With the NBA Draft just five days away, Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, expects to retain both first-round selections.
Danny Ainge on keeping their two 1st-round picks: “Yeah. That’s probably the most likely scenario that happens…” #celtics
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) June 21, 2014
It’s hard to fully believe anything Ainge says. He’s the king of the smokescreen. Remember last year when Ainge said the trade talks between the Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers were off? Not too far after those comments, Doc Rivers was the head coach and vice president of basketball operations for the Clippers and the Celtics were holders of two future first-round drafts picks.
This time the stakes could be higher. With few assets in regards to player personnel, the Celtics only impressionable trade assets are the 6th and 17th. If Ainge still has his sights on landing Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, or any other big name that could become available on draft night, those picks–along with others from the future–will be the cost of acquiring one of those talents.
Of course, if there’s no deal on the table, then the Celtics will be cornered into keeping their picks. With the possible landscape of the 2014 Draft, the Celtics could walk away with a decent coup, especially if Joel Embiid falls to the sixth pick after a broken foot has deteriorated his draft stock. If Ainge isn’t keen on selecting Embiid, it’s possible Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, and Julius Randle could be available. And with the 17th pick, there will be a nice group of forwards available for the team.
It’s easy to for Ainge to say he’ll keep his picks now, especially with the Wolves and Warriors amidst a deal centered around Kevin Love and Klay Thompson, but if something interesting becomes available, Ainge won’t hesitate to move those first-round picks.