Let’s catch up on a couple of notables from recent days. Speaking with Gary Washburn of the Globe, Danny Ainge tempered some of the early season playoff dreams Celtics fans might have after Boston’s better than expected start. Here’s your bucket of cold water:
If the Celtics reach the playoffs, their own first-round pick will be no higher than 15th, meaning they would fall out of the lottery and likely would miss out on a chance to draft franchise player. Ainge said he hasn’t thought about the Celtics making a playoff push.
“I don’t know, because there’s too many variables, it’s just not that simple,” he said about the postseason. “Making the playoffs is not a goal. I need to explain that a little bit. If there’s a bunch of teams that are just injured and playing and you finish five, six, or seven games under .500 and you made the playoffs just because of that, that might not be such a great thing. I’m only concerned about how our players are playing, and if it so happens we make the playoffs and we earn our way and our guys are getting better, then I’m thrilled.
“We’re not excited about being 10-14. That doesn’t bring excitement to anybody, but progress does.”
The key message here is Danny Ainge is not going to add parts to this team in hoping of advancing its position for this season unless they also fit into his long term plan. He’s not buying the fool’s gold of the standings, given the team is still under .500 and is, by record, the 18th best team in the league. This is a good thing.
With Crawford, there may already be a suitor in pursuit. Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News suggests he could end up joining another ex-Celtic guard in Miami:
Miami is looking to deal for a young wing player who can score and take some of the load off Dwyane Wade. A few GMs have identified Boston’s Jordan Crawford as a player the Heat will go after in the coming days/weeks.
Miami doesn’t have a lot that would obviously interest Boston, but Ainge could probably get past his aversion to sending a player to a conference “rival” (to the extent Boston still has any rivals) if the return was strong. Miami could also try and draw a third team into the mix to get Boston an asset they’d find appealing, or include a future draft pick.
Crawford has been fun this year, but selling high is not a bad idea because he doesn’t project to be in Boston next season unless Ainge moves Rajon Rondo this season, in which case the PG role is open and Crawford could fit the short-term bill. His shot-creation and shooting skills make for an appealing package if you believe he’ll continue to play this consistently. But it’s his immediate allure — a low-cost PG with an 18.55 PER — that may make him, ironically enough, expendable. Simply because Miami won’t be the only team looking for a scoring upgrade at the guard spot between now and the deadline. And future assets may make more sense than present ones for Boston, especially if Crawford is not the only guy on his way out of town.