Danny Ainge declined to shed much light on the Boston Celtics’ potential pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, but he did reveal Friday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” that one current C’s player was discussed in trade talks leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
The Celtics president of basketball operations since has chatted with the unnamed player, ensuring he knows what’s true, what isn’t true and what the organization envisions for him moving forward.
“I do speak to some of the players based on the false reports that were out there. I just try to get their head in the right place, just to focus on what they need to,” Ainge said. “But there were really no close deals. There was one player in particular that there was a lot of discussion with, and he’s well aware of it. I was honest with him on that and why we didn’t do it, and what he needs to focus on for his career and for us finishing this year strong.”
Ainge never revealed the player’s identity, so all we can do is speculate. Terry Rozier seemed like the most logical trade candidate given his impending restricted free agency, but perhaps another team across the NBA was fixated on someone else.
In any event, it’s clear Ainge likes to maintain a direct line of communication with his players, especially at a time when so many trade rumors dominate headlines. And the C’s ultimately chose to keep this particular player, evidently deciding he’s too important to Boston’s overall goal of reaching the NBA Finals this season.
“I didn’t go into this deadline with I was looking to make any certain deals,” Ainge said. “There were some things that I was listening to more than others. Listen, I don’t know if this player’s agent might have got wind of it, or (heard) from a few other teams that were trying to make some deals for him. But I just felt it was important (to talk with him), just in case. With the thin veil of information that exists in our world, I just wanted to be the first one to tell him and I wanted to be straightforward with him of what was going on, because there’s a chance he might have heard it anyway.”
Boston will do most of its heavy lifting this offseason, when Kyrie Irving can opt out of his contract and become a free agent and the Celtics finally can pursue Davis in trade talks without restrictions.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images