The latest scoop comes from Mark Murphy of the Herald getting a quote out of Mr. Ainge himself regarding the team’s draft plans:
“We’re not trying to move up,” said the Celtics president of basketball operations, seemingly putting to rest a prevalent rumor that the team was attempting to package the 19th pick and Kendrick Perkins in an attempt to move into lottery range.
Instead, Ainge said, he is open to either moving down in the draft or out altogether – the latter option a move that could save them a scintilla of money for a veteran free agent.
Another league official, asked about the Perkins rumor, quashed the possibility, saying that it’s simply too difficult to move an injured player who is about to have surgery. A team spokesman said that the Celtics center could have surgery as early as tomorrow to repair a torn medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
A couple thoughts on this development, after the jumpZach covered the Perkins rumor this morning, noting it didn’t pass the smell test, so glad to see Danny straightened that out here.
The thing that catches my eye here though, is Danny considering moving out of this draft altogether. On the surface, this would make very little sense, given how few players the Celtics already have returning next year. However, it also opens up the possibility that Ainge may be serious about blowing this team up. The team COULD have some cap room, but a lot of stuff has to go down to make it happen. Sheed has to retire, and we Celtics fans would have to say goodbye to Ray Allen AND Paul Pierce. Then, and only then would the C’s have some real cap room to play with.
Still, I see this scenario as VERY VERY unlikely. It may be the fiscally sound move, but won’t make a Boston fanbase happy to see so many crucial components disappear after the team came up just four points short of Banner 18. If Paul is opting out, and him and Ray are looking for a monster payday, it may force Ainge to play this hand. You can bet he doesn’t want to though.
So pay very close attention to Danny’s moves tonight. He needs a couple diamonds in the rough in the mold of Leon Powe, Ryan Gomes or Glen Davis of the world if he still wants to contend this year. If he is dealing out of this draft, unless he gets a return of some guys that can help now, it might be start of some much bigger changes for this team in the next few weeks.
That’s something I don’t want to see, but Danny has shown he isn’t afraid to be bold if he has to be.