The Celtics’ roller-coaster season has raised eyebrows, as Boston was expected to contend for an NBA title with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward rejoining a team that fell one win short of an Eastern Conference crown last season.
It also creates a dilemma for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge ahead of the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline: Should Boston swing a deal and shake up its roster?
Some folks believe the C’s absolutely should make a move in the coming weeks, as the status quo simply isn’t working. But Ainge is reluctant to execute a trade just for the sake of change, even with the team still battling inconsistency midway through the 2018-19 campaign. After all, the Celtics’ roster is stacked with talent and doesn’t necessarily have a glaring weakness.
“It just depends,” Ainge told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach over the weekend. “I don’t feel a need to have to do something. I like every guy on our team. I like our roster. There will be (trade) conversations, obviously. Every year it happens with every team. But we’ll only do something that makes sense.”
The Celtics have lost two games since Ainge’s comments — Saturday night to the Orlando Magic and Monday night to the Brooklyn Nets — and will carry a 25-18 record into Wednesday night’s crucial showdown with the Toronto Raptors, owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Maybe Ainge will decide at some point that a trade is worthwhile, especially since the Celtics have plenty of draft picks they can use in deals. But for now, it sounds like he’s OK with staying the course in the hopes that head coach Brad Stevens will work his magic and the Celtics will turn around their season before the playoffs.
“I try not to get too emotional with a hot streak or a cold streak, and just look at what our team is,” Ainge said, per Himmelsbach. “How our team has played this year, I really haven’t been too surprised with anything, the good and the bad. You could anticipate both of those things happening. So, I’m not surprised. I feel like our team is in a good place and playing well. But I like the path they’re headed in.”
The Celtics, losers of three straight, currently sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, seven games behind the top-seeded Raptors.