuing to have discussions and we will all the way up until, as the draft goes on tomorrow."
The Celtics currently only have four players under contract, but Ainge stressed that it's not imperative for them to land a draft pick who will be capable of contributing immediately.
"I don't think it's critical," Ainge said. "There are a lot of people that will be looking for work this summer, a lot of good players, so I don't think that's critical. That's not the most important thing. If we think that there's a player that might take a year or two of development before he becomes a good player, we'll certainly look into that, as well as ready-made players in the draft."