Danny the Gunslinger? Depends on the Year

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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BOSTON – Many consider Danny Ainge to be a gunslinger of a general manager.

That being said, it doesn’t mean he’s always ready to pull the trigger.

Ainge is the definition of patient when it comes to making trades. If he doesn’t get the offer he wants, he won’t make a deal. It’s as simple as that.

“You want ‘Player X’?” he might ask an opposing general manager. “Well then, you better give me ‘Y’ in return. If not, feel free to lose my number until the offseason.”

Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline will mark the 12th since Ainge took over the reigns of Boston’s basketball operations group. The numbers suggest that Ainge is nearly as probable to sit tight this week as he is to make a deal.

Ainge has completed a trade at or around only six deadlines during his tenure with the Celtics. That leaves five quiet deadlines, with this year’s looming just days away. Below is a summary of the deadline activity Ainge has taken part in since being named president of basketball operations for Boston on May 9, 2003.

2004 Deadline – Exchanging of the Guards

Ainge’s 2004 deadline deal didn’t really affect the Celtics much, but it did affect one of the league’s elite teams. He agreed to terms on a three-team deal with Detroit and Atlanta that landed Mike James with the future Eastern Conference champion-Pistons.

Boston acquired guards Chucky Atkins and Lindsey Hunter in the deal, as well as a future first-round pick and cash. Chris Mills, meanwhile, was sent to the Hawks.

2005 Deadline – Bring Back ‘Toine

Antoine Walker came back to Boston at the 2005 deadline. Ainge, who had previously traded the fan favorite to Dallas on Oct. 20, 2003, reacquired the forward from Atlanta on Feb. 24, 2005.

Boston surrendered some big names in that deal, but none of those players were in their prime. Tom Gugliotta, Gary Payton and Michael Stewart went to Atlanta, along with a future first-round pick (which was reacquired in a separate deal at the 2006 Draft).

Ainge also completed a roster-clearing move at the 2005 deadline. He traded Jiri Welsch to Cleveland in exchange for a 2007 first-round pick.

2006 Deadline – No Trades

Ainge did not take part in any deadline deals.

2007 Deadline – No Trades

Ainge did not take part in any deadline deals.

2008 Deadline – No Trades

Ainge did not take part in any deadline deals, as his 40-11 Celtics were well on their way to an NBA title. There was no need to exchange players while potentially harming team chemistry.

2009 Deadline – Clearing Roster Space

There wasn’t much that Ainge needed to do at the 2009 deadline. He had already created a superpower that had won the title the previous season. All he wanted to do was clear roster space for potential buyout signings, which he did on Feb. 19, 2009.

Ainge traded away Patrick O’Bryant to Toronto in a three-team trade. Toronto sent Will Solomon to Sacramento as part of the deal, while the C’s received a conditional second-round pick from the Kings.

2010 Deadline – Boosting the Bench

Doc Rivers always used to appreciate a bulk scorer off the bench. He used to say that such a player would win a team at least one game during the postseason. Maybe that’s why Ainge went out and acquired guard Nate Robinson.

Boston acquired Robinson and Marcus Landry from New York for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker. None of the players whom Ainge surrendered in that deal made any noise in the league, and none of them remain in the league at this time. Robinson, meanwhile, served his purpose and played a key role off the bench as the Celtics made it to Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

2011 Deadline – Ainge Makes Some Noise

Ainge completed a flurry of trades at the 2011 deadline as he attempted to fortify his team, led by the Big Three and Rajon Rondo, for another championship run. His first move was a blockbuster, with the final two merely serving as moves to manage roster space and salary.

The C’s shocked the basketball world by acquiring Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a future first-round draft pick on Feb . 24, 2011. In order to complete the trade, Ainge agreed to surrender a fan favorite, Kendrick Perkins, as well as Nate Robinson. Green would go on to become the heir to the starting small forward position after Pierce left Boston.

Marquis Daniels, Semih Erden and Luke Harangody were also shipped out of town at the 2011 deadline. Daniels, who had recently injured his neck and spine and was likely out for the season, was dealt to Sacramento in exchange for a heavily protected second-rounder. Erden and Harangody went to Cleveland for a future another second-round pick.

2012 Deadline – No Trades

Ainge did not take part in any deadline deals.

2013 Deadline – A Deal for Crawford

Similar to his 2010 acquisition of Nate Robinson, Ainge eyed an offensive sparkplug to come off of the bench and help the C’s make a title run in 2013. His man was Jordan Crawford, formerly of the Washington Wizards.

Crawford came over to the Celtics from Washington in exchange for an injured Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins. The guard would spend a year with the C’s, filling in admirably for an injured Rajon Rondo to start the 2013-14 season, before being dealt away to Golden State in January of 2014.

2014 Deadline – No Trades

Ainge did not take part in any deadline deals.