Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on WEEI Thursday afternoon. You can listen to the whole thing here.
Here are two key pieces of news that came out of the discussion.
Boston ‘monitoring’ Greg Oden
Ainge confirmed Ken Berger’s report that the Celtics are interested in Greg Oden, who, had the Celtics landed the #1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, might have led the Celtics… well… nowhere.
Oden’s been through three microfracture surgeries, the most recent less than a year ago, but in the short time he was healthy enough to play consistent minutes, proved himself a major rebounding force and paint-clogging presence with All-Star upside. Oden intends a return to the NBA for the start of next season and may be looking for a team to sign him for the remainder of this season in order to secure his services for the next.
“We’re monitoring Greg, like all the NBA teams are, but we have not attempted to sign him. But we are monitoring him and having [conversations] with his people just to see where he’s at.”
“I don’t think [he’d be able to play this year]” Ainge said. “I don’t know any of that for sure, but I would suspect that anybody that would sign him would have their eyes looking more towards his contribution in the future than now.”
Oden has previously been linked to Miami but given his still-tantalizing potential and the dearth of old school centers around the league, it may take a multi-year deal to lock him up. That would be a financial challenge for the Heat. Oden also constitutes a major health risk for any team willing to commit multi-year money to a player who doesn’t appear to have the constitution for full NBA seasons.
It will be interesting to see if the common wisdom around Oden — that he doesn’t intend to try and play this season — is true, or if there’s any possibility of him making an appearance sometime in the spring. There have been no concrete details about his conditioning, rehab or the general state of his body.
Barbosa might have requested a trade — or not
“I won’t lie to you. I’ve tried to get out several times, but Danny Ainge doesn’t want to let me leave,” Barbosa told ESPN Brazil. “He is a guy that I’ve admired in basketball for many years. I was supposed to have gotten a good contract from the Boston Celtics, but it did not happen. He’s not going to let me leave this way.”
Barbosa walked back that quote at practice Thursday afternoon and Ainge flat out denied the trade request on WEEI, indicating that he and Barbosa have had discussions about his role, but that no formal request for trade has been made.
“I think it’s been hard for him not to get an opportunity to play as much as he’s wanted, but we have said from the beginning, even before he signed here, that minutes might be difficult to come by, because we were deep at that position, and he still chose to come here.”
Ainge went on to compliment Barbosa’s play and implied, as it typical in these situations, that Barbosa would eventually get a chance for extended minutes.
However, Boston remains deep at the guard position and thin upfront so Barbosa’s prospects range from a regular role in the rotation to being included in a trade package, depending on which way Ainge decides to take this roster in the approach to the February 21st trade deadline.