WALTHAM, Mass. — Danny Ainge sounds confident in his belief that the Celtics will find a quality player to draft at Nos. 21 and 22.
Or No. 15.
Or No. 27.
Or wherever the Celtics end up making a pick.
Heading into Thursday's NBA Draft, no scenario is out of the question for the Celtics, as is the case for many teams this year. Many observers expect the 2012 draft to see a high amount of draft-day movement due to the deep, yet uncertain, nature of this draft class.
Count the Celtics as among those who would be open to discussions about trading their picks, even though they feel quality players should still be available when their selections come up.
"We might make a trade, but generally I would expect us to keep them," Ainge said Wednesday. "We're preparing to keep them, but we're also preparing to move up or move down or move for future picks. There's all sorts of things that will be on the table on draft night. I don't know what we'll do. We'll do whatever we think is best."
Ainge has a history of making some shrewd late picks or draft-day deals for players who become pivotal members of the Celtics. Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins were acquired in trades on their draft days, and Ray Allen and Glen Davis came to Boston on the day of the 2007 draft, shortly after the Celtics had taken Jeff Green at No. 5 overall.
Delonte West, who went to Seattle as part of the trade for Allen, and Tony Allen were taken 24th and 25th overall, respectively, in 2004. With the 15th pick in that year's draft, the Celtics also landed Al Jefferson, who may have developed into Boston's franchise big man had he not been shipped to Minnesota three years later as part of the trade for Kevin Garnett. Gerald Green, the 18th pick in the 2005 draft, and Ryan Gomes, the 50th pick that same year, also went to the Timberwolves in that deal.
Avery Bradley appears to be the Celtics' most recent late first round discovery, and nobody knows enough about JaJuan Johnson or E'Twaun Moore to make a determination about them yet.
In other words, put nothing past the Celtics on Thursday. There seems to be some consensus that it is not worth trading up in this year's draft unless a team has a specific player in mind, because in general the talent available may not be worth the cost to move up a handful of slots. Ainge does not sound like he is as down on this draft class' depth as some others are, though.
"I think it is worth trading up, but it all depends on the price to get up," he said. "We're having discussions and we will continue right up to as the draft goes [Thursday]."
The Celtics have a plan, and it is to make their picks as scheduled. As usual, however, if that plan fizzles, they have another plan, and if that plan fails, they have a plan for that, too.