Danny Ainge Being Realistic With Free Agency, Trade Targets, Unlike Teams Vying for Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

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Danny Ainge Being Realistic With Free Agency, Trade Targets, Unlike Teams Vying for Chris Paul, Dwight HowardBlessed are the radio talk show hosts when trade rumors pop up, for they must deal with the misguided callers and their unrealistic proposals.

Why don't the Red Sox offer a few minor leaguers to the Mariners for Felix Hernandez? Hey, the Colts want a new quarterback, so why don't the Patriots offer Ryan Mallett in exchange for that No. 1 draft pick? Dwight Howard would be a great addition to the Celtics. Why not package Avery Bradley, Jermaine O'Neal and one of the rookies to send to Orlando?

If any of those trade proposals sound reasonable to you, you're part of the problem. Before anyone brings up a trade possibility, he must ask himself: Would I make the same deal if I were on the other side?

If the answer is "no," then it's a stone-cold lock that will be the other team's response, barring some sort of threat of violence.

Yet as trade rumors involving two of the NBA's top players heat up, certain team executives seem to have caught radio-caller-itis. The Lakers want Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, but don't really want to part with Andrew Bynum. The Clippers want Howard, but would rather not involve Eric Gordon. The Knicks want both — particularly Paul — but have nothing of substance to offer.

The trade talks have therefore devolved into a series of reported suggestions so absurd, you'd expect them to be proposed by a longtime listener, first-time caller.

Pau Gasol for Howard? Chris Kaman and Mo Williams for Howard? Chauncey Billups, Toney Douglas and Landry Fields for Paul?

Would you accept any of these deals if you were the Magic or Hornets?

Only if they get desperate, and the suitors are clearly hoping they do. That's how the Knicks managed to carjack the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony last season, but at least Denver was able to squeeze the last remaining expendable, yet quality, players out of New York. The Knicks' well is now dry.

For a team from L.A. or New York to nab Howard or Paul, it will have to surrender something of value. They can't just set "fair trades" to "off."

Celtics fans are not enamored with Danny Ainge's conservative approach this offseason. The executive who boldly traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo and shipped out Kendrick Perkins is now preaching fiscal responsibility.

Although it may make Boston fans, in their win-now mindset, impatient, at least Ainge is being realistic. Despite having just nine players under team control, the Celtics don't have a ton of money to spend or the young, difference-making prospects to deal in a blockbuster trade. Unless Boston is willing to give up Allen and/or Rondo (which they may be, according to an ESPN report), the chances of a new superstar coming to Boston are slim to nil.

So while Clippers general manager Neil Olshey tries to convince Magic G.M. Otis Smith that DeAndre Jordan is a star in the making, and Knicks senior vice president Glen Grunwald tells Hornets G.M. Dell Demps that Ronny Turiaf is really close to breaking out, Ainge reportedly is looking for moves that might actually work. He's focused on the Celtics' own free agents – Glen Davis, Delonte West and Jeff Green – and a few undervalued complementary pieces, like shooting guard Anthony Parker, according to a report.

Such moves won't spark day-long coverage like last season's Anthony sweepstakes, but they should help the Celtics remain a contender at least for this year — not to mention that there's actually a snowball's chance in Hades that they'll even happen.

Thanks for listening, and call again.

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