Ainge: Celtics taking calls on Rondo, Green, others; "not realistic" for team to sign free agents right now

The Celtics introduced rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson this afternoon, and as part of the press conference Danny Ainge fielded questions from the media.

Of course, with all due respect to the rooks, almost all of the questions revolved around the C's going all in on a rebuild. Ainge couldn't speak in detail about the KG/Pierce deal due to it not being official until July 12th. However, Ainge did speak about the rest of the roster, saying the team has fielded calls on many players over the past week.

So to refresh, the team has received calls on Rondo, Bradley, Green (all make sense), and Bass and Lee (huh?). I mean, the Celtics are basically in roster lockdown until the 12th because of all of the intricacies of the mega-deal, but the moment it goes through I really hope Ainge returns any and all phone calls surrounding Lee and Bass. Considering their talent level (average) and contract status (overpaid) it's hard to imagine teams wanting to take them without receiving something additional in return (possibly 1st round picks, Bradley, Sullinger, ect), but if Ainge's main goal is to trim salary..dealing the Bass-Lee duo is now at the top of the list.

As for the Celtics bringing in any free agents..don't hold your breath.

As previously mentioned, the team is somewhat stuck until all of the details of the KG-Pierce deal are known on the 12th (remember..the Celtics may acquire a trade exception), and once that deal goes through the C's will still be well over the salary cap, making any major signing impossible.

That doesn't mean the Celtics have no hope at landing a big time talent this summer, but they would rely entirely on a sign and trade to get it done.

The question now becomes, does Ainge try and acquire a 2nd level star like Josh Smith? Or does he truly try and bottom out, dealing guys like Rondo and Green in an effort to shed salary (Bass and Lee) and acquire more cost controlled talent and future first round picks?

To be honest, I don't think Ainge has an ironclad plan at the moment, and that's actually a good thing. He should be keeping his eye on ways to both add premier talent (S&T possibilities) while also testing the market on Rondo, Green and others.
Should the Celtics go all in for Smith?

If a team gives up a good young player and a 1st for Rondo while taking on Bass and/or Lee, it would be insane for Ainge not to listen. At the same time, being committed to trade Rondo, a premier talent himself, is just as ridiculous. Make someone blow you away.

On the flip side, going all in for a guy like Smith is not ideal. Giving up assets (picks, expiring deals, maybe a young player) for the right to pay JSmoove $70+ million over 4 years just isn't the best way to get back to being a title contender. But if you can get Smith for (relatively) cheap, say 4 years and $60 million, and it only costs you Humphries and a 1st (I see this as unlikely), he should jump all over it.

So what is it I'm saying? Well I guess it's this — we don't have any freaking clue what direction this team is going to go in — and that's a good thing. Rushing into any decision and having a pre-mediatated "focus" is bad business. There are a lot of dumb people running NBA franchises, and Ainge should be keeping all of his options open on how to take advantage of that.

h/t to Jay King, Scott Souza and A. Sherrod Blakely for the tweets


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