Danny Ainge is being patient, and still building a contender

Building a contender in today's NBA is a very difficult endeavor. Celtics GM Danny Ainge has already done it once in Boston, and he's on the verge of creating another powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. He's not quite there yet, and he's still looking for ways to put this team over-the-top. Via Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer:

“We’re trying to find deals. And sometimes you have to make small deals in order to be able to have big deals,” Ainge said. “You have to put yourself in position with good young players and good contracts and future assets. It puts us in the game if there’s a player that becomes available in the trade market, but they have to like those young players and assets,” he continued. “In the meantime, we’re not sitting around and waiting for something like that to happen. We’re trying to make something like that happen, but we’re not just chasing every player out there.”

Most Celtics fans were hoping that Ainge was going to pull the trigger on a deal back in June during the draft, particularly one for Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler. Although Danny was in talks with Chicago up until the very last moments leading up to the C's first selection in the draft. No deal was made, and Ainge has clarified that he's not willing to overpay for someone just to make a move:

“When you make mistakes is when you say you have to do something,” Ainge explained. “There’s a lot of names out there that we’ve talked with about trying to acquire, but we wouldn’t pay the price. We’re prepared to build on what we have if that’s the best path.”

Celtics majority owner Wyc Grousbeck seems to be on the same page:

“If there’s a mega-trade in the future, great. Otherwise we’ve got room for a max free agent this summer,” Grousbeck said. “I like where the team is but I feel that we are a significant step below where we need to be. … There’s more to do, and we’re not kidding ourselves that we’re there yet.”

“Our goal is clear, which is Banner 18,” Grousbeck said. “Sometimes there may be quick ways that can accelerate us there. Other times you have to be patient or slow.”

So far the early returns on being patient have looked promising. Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown, albeit it's only been preseason action, has looked very impressive on the court, and fans are eager to see how quickly he can develop into an impact player on this team.

Ainge's magic working the C's back into a viable team, and not selling the farm in the process has not been lost on his colleagues throughout the league. Blazers GM Neil Olshey has never seen anything like it:

“Nobody has ever done it better in the history of the league than how Danny did it, ever. Nobody’s ever done that,” Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey told NBA TV’s Open Court this summer. “It’s unprecedented, the assets, from where that team would’ve been in 18 to 24 months and what it is back to today.”

It's going to be an exciting year for Celtics fans. The team looks primed for a deep playoff run, and the prospect of a big deal from Trader Danny will be looming all they way up to the trade deadline. Buckle up, the season tips off in two days.

Photo Credit - Matthew J. Lee, Boston Globe

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