The Boston Celtics could have an easier time striking deals around the trade deadline now that Danny Ainge is no longer in the hot seat, according to NBA insider Steve Bulpett.
“I think there might have been some hesitancy with other teams with Ainge because he had a reputation for semi-swindling other teams. Other clubs did not want to be the one that was next in line to get talked about at the GM meetings,” Bulpett told Heavy.com’s, Sean Deveney.
Ainge, who come to be affectionately known as “Trader Danny” by many Celtics fans, had a reputation for finding trades that worked favorably in his team’s favor throughout his career as President of Basketball Operations.
While people fondly remember the deals to bring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston, GMs around the league would instead focus on how Ainge fleeced the Brooklyn Nets for their soul back in 2013. Or how Ainge found ways to add valuable role players to his team without giving up comparable talent. Somehow, someway, Ainge always came out of deals smelling of roses, and while it was good for Boston, it gave other teams cold feet during trade talks.
“I remember one guy who spoken about the opening, when there was an opening for GM after Billy King in Brooklyn, turned the job down because of what had happened before with Ainge and the deal for Pierce and Garnett and his line to me was that it was a cloud that was going to be tough to get out from under. He said he did not want to be Boston’s bitch for the next five or six years,” Bulpett said.
Stevens’ can Capitalize on Teams Renewed Willingness.
Now that Ainge is no longer running the show in Boston, teams will likely be more inclined to answer the phone. And as such, Stevens has a better chance of getting deals over the line than what Ainge did towards the end of his tenure.
Perhaps that’s evidence in the deals Stevens’ had already made, with the new head honcho making a flurry of moves before the season started, beginning with trading away Kemba Walker for Al Horford.
Or maybe, teams will see the new President of Basketball Operations as a sitting duck that’s wet behind the ears and can be taken advantage of. Because, as we all know, the NBA is a business, and that’s usually a polite way of saying, “people are cutthroat in this industry.”
Regardless of how teams view Stevens, if he can get other GMs to answer the phone and discuss deals, it will be a step in the right direction. Because sometimes, it’s better to be the new kid on the block than the wolf of Causeway Street, which is essentially what Ainge became known as throughout his time in the front office.
Celtics Linked to a Plethora of Deals
With the trade deadline fast approaching, the rumor mill is heating up, and the Celtics are at the forefront of most rumors. Whether it be a deal for Ben Simmons, or something smaller, like a Jalen Smith trade, Boston can’t escape the media merry-go-round.
And maybe that’s a good thing because, for all the discussions about teams being reluctant to trade with Ainge or taking advantage of Stevens, these rumors can act as a catalyst to other deals.
It’s easier to sit at a negotiating table and strike a deal for “player X” if the person sitting across from you believes you’re already considering “player Y.” Because everybody wants the best for their team. If you have a player that their opposing negotiator wants, they may quickly make a deal.
No matter what the outcome of the next few weeks turns out to be, we can rest assured that Stevens is making and taking calls to improve the Celtics. Hopefully, without a reputation as a con-man, he will get some deals that make sense for this roster both immediately and in the future.