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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Ainge: Replacing lost 'nearly impossible'

By Chris Forsberg

Quick hits after Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM) on Thursday afternoon:

* NO REPLACING THE DEPARTED: While Ainge reaffirmed his pledge to add bodies to Boston's injury-depleted roster, he tempered expectations for those players who will attempt fill the void left by the loss of Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa. "Those guys -- you can’t find guys like that sitting at home. But [Kevin Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] are still playing at a very high level. We need Brandon [Bass] and Avery [Bradley] and Courtney [Lee] and Jason [Terry] -- Jason has been stepping up a lot lately -- [and] Jeff [Green], we need all those guys to step up. We will get some help, eventually. But replacing Sullinger, Barbosa and Rondo -- that’s nearly impossible.”

* WOULD THE CELTICS HEAD WEST? Asked if the team would consider old friend Delonte West, who has two previous stints in Boston, including an injury-diminished 2010-11 season, Ainge chose his words carefully. "Delonte is a player we certainly know, probably better than anybody in the NBA," said Ainge. "And he’s on a list of guys we are looking at. We’re going to take this entire week, during the All-Star break, and explore trades and free-agent signings. We have a long list of players, and he’s on that list. It’s hard. It’s a difficult thing for players to not play basketball all year, who haven’t played since last April, and expect them to come in and be able to contribute." West's off-the-court troubles might leave Boston inclined to go in another direction if there's a comparable player available, especially one who doesn't own as much baggage or rust.

* IS THIS SUSTAINABLE? Even with his team having won eight of its last nine overall, Ainge sounded cautious about the Celtics' prospects to sustain that success over the long haul. "You can always survive the blow of [losing] one of your better players for a certain period of time," said Ainge. "We never had to do it [this long]. I remember a couple of years ago when [Brian Scalabrine] started like 11 games for KG, who was one of the best plus/minus guys in the league. But Scal came in and, for a short period of time, I think we went like 9-2. Our numbers were actually just as good at that moment. But there’s a big difference; star players can do it over sustained periods of time, so sometimes short samples can be deceiving."

Our friends at WEEI.com have the full transcript of Ainge's interview.