Danny Ainge isn't beating around the bush. He knows the 2020-21 Boston Celtics might need an upgrade (or two) if they want to compete for an NBA title.
When asked Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" if this team as currently constituted is good enough to win a championship, the Celtics' president of basketball operations responded, "I do not."
And does Ainge still believe Boston needs to add another player or two, as he alluded to earlier this month?
"Yes. Yeah, I do."
Ainge is armed with a $28.5 million traded player exception from his Gordon Hayward deal with the Charlotte Hornets, and there are plenty of quality players the Celtics could target with that asset. They could use the help sooner rather than later, too: Boston has lost five of its last seven games and is 14-14 after starting the season 8-3.
The March 25 NBA trade deadline is still more than a month away, however. And Ainge suggested Thursday that Celtics fans clamoring for a deal may have to be patient.
"Right now, the most likely time is right before the trade deadline as I tried to explain," Ainge said. "That’s the time. Not today, because those deals aren’t there today.
"A lot of teams are still in it. They’re not sellers. In a month from now, there may be a different perspective. But we’re looking to do deals all the time."
To Ainge's point: With the exception of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons, every NBA team is either in a playoff spot or within four games of the No. 8 seed. So, as C's fans wonder what it would take to land Kings veteran Harrison Barnes, it's worth noting that Sacramento is just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot and may not have officially decided it's a seller.
Trade deadline sellers will emerge soon enough as March 25 draws near, and teams could wave the white flag even if they're technically within striking distance of a postseason berth. But aside from a few exceptions so far this season -- Derrick Rose to the Knicks, Kevin Porter Jr. to the Rockets and James Harden to the Nets -- we likely won't see deals go down until after the March 7 All-Star Game.
That means more time for Celtics fans to ponder over who Ainge should add to get his team out of its current rut.
"Our roster is obviously not good," Ainge added. "We are a 14-14 team, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. That’s who we are."