Danny Ainge explains why the Celtics did nothing at the NBA trade deadline

The Boston Celtics were reportedly interested in nearly every player on the NBA trade market headed into Thursday’s deadline, yet when 3 p.m. ET rolled around, the Celtics stood pat.

There was no DeMarcus Cousins, no Paul George, no Jimmy Butler — heck, Boston didn’t even make a move for Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel. Instead, general manager Danny Ainge decided to sit on the Celtics’ stockpile of assets.

Shortly after the trade deadline, Ainge revealed his thinking (via the Celtics’ Twitter account):

“Ultimately, we had a lot of conversations, but nothing that was good enough to (make a) deal.

“We won’t put a ceiling on this team, but we haven’t seen the best of this team. Our whole team hasn’t been intact for many games.

“We put a lot of time and thought into this. We like what we have, we like our position and we like our future a lot.

“We’re trying to upgrade our team, but it is a delicate balance of short-term goals and long-term goals.”

That’s all well and good; the Celtics are in fine position with all of their young players and with Brooklyn’s picks over the next couple seasons. They can keep adding pieces to try to build a contender through the draft. Moreover, it seems the Pacers nixed any potential Paul George trade, rather than the Celtics, by asking for the sun and the moon for the All-NBA wing.

Still, seeing all of these big names on the market and watching Ainge pass over making a move has to sting for some Celtics fans. The Cavaliers are banged up and potentially vulnerable in the Eastern Conference. A Boston team built around George, Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford theoretically could have pushed Cleveland to its limits in the playoffs.

Instead, Ainge and the Celtics once again decided the best way forward was to try to wait out LeBron’s reign.