Report: Danny Ainge was "active" on the trade market this summer

For the Celtics, the 2014 offseason will be remembered more, at least in the short term, for what didn't happen instead of what actually did.

The team made a couple great draft picks, in terms of potential, with Marcus Smart and James Young, re-signed Avery Bradley, picked up a versatile wing on the cheap in Evan Turner and made a couple smaller trades to help further Boston GM Danny Ainge's quest for all the assets on the planet. But fans wanted more.

There was an All-Star to be had in Kevin Love and the Rajon Rondo trade rumors were flying faster than a Bradley backdoor cut. The team had, and still has, draft picks up the wazoo to deal for someone special. Something big could have happened. The Celtics could have had a new superstar to pair with their own perennial All-Star to get right back in contention or they could have shipped out their star for assets and finally, truly hit the reset button.

Instead, Boston essentially stood pat with no serious swing either way. According to Steve Bulpett at the Boston Herald, the issue wasn't that Ainge was sitting on his hands, it was that elusive dance partner that he just couldn't seem to find.

According to multiple NBA sources, it wasn’t from lack of effort.

“Boston was in the game,” said one opposing general manager. “Danny (Ainge) can get hard-headed about some things, but he was open to talking. He was active.”

Alas, there wound up being nothing that made sense from a shamrock point of view.

Bulpett also throws more cold water on those Love-to-Boston dreams.

Actually there was, but, as was pointed out here, the Celtics were never in contention to acquire Kevin Love. It’s uncertain why that is so hard for some to accept, but the Timberwolves at no time believed they wouldn’t get better than the future picks behind Door No. 3 and the young, developing player or two the Celtics could offer.

It’s rare that an impact player gets shaken loose, as was the case with Love, who informed the Wolves he would opt out next summer. It was also the case when the same franchise decided it needed to move Kevin Garnett seven years ago.

In the latter situation, the Celtics had the goods Minnesota wanted (a package led by Al Jefferson). In the former, they did not.

Ainge went out there to see what he could snag and came up empty. We know the results, but it's encouraging to know that this roster, and all its ambiguity, was not meant to be part of the game plan. It's also good to know that Ainge isn't in the business of getting bamboozled by making a bad trade just to pull off those coveted "fireworks."

Some could see it as a knock on Ainge that he wasn't able to accomplish what he wanted or a slight against the team's supposed "assets" that other teams weren't so high on them. But times are always changing. A pick that didn't seem so great a few months ago could increase in value as it becomes clearer what that pick could land. Injuries happen all the time. Players get frustrated with their teams and want out. A certain strategy a team implements could implode and they could be more eager to hear offers. The NBA trade market is a fluid, fickle mistress.

So here we sit. Still on the fence between playoff contention and cellar dweller. Expect more reports of activity as the season gets closer to the trade deadline. At the very least, we'll know where this team is going by next summer. Maybe then there will be some "oohs" and "aahs."

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