When Celtics GM Danny Ainge came out after the NBA's trade deadline and said that he was very close on a deal to acquire a star player, it obviously drummed up plenty of interest.
Info Ainge gave me indicated #Celtics near-deal did NOT involve Horford, Howard, Griffin, Love or other previously reported stars.— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) February 19, 2016
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Ainge wouldn't say who that player was, and he wouldn't reveal the team that he said backed out of a trade at the very last minute. But now, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, we may have an answer.
That is not to say this isn't a team of talented players with very good attitudes that is very entertaining and can hang with some of the best in the league on given regular-season nights. But not even the most optimistic Greenheart believes this roster is ready to play in June.
Danny Ainge clearly doesn't. And that is healthy. It's why he spent the last several days trying to get the kind of magnetic player needed to lift the Celtics from the NBA's middle earth. While a league source has indicated the late target Ainge has referred to in radio interviews was Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor, Ainge has turned silent on the matter.
The biggest asset the Celtics have at the moment (assuming they don't want to give up a key player like Isaiah Thomas) is the 2016 first round draft pick that is coming their way from the Brooklyn Nets. The fact that they wouldn't part with it in exchange for Okafor doesn't necessarily mean that the team is planning on using it. But it does make you believe that Ainge and company feel like it can bring back even stronger offers when teams have a little more time to breath once the current season is finished.
As an aside, it seems fairly random and unnecessary for Ainge to boast about a deal that never took place. Boston is overachieving this season, so the fans wouldn't appear to be in need of reassurances that the team's GM is actually doing his job.