Danny Ainge: 'Anticipate trade talks to heat up in mid-December'

Danny Ainge: 'Anticipate trade talks to heat up in mid-December'

BOSTON – The Celtics do not have an imminent trade on the horizon, but make no mistake about it, they’ll once again try to be active players in trade talks.

Such discussions typically don’t begin to pick up steam until after Dec. 15, which is the earliest teams can trade players signed in the offseason. 
Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations for the Celtics, acknowledged that he has had discussions with other teams about potential deals.
Still, conversations at this point mean little, with many centered around determining if certain players are even available. 
“There’s a lot of talk that leads nowhere and groundwork that leads to something,” Ainge said in his weekly conversation with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show. “Teams are still trying to feel what their team is, what direction they’re headed, what the mix is, the fit.”

And the Celtics are indeed one of those teams that he described. 
They began the season without Kelly Olynyk who was still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He has been able to play in Boston’s past 12 games. 

Boston then lost Al Horford for nine games with a concussion. Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million contract in the offseason, would later miss a 10th game this season due to the birth of his daughter Alia.
Throw in the ankle injury to Jae Crowder, which cost him eight games and limited him in at least a couple more, and it’s clear that the Celtics have no concrete feel for their team just yet. 
In terms of strengthening the roster, the Celtics’ greatest need right now appears to be finding an able-bodied rebounder.
One player whose name continues to pop up as a possible target for Boston is DeMarcus Cousins, whose Sacramento Kings will be in town on Friday night. 
It’s unclear just how interested the Celtics are in adding the All-Star center and whether Boston has enough of the right kind of assets to entice the Kings into doing a deal. 
But Ainge cautions that trade talks aren’t likely to take on a serious tone until the middle of this month. 
“[Now] It’s not the time of year where there’s a lot of activity for a lot of different reasons,” Ainge said. “From the middle of December through the middle of February, it’s really heated up and we anticipate our phones will be ringing.”

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

AP Photo

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

BOSTON -- As I made my way towards the Boston Celtics locker room following their 100-99 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, I walked past co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, who, as you might expect, was pleased with what he had just witnessed.
“That was a good one,” he said.
That’s one way to describe it.


But explaining the Houdini-like way the Celtics seem to get out of some serious jams over and over again, and against really good teams, is indeed a head-scratcher for most.
It’s getting to the point where we’re running out of fresh adjectives to describe this team, which has a knack for the comeback.
“Improbable” doesn’t do justice to how Boston’s hit-the-lottery luck has played out so often on nights when it seemed on the doorstep of defeat.
And this town loves a good comeback story, whether it’s Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl win after being down by 25 points, or the Celtics spotting the NBA champ Golden State Warriors a 17-point cushion before rallying for a meaningful November win -- a rarity in the NBA.
But the obscure and unexpected have become standard in this seemingly alternate basketball universe that the Celtics play in, one that we have been bearing witness to all season.

I mean, look at their body of work:

DECEMBER 18: Down by one on the road at Indiana in the closing seconds of play in what appears to be a tough road loss, Terry Rozier steals and races down the floor looking like Deion Sanders in high-tops, for a game-winning dunk.

DECEMBER 28: Trailing the Houston Rockets by 26 points in the third quarter, they rally back and steal the win with not one, but two offensive fouls drawn in the last minute by Marcus Smart against perennial league MVP candidate James Harden.

JANUARY 11: In London, they erased a 22-point deficit and defeated Philly.

FEBRUARY 4: There was a buzzer-beater by Al Horford to beat Portland on Super Bowl Sunday.

And . . . well, you get the idea.

Boston has six wins by a single point this season, which is tied with Miami for the season lead and is one shy of tying the franchise record for one-point wins in a season. 

In addition, Boston has won 10 games this season in which it fell behind by 12 or more points. 
Winning so many games under less-than-ideal circumstances has not only padded the Celtics' win total, but also reinforced this team with a Teflon-strong mindset. They believe they're tthe ultimate practitioner of basketball necromancy, consistently finding a way to rise up from the basketball graveyard of defeat and win in dramatic fashion.

Like they did Tuesday night against the Thunder.

How can you bank on Carmelo Anthony, a career 81.2 percent free-throw shooter, missing a pair with less than nine seconds to play?
Or botching the play Brad Stevens drew up at the end of the game -- "We kind of messed [it] up," said Jayson Tatum -- but, rather than it leading to a turnover, instead becoming a game-winning 3-pointer by Marcus Morris with 1.8 seconds to spare? 


 It was another crazy ending in what has been a season filled with bizarre finishes, jaw-dropping rallies and a never-say-it’s-over brand of basketball that has kept Celtics fans on the edge of their seats all season.
“It’s great to be in a situation where you’re down six with under a minute to play or whatever it was, and you find a way to win the game,” said Stevens. “That’s going to be pretty unique, but they just kept playing the next possession and we were fortunate that that shot went down. That was a heck of a shot by Marcus."
A heck of a shot?
But in this bizarro world of Celtics basketball this season, it was predictable as the Thunder became yet another team to play Boston and leave wondering the same thing most Celtics fans do … “Did THAT just happen?


Kevin Garnett predicts Marcus Morris' game-winner right before it happens

Kevin Garnett predicts Marcus Morris' game-winner right before it happens

Kevin Garnett was paying close attention to Tuesday night's thriller between the Celtics and Thunder.

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On KG's Area 21, the former Celtics great watched as Boston rallied in the game's final minute to make a stunning comeback. Right before Marcus Morris drilled the game-winner, Garnett called it by saying, "The Morris twin will end up shooting this or something because he like 'yeah I'm about the moment'"

Not a bad call. Morris certainly was "about the moment" Tuesday night as he has been multiple times this season.