The Boston Celtics were linked to just about every trade heading into the deadline. The team had the best resources to pull off a marquee deal at the deadline that could potentially make the team Eastern Conference contenders. Instead, the Celtics remained quiet and avoided deals that would cost them key draft picks. Most of those rumors were false to begin with, according to president of team operations Danny Ainge.
The Celtics own a first-round draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets that they refused to give up. The team showed interest in Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Al Horford, but everyone wanted that pick. Ainge came close to dealing the pick but ultimately pulled out of the trade at the last minute, according to Adam Kauffman of WBZ NewsRadio.
"We were very close," Ainge said, via 98.5 The Sports Hub. "I can't tell you the team or the name, but it was very close. It's something that we had been deliberating on for two days straight. The other team was doing that. And we were wrapping ourselves around a big package to do a deal. And at the very last minute, they just said they did not want to do it. They just backed out. It was a deal that was talked about, thought about, and that was probably the closest that we came."
ESPN's Chris Forsberg reported that the idea of acquiring Love or Griffin in the middle of the year was never true. The deal Ainge is likely referring to is the one with the Atlanta Hawks for Horford. They were the heavy favorites for most of trading period to get the center, but things ended up falling flat.
While the Celtics did not pull off a deal at the deadline, they will target big names in the offseason, even if it means getting a trade done. That could mean someone like Griffin or Love become targets once again, depending on how the playoffs pan out this year.
"...So we'll keep at it," Ainge said, via ESPNBoston.com. I feel good that we still have a lot of good young players, a lot of good young players on good contracts, a team that is playing really well, a great coach. And we have a lot of assets. So we'll just see how it goes next time around this summer."
Both Love and Griffin could be available this offseason if their respective teams do not make the playoffs. The postseason will determine whether or not certain teams shake up their rosters and that will be true for the Cavaliers and Clippers, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.