Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on his weekly interview with The Big Show that the team put in a waiver claim on Jeremy Lin when he was cut by Golden State in December. The Rockets had priority on the waiver wire over the Celtics and won the claim, but Ainge said he didn't put in a claim when Houston waived the former Harvard star because the C's roster was set.
"We liked Jeremy Lin some but nobody could have predicted that he would be this good," Ainge said. "I always say it's an opportunity league. Not only did he get an opportunity to play, finally, but an opportunity to play in a system that does what he does best. I'm really happy for the kind. He really is a great kid. It really is a fun story."
As for his own roster, Ainge said that he was encouraged by his team's defense, but acknowledged that, "Our team has been very up and down, very inconsistent."
"Our offense has been under par," Ainge said. "We are turning the ball over too much and we're making a pretty good percentage of our shots, but the turnovers have really hurt is this year, again. We've shown signs of playing very good basketball against very good teams periodically, but not consistently. Our team, as it is right now, is not a team that we feel like is a contending team the way we're playing. And they have to step it up, and this road trip will be a very good test for us."
Ainge said that he's fielded less calls this years from teams seeking trades, which he said was a result of teams waiting to see where they stand. The trade deadline is March 15 and players who were signed in the offseason can't be traded until March 1. Ainge said that he has explored both long-term and short-term possibilities.
"I'm exploring opportunities for both, always. To help the here and now and to prepare for the future," he said. "A lot of it depends on the opportunities that are there. Right now, there's nothing in the works for the Boston Celtics. Doc Rivers likes our team. I talked with our four All-Stars recently, they all really like our team and they feel like they're better than they've been playing, and so, we'll see. These next few weeks will be big."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On Rajon Rondo's play: "We want to score no matter who scores. You have to take what the defense gives you and [against the Pistons] Rondo did a fantastic job taking what the defense gave him. The matchup was him on the post. The matchup was him getting to the hole. He shot a very good percentage, especially early in the game, he was getting to the rim. We need him to be aggressive if we're going to be a good team."
On Paul Pierce and Ray Allen: "I don't think [they] didn't have great nights simply because Rondo was scoring. They had tough matchups, they weren't able to create space when they did have opportunities and they didn't play their best games. Obviously the amount of shots that they get is going to be determined by the aggressiveness of Rondo, but we need Rondo to be aggressive. He was our easiest two points on most possessions and he did what he should do."
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