Celtics News: Danny Ainge Says It Will Be 'Tough' to Make Trades at Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2019

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 14:  Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge looks on before action between the Boston Celtics and the LA Clippers at TD Garden on February 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge conceded the team is unlikely to make any moves ahead of the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline. 

"We're always looking to upgrade our team if those opportunities present themselves," Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich (h/t NBC Sports Boston's Darren Hartwell). "But I think that's going to be tough. As far as trading players, I don't really see much out there. We have a lot of good ones. It's hard to get better players than we have."

The Celtics are fifth in the Eastern Conference at 22-15, which is below where many expected the team to be at this point of the season.

Both Kyrie Irving and head coach Brad Stevens were critical of Boston's younger players—without naming anybody specifically—back in November, and the team held a closed-door meeting last month following a 120-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

In theory, a minor trade or two could help the Celtics get things back on track. As Ainge said, though, better alternatives aren't readily available on the trade market, and Boston doesn't want to overpay to improve in the short term while hurting its long-term outlook.

Anthony Davis is obviously the dream trade target, yet nothing indicates that's a realistic option at the moment. New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was adamant in December that Davis wasn't available, and the five-time All-Star hasn't publicly agitated for a move out of New Orleans.

Ainge has never been shy about wheeling and dealing, be it sending Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets, acquiring Irving or sending the 2017 No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. Perhaps he was being purposefully coy in the interview so as not to tip his hand about what the Celtics have in the works.

But nobody should be surprised if the weeks leading up to the trade deadline are quiet in Boston.


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