BOSTON -- One of the main reasons Danny Ainge has been reluctant to make any major changes to the Celtics roster the past couple of years, is because the team he assembled when healthy was good enough on paper to compete with the upper echelon in the NBA.
Not so much.
Compared to the past couple seasons, there’s a heightened level of uncertainty as to what this Celtics team is capable of and because of that, the specter of a potential trade looms a lot larger now.
Ainge, in a recent conversation at WBUR’s CitySpace, talked about the trade potential for this season.
“I don’t think our team is like a perfect fit,” Ainge said. “I don’t think Brad [Stevens] knows who his starting lineup is, who his first sub off the bench is, and what each guy is going to bring to the table.”
The Celtics lost a pair of All-Stars in Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn) and Al Horford (Philadelphia) to free agency.
Marcus Morris, a key reserve and part-time starter the past couple of seasons, signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the New York Knicks.
Boston also traded Aron Baynes to Phoenix.
With a clear lack of bigs, Boston signed Enes Kanter, who will likely be the team’s starting center to begin the season. They also re-signed Daniel Theis, along with 7-foot center Vincent Poirier from France, to join a big-man contingent that also includes second-year center Robert Williams.
Boston also selected Tennessee forward Grant Williams in the first round of the draft and signed 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall to an Exhibit 10 contract.
As far as what the new guys meshing with the returners will bring to the table, that’s going to be a process of sorts for sure this season.
Still, the X-factor in all this is the Celtics’ depth at the wing position which includes Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Beyond those three, the Celtics also have Semi Ojeleye, who can play both forward positions, 6-6 Romeo Langford, who was the Celtics’ lottery pick from in the draft, in addition to summer league standout Javonte Green, who has a partially guaranteed contract and is in the mix for Boston’s 15th and final roster spot.
Well aware of the team’s depth at the wing and dearth of proven talent in the frontcourt, Ainge admits that he might have to move one of his wings in order to shore up the team’s frontcourt.
“So the question is, do you trade for need or do you trade for talent?” Ainge said. “Because I think we have some really talented wings. And we have some uncertainty at the 4 [power forward] and the 5 [center]. So, let’s hope our fours and fives can play as well as we hope they can and we can keep our talented wings because we need a lot of them.”
Ainge knows trading players is a reality that comes with the job.
That doesn’t make it any easier, though.
“I invest a lot emotionally with the kids … trading is hard,” Ainge said. “Trading a player that you drafted, that you develop a relationship with, root for every second, get to know their families, that’s really hard. That’s a really hard process. But that’s just part of the job. It’s a hard job and that’s the hardest part of it, is trading away players. But ultimately we have to do what’s best.”
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.