WASHINGTON – Like the rest of the basketball world, Danny Ainge saw teams make dramatic changes to their roster (Cleveland) while others such as themselves, stood pat.
There are several reasons why Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, didn’t pull the trigger on any trades prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. EST trade deadline.
But there’s only one reason that matters.
“There were no good deals,” Ainge told NBC Spots Boston analyst Brian Scalabrine. “So we stayed pat. We like our team and can’t wait.”
Boston (40-16) has had the best record in the Eastern Conference for most of this season, an accomplishment even more mystifying when you consider the Celtics are one of the NBA’s youngest teams.
But that lack of experience hasn’t gotten in the way of winning yet.
And knowing how good players at an early age tend to appreciate in value to their respective clubs in time, Ainge was not nearly as motivated as some front office executives to shake up his lineup going forward knowing the potential for adding players might disrupt the steady improvement he has seen with the team’s youthful players such as Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and rookie season Jayson Tatum.
“Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Rozier and (Marcus) Smart, those guys are all 23 and under,” Ainge said. “And yeah, these are, I wanna see them play.
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Ainge added, “We’ve got some big decisions in our franchise going forward with those young guys and and we love them all and they all bring something different to the table and we have a lot of confidence in them but yeah, bringing in other players can jeopardize their growth and development.”
The most talked-about Celtic leading up to the trade deadline that was thought to be on the move, was Marcus Smart.
The fourth-year wing is out with a right hand laceration injury he suffered when he punched a glass picture frame which led to a cut that required 20 stitches to close.
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Both Smart and the Celtics say he’s not likely to return to the lineup until sometime after the All-Star break.
As far as Smart being on the move, Ainge said “there’s conversations about all of our players on the roster trade season, off-season. That’s just part of the business. That’s our job, but I never really thought that that (trading Smart) was gonna happen.”