When it comes to trades, no one is better at getting amazing returns than Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, aka "Trader Danny." At least that's been the case the past few years.
Everyone knows the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets was straight-up highway robbery. The Nets will be feeling that sting all the way to 2018, despite the fact that Pierce only played there for one season and Garnett was traded to Minnesota for Thad Young who has since opted out of his contract.
Ainge flipped Rajon Rondo to Dallas for some picks and fan-favorite Jae Crowder only to have Rondo essentially torpedo the Mavericks' playoff hopes. He sent Jeff Green to Memphis for a first rounder and some extra pieces and Green proceeded to pick up his $9.2 million player option after the season. That's almost $10 million in cap space the team preserved while also getting future assets back.
Most recently, Ainge snatched up Isaiah Thomas and his sweet, sweet contract at the trade deadline from the Suns for a Cleveland first rounder that shouldn't be very good at all. These are just a few examples of Ainge doing Ainge things. Blast his drafting all you want, but the dude can trade like no other.
The problem is rival execs have picked up on this and appear to be wary of getting screwed over by Ainge. It may not have been the reason Ainge couldn't snag the No. 9 pick in Thursday's draft, as Michael Jordan, aka the guy chasing Billy King for worst GM in the league, had a serious infatuation with Frank Kaminsky. But it could have been a factor with other teams, as Ainge has said he talked to pretty much every team drafting before him about potential deals.
Chad Ford discussed this on Friday's Grantland post-draft podcast.
Danny's got a reputation now as being a guy who's really smart so every time that he calls there's a bit of a "I don't want to get taken advantage of by Danny Ainge." Jerry West used to complain about that to me constantly when he was an executive. Jerry West became such a legend as an executive that anytime he would propose anything they would be like, "I don't want to be the guy that did a deal with Jerry West and got my butt kicked in the deal." It's like the pretty girl that nobody will ask out on a date because they're pretty sure they're going to get rejected. I think there's some of that going on with Ainge.
Ainge also went on Toucher & Rich Friday and this topic was brought up.
Toucher: We've talked to a lot of guys who cover the league and there's a belief that teams are unwilling or reluctant to deal with the Celtics because they think that you're trying to pull one over on them.
Rich: Brian Scalabrine actually said, and (Mike) Gorman, that there's a belief that you...bamboozle I think was the word. That you have a record of bamboozling teams.
Toucher: Are you a bamboozler Danny?
Ainge: I don't think so. I think that most of the deals we've made are fair deals for both teams. And they're risky and sometimes the risks work out, sometimes they don't. But whenever you're making a deal, I mean the guys in our league are good at what they do. The competition is fierce.
It would be very interesting to get all the execs together that have made a trade with Boston over the past few years and ask them candidly if they would like to undo that trade. If I had to guess, there wouldn't be too many who would keep things as they are now. While it's a nice problem to have, it's still a problem. On the other hand, Boston could have someone running the team who would rather draft a role player than haul in six draft picks.
@ericblaisdell13 Eric Blaisdell 6/26/2015 09:28:00 PM Tweet Edit