Why These NBA GMs Love (Or Hate) Trading With Celtics

'Ummmm…no comment'


January 19, 2021

So, what is it really like talking trades with the Celtics?

Boston president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has developed reputation for being aggressive — sometimes overly so — while discussing trades with other NBA teams. The Celtics general manager, who largely has a winning record when it comes to trades, also has been described as someone who tries to deceive his rivals.

But those are opinions propagated by NBA fans and media — thus, the “Trader Danny” moniker.

Celtics Blog’s Keith Smith on Tuesday shared a story featuring fascinating insight from NBA general managers and executives, many of whom surprisingly enjoy working with Ainge. Of course, there are those who do not enjoy their experiences with Ainge and assistant general manager Mike Zarren.

Smith’s story contains many noteworthy bits, including general managers answering whether they believe the Celtics have “won” a majority of Ainge’s trades, as well as insight on how hard of a bargain Ainge truly runs.

However, we’ll focus on this question Smith posed to executives: “Do you enjoy talking trades with Boston?”

Here are some of the responses:

Eastern Conference GM: ?Yes. They are easy to deal with. Danny tells you when he?s not interested, switches to something he is interested in right away or walks away. My team loves Mike Zarren because he?s not arrogant. He might tell them something doesn?t work cap-wise or something, but he?s not a dick about it. And Boston is great about finding a third team for deals if you need one.

“Oh, and they are up front if they plan on flipping the guy you trade them.”

Western Conference executive: ?Ummmm?no comment. (laughs). Not really. It?s hard to get anything done with them and they push hard for answers. We prefer to take our time. We?re not going to rush into anything. We?ve done deals with them, but we make them wait until we?re comfortable. That?s how Boston gets you. They make you make the mistake.?

Eastern Conference executive: ?Nope. Not at all. I feel worried that they know things I don?t know, especially at the draft.

Eastern Conference GM: ?I do. There?s no (expletive) with Boston. Get in, get out. It might take a bunch of conversations, but they aren?t wasting your time. And you get brutal honesty. Once we asked them what they thought of one of our players and the response was ?You?re asking because he can?t play. Why would we want him if you don?t??. And they were right. He couldn?t play.

… I think Danny has made so many deals with everyone because there?s no (expletive). No one feels like information is being withheld or that they are being lied to. That?s important in our business. You have to have trust and I trust Boston when making a trade.?

It’s been a while since Ainge has executed a trade ripe for debate. He and the Celtics explored a deal for James Harden, but the Houston Rockets ultimately moved the disgruntled superstar to the Brooklyn Nets.

Judging by the information in Smith’s column, it’s probably fair to assume Ainge brought a no-nonsense attitude to those negotiations.

Speaking of nonsense, that’s exactly what the Celtics put forth Sunday afternoon in their loss to the New York Knicks. Boston will look to rebound Wednesday when it is scheduled to visit the Philadelphia 76ers.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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