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Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Ainge says be ready for anything

By Chris Forsberg

In the immediate aftermath of the 2014 NBA draft lottery, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked about his team's strategy moving forward.

Ainge noted there was "a possibility of moving up. Moving down is also a possibility. And moving out, or using all those picks are all options. We'll explore all those things."

Well, that clarifies that. It'd be like asking someone what they want to do for dinner and being told, "We could go out. Or we could stay in. Delivery is an option. Maybe we'll wait and have a big breakfast? We'll explore all those things."

During Ainge's 12-minute chat with reporters, he was probed for hints about how the team would proceed after landing the No. 6 pick in June's draft, but offered no tells. Boston also owns the No. 17 pick as part of last summer's swap with Brooklyn, giving it an additional asset to utilize entering Year 2 of a process aimed at restoring the Celtics to contender status.

"I think [the next month leading up to the draft] is exciting," Ainge said. "It is fun. This is an exciting time of the year, an exciting time for our franchise. We can do anything from taking the two draft picks and continuing to add to our young talent, or we could make some bigger deals that speed up our process -- and everywhere in between. I think that everything is possible, and it's going to be a really interesting next month."

So what options does Boston have? Let's run down the potential scenarios:

Scenario 1: Keep the picks, continue the rebuild


While the future of Rajon Rondo in green is slightly hazy given that he'll be an unrestricted free agent next summer, the Celtics believe they have a quality young core, headlined in part by recent top picks Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. If the team brings back restricted free agent Avery Bradley and continues The Jeff Green Project, the Celtics have a solid five-man nucleus with an average age under 25. By hanging onto its picks this season, Boston could further infuse the roster with young talent.

The downside? Young players typically take time to develop and it's hard to imagine the Celtics making too much of a leap forward without a "fireworks" move to add established talent.

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