BOSTON — The names that Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge didn’t mention said all anyone needed to know about how he views the team’s future.
After trading up three spots to get Gonzaga 7-footer Kelly Olynyk in the NBA draft on Thursday night, Ainge described him as a complementary player who will fit in well with Rajon Rondo, Avery Johnson and Jeff Green.
No mention of the team’s biggest stars, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
“Can’t talk about it,” Ainge said when the omission was pointed out to him. But asked if there were any untradeable players on the roster, he said, “If Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were traded, I guess everybody’s tradable.”
According to a person with knowledge of the talks, the Celtics and Nets were nearing completion of a deal that would send Garnett and Pierce to Brooklyn along with Jason Terry in exchange for a package that included three first-round draft picks and three players. The Celtics would get Gerald Wallace, Tornike Shengelia and the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, according to the person, who confirmed the talks to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were to remain private.
The deal, which cannot be finalized until next month, would complete the breakup of the core that brought Boston its NBA-record 17th championship in 2008. The process began earlier this week when the Celtics traded coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a first-round draft pick in 2015.
Boston and Los Angeles had discussed a deal for Garnett, who has a no-trade clause but was expected to waive it to remain with Rivers. But NBA commissioner David Stern said coaches could not be dealt for active players – as opposed to draft choices – and nixed any future deals between the Celtics and Clippers.