The Boston Celtics appear to be one of the most dangerous teams in the league moving forward thanks to a number of savvy moves that allowed them to compile a large pool of assets.
At this year's trade deadline, president Danny Ainge held back from pulling the trigger on any deals proposed to Boston, even though he reportedly came close. They were connected in rumors to a number of star players, including Dwight Howard, Al Horford, Carmelo Anthony, Jahlil Okafor, DeMarcus Cousins, and even Jimmy Butler.
A move might've benefitted them this season; the C's were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in six games. Still, rushing to improve things isn't in Ainge's nature, and simply getting out of the first round is far from the ultimate goal. Perhaps the asking prices from other teams were just too high as well
Now, Boston enters the offseason still holding all of their wealth. The time to move is coming, and Ainge can feel it.
“We look forward to every offseason,” Ainge said on Wednesday, via ESPN's Chris Forsberg. “This offseason is bigger.”
The primary piece that Ainge will likely center a deal around is the Brooklyn Nets‘ first round pick, which belongs to Boston. Currently, it's slated to land at number three overall in the lottery.
As he has since the beginning, Ainge is approaching this process with an open mind, and he admits that some luck could go a long way. From Forsberg:
“We need the ping-pong balls to bounce our way to give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said. “Whether we use that pick or whether we trade that pick, and in free agency, we have opportunities. And that's all we have.
“We have no guarantees of great things happening. We just have a lot of hope. And so we have a lot of work ahead of us, and we have to have plan A through Z. Usually it's more A through G, but we have A through Z this year just to have an opportunity to upgrade our team.”
Ainge has built a championship contender (and winner) like this before. In 2007, he landed both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, giving the Celtics a Big 3 (along with Paul Pierce) that won a title in their first season together. They made it back to the Finals in 2010.
Rather than watch their window close in Boston, Ainge was able to send Pierce and Garnett to Brooklyn to attain their highly coveted draft pick. Now, he's ready to strike once again.