It’s funny how much of a difference a week, a five game-winning streak, and Avery Bradley makes. It seems like just yesterday that trade chatter had got an early start in Boston thanks to a 14-17 start that was worse than the record even indicated. With Bradley back now and the team playing with a newfound energy leading four solid wins over NBA playoff teams within the last week alone, that chatter has been quieted for the time being, not just amongst Celtics fans, but the C’s President of Basketball Operations himself, Danny Ainge.
Here are some revealing comments from Danny to Gary Washburn in today’s Boston Globe:
“I think over the next five weeks a lot will be told,” he said. “I feel like we don’t have any glaring needs when we’re playing the way we’re playing. Everyone’s playing their role; whether they’re playing well all the time is not as much of a point if they are accepting a role and giving an honest day’s worth of work.”
With Bradley back and Chris Wilcox practicing Sunday for the first time in three weeks, the Celtics are nearing full health. Ainge said he doesn’t feel the need to tinker with the depth of his roster.
“We just need to keep flexibility in case something does happen,” he said. “Right now we don’t have a real need and we have players like Jason Collins and Leandro Barbosa who we really like and are hardly playing, so I don’t really see a need to bring someone else in, at least at this moment. We’re happy with our roster and we’re looking for improvement but we feel like we have plenty of bodies and Chris Wilcox should be back in not too long. I don’t think there’s any need to bring in someone right now to sit on the end of our bench.”
Doc Rivers echoed that same kind of sentiment yesterday at practice when asked about whether there would be any potential additions on the horizons to the team’s two open roster spots.
“We’re always looking for big men,” Rivers said. “If there were bigs out there, there would be a long line of teams looking. There’s not a lot. I’m comfortable.”
So what do we make of the timing of this talk? Perhaps Ainge decided now would be a good opportunity to quiet some of the Paul Pierce speculation that surfaced Friday thanks to Ken Berger’s report. Whatever the case may be, Ainge has plenty of reason now to remain patient as the team he envisioned last summer, put together through some creative dealings and numerous re-signings, is coming to fruition. It took 30 games, a crucial missing piece (Bradley) and some trying times but right now the team is there and could be for awhile longer with a soft home-heavy schedule over the next few weeks.
With that said, no matter what happens over the next month of the regular season, the question will still remain about whether this team has all of the needed parts to make a run back to the Eastern Conference Finals. For the time being, the ship has been righted, meaning you can certainly count out any deals involving the team’s foundation pieces. The question now will remain whether the C’s will fill their openings with a deal to tinker with a team need (a big, another offensive weapon?) or if Danny will be content to try to add a helpful piece via roster buyouts after the trade deadline hits.
The one x-factor here undoubtedly is the team’s health. With Chris Wilcox back, this team is at full strength this deep into the season for the first time in the long time. It’s a luxury Rivers has rarely been afforded over the past five years. For now, we get to continue to watch what he can do with the most talented roster he’s had in years, wondering if another move will need to be made.