Celtics Make Decision on Jazz Trade: Sources

Danny Ainge

Getty General manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics attends a game.

Former Boston Celtics‘ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has been busy with his new team, the Utah Jazz, this offseason. After falling to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2022 Playoffs, the Jazz have orchestrated trades that sent out Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell for young players and draft assets. After the Mitchell trade was completed, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that the Jazz have other veterans whoa re coveted assets around the league.

So, could the Celtics themselves get in on the Jazz’ firesale? An Eastern Conference executive recently revealed to Heavy’s Sean Deveney whether the Celtics could get involved.

“No, because Danny wants picks, and I am not sure the Celtics are going to give up any more picks. They traded first-rounders in both of Brad’s first two years, and they traded their pick next year.”

The executive added that the Celtics may be hesitant to part with more first-round picks because of their long-term outlook.

“In 2025, you will have Smart, White, and Brogdon all just about at the end of their deals, and they’ll all be in their 30s. You are going to need to restock the roster. They’ve been willing to trade picks now because their guys are all in their prime years. That’s going to come to an end, and they’ll need picks to deal with that.”

The executive also revealed one Jazz player who he could see joining the Celtics, but not via trade.

“I could see them maybe looking at Rudy Gay at some point if he gets bought out, which I think will happen. But he’s 36, and they’ve been trying to find young veterans, so even there, that’s not their first choice.”

Other Executives Not Happy With Ainge

Multiple executives were not happy with what Ainge managed to get for Mitchell and Gobert, according to Heavy’s Steve Bulpett. One wondered how long it would take for the trade market to return to normal.

“Those trades aren’t real,” one general manager told Bulpett. “I mean, I guess they ARE real because they [expletive] happened, but whoa … It’s going to be interesting to see how fast things get back to normal after this — if they do.”

Another executive was not looking forward to how other teams would approach trades thanks to Ainge’s work.

“I’m just dreading all ridiculous stuff people are going to be asking me for now before we can get down to real business.”

One league source did not like the package the Timberwolves gave up for Gobert.

“For Minnesota, man, that’s a reach. Even if they’re a lot better, it’s hard to see them winning the West with all those teams ahead of them. And then they’re going to look down in a couple of years and see they have no picks.”

Ainge Said Jazz Players Did Not Believe in Each Other

On September 12, Ainge explained in a press conference that he made the moves he did because he did not believe they played as a unit.

“What I saw during the season was a group of players that really didn’t believe in each other,” Ainge said, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. “I think individually they have resolve. I just don’t believe that collectively they did. So we saw a lot of players trying to do it on their own, as the belief in one another wasn’t as great as other teams I’ve been on and around.”

The Jazz have made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, dating back to the days when they had Gordon Hayward in 2017. By trading away their two best players, they have signified that they are starting from scratch.

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