Ranking the best trades the Boston Celtics ‘almost’ made under Danny Ainge

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Boston Celtics team president Danny Ainge is the king of *almost* acquiring every available star on the NBA trade market.

If a star became available in the NBA over the past five years, the Boston Celtics almost certainly sniffed around at some point.

Armed with a cache of draft picks and promising prospects from his pillaging of the Brooklyn Nets in 2013, team president Danny Ainge could cobble together an enticing package for any star. However, he had to balance the urge to go all-in with a long-term team-building approach.

Ainge has made a few notable moves in recent years, including the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas at the 2015 trade deadline, trading down from the No. 1 pick in 2017 to select Jayson Tatum and flipping Thomas during the 2017 offseason in a package for Kyrie Irving. But he’s become notorious for the trades that he hasn’t made over the past few years, too.

Heading into the 2021 trade deadline, the Celtics are once again in a position to make a huge splash thanks to their record $28.5 million traded player exception from the Gordon Hayward deal this past offseason. But if Ainge’s recent history is any indication, they’re more likely to almost acquire a star than actually snag one.

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