Making his weekly appearance on “The Big Show” Thursday afternoon, Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge discussed a number of topics, including how the team plans to try and replace the production of Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa, all three of whom have gone down with injury.
Ainge said the trade options are “much less” than they were prior to the injury streak, and added, “It’s going to be tough. We have a tough week ahead of us.” At the same, he noted the team would take advantage of the break provided with this weekend’s All-Star game and “explore trades and free-agent signings.”
One name that was floated as a possible signee is Delonte West, a free agent who has some experience in the Celtics system.
“Delonte is a player we certainly know, probably better than anybody in the NBA,” Ainge said. “And he’s on a list of guys we are looking at. We’re going to take this entire week during the All-Star break and explore trades and free-agent signings. We have a long list of players, and he’s on that list. It’s hard. It’s a difficult thing for players to not play basketball all year who haven’t played since last April and expect them to come in and be able to contribute.”
Here’s the entire Q&A:
On the options they have now being different than they were two years ago when three of your top players went down with injuries:
“Obviously, our options are much less. You know, I was really anxious to see the team play. When Rondo went down, obviously, it was a devastating blow, and I think that hurts because Rondo has been a terrific playoff player for us and … but I was anxious to just see, because Doc, from the beginning of the year, we’re going to trying to do some things different. We’re going to try — instead of running a similar offense when Rondo is off the court, we’re going to do some different things. And we still hadn’t seen much of that because Rondo had played so many minutes, but the team was really jelling and really playing well. But losing Jared [Sullinger] who, obviously when he plays, we’re just a better rebounding team and have an extra body in there to give Kevin rest. That was a big blow, and we immediately tried to figure out how we can replace Jared, and then, when Leandro went down, that was crushing because Leandro, every day in practice, is one of our best players. I watch him from my office and I look down there and he just lives in the paint. Just blows by guys and finishes shots and makes passes. And he’s been really good all year long. And he just hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. But there just aren’t people out there who are as good as those players. It’s going to be tough. We have a tough week ahead of us.”
You couldn’t have sensed what was going to happen to this team when Rondo went down. This team is playing better:
“No, listen. You can always survive the blow of [losing] one of your better players for a certain period of time. We never had to do it — I remember a couple of years ago when Scal started, like, 11 games for KG and he was one of the best plus/minus guys in the league. But Scal came in and in for a short period of time, and I think we went, like, 9-2. Our numbers were actually just as good at that moment. But there’s a big difference. Star players can do it over sustained periods of time, and … so sometimes, short samples can be deceiving.”
Danny Ainge: We have a tough week ahead of us when it comes to personnel decisions
WEEI Boston | Feb 15