Thursday, February 28, 2013
Quick hits from Ainge
By Greg Payne
Quick hits following Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge's weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM) Thursday.
On if he's concerned about Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett not being rested for the playoffs: "Yes, always am. Paul and KG have been incredibly durable throughout their entire careers and they take good care of themselves. But I do think that they need rest. If we have any chance of winning playoff basketball games, we need those guys fresh, healthy. And Paul's neck thing (more on that HERE), I think it sort of comes and goes, but there was a stretch when we were in that losing streak, I actually think that might have been one of the biggest factors -- Paul was not 100 percent and yet he continued to play. That's just who Paul is. But I think Doc is determined to cut those guys' minutes down now that we have a little bit more depth on the bench and we'll get some bodies in here. That's a big part of the second half of the season, getting them healthy."
On if he was at all hesitant to trade Jason Collins: "Sure. Nobody wanted to lose Jason. But I think where Jason is in his career, I think Jason is a player that plays a role that is a little bit easier to find than a Jordan Crawford, who is a young potential. We liked Jordan Crawford when he came out of college. He's a guy that we had contemplated on drafting and done a lot of research on and studied a lot and we've always liked Jordan. And he's a young guy that's scoring 18 points per game per 36 minutes off the bench and he's a unique player, and I think it's just a much more valuable asset for us going forward and for right now."
On whether he ever has disputes with ownership over trade scenarios: "No, and I'll tell you why: First of all, we've had some disagreements on what we should do. But if I feel like if I had a deal that I would die for, that I would put all the marbles on the table for, I believe they would do any deal that would be that way. And, fortunately, as you know, most deals aren't that. Most deals are pros and cons. They're 55/45 and so there's a lot of deals that are discussed. There are disagreements internally between Doc and myself and ownership on bigger deals. But for the most part, we are on the same page of what are good deals and what aren't."
On why he seems so unwilling to move older players (such as Garnett and Pierce) for younger players: "Well first of all, if I felt like there was a player that was in their mid-20s that was a piece to build around and wasn't just a rotation player, as an example, but was actually a building block, a future star or a future All-Star, or one of those pieces, then we probably would do that. But they're far and few between, and I don't see anybody giving those players away for aging veterans."
On if the new collective bargaining agreement had an impact on the limited number of trades this season: "I think the collective bargaining agreement had a little bit to do with it because, for the first time this year, we experienced some of the new rules with the bargaining agreement, which affected us. Basically, we're functioning under a hard cap because we chose to use a mid-level exception being a tax team. So, that stifled some movement. I don't think it really prevented us from doing too much. I still think we could have found ways, financially, to do deals that we wanted to do or that we were talking about doing. But it did have a little bit of a hold on us.
"Second of all, I think that it's hard to find trading partners. People are reluctant to trade. There's so much scrutiny, there's so much evaluation on all of the talk shows and all of the media, so I think sometimes people get cold feet. You talk for three weeks about doing deals and at the very last (minute) they want a much less deal that is really easy to sell and those deals are usually not good enough for the other team."
On whether he could have eventually gotten Garnett to soften his stance on his no-trade clause: "I don't know the answer to that and we never got to that point, so it doesn't even matter. KG has earned the right to dictate his destination and we never got close enough to a deal for either one of them to even have those conversations."