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Danny Ainge says potential blockbuster trades 'unlikely' this summer for Boston Celtics

Last summer, the Boston Celtics pulled off one of the biggest offseason trades in recent memory in acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Today, though, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he didn’t think a second such mega-trade would happen again this offseason.

Ainge spoke with reporters after the Celtics introduced their first-round Draft pick, Robert Williams, at the team’s practice facility. The Celtics have been rumored to be in the mix of teams pursuing trades for disgruntled San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. Boston has a treasure trove of assets — from its young players to future Draft picks — to facilitate trades.

ESPN’s Chris Forsberg was at today’s news conference and has more from Ainge and his viewpoint on this summer:

“If I feel like it’ll help our team — we explore every trade of players of certain magnitude or superstar, first-ballot Hall of Fame-type of players,” Ainge said Friday. “We’re going to take a look and kick the tires and see if there’s something there. But that’s all.

“I think those things are unlikely.”

“Yes,” Ainge said when asked if Boston is a title contender with this roster. “I felt like we were a title contender last year in training camp. I didn’t think we were the favorites, but I felt like we were a contender.”

Asked about how Boston’s collection of desirable assets invariably leads to the Celtics being lumped into a bevy of trade rumors, regardless of how serious Boston’s interest is, Ainge did lament having to then mend fences with players whose feelings are hurt by the suggestion they might be moved.

“I think that most of [the rumors are] false. Especially the details of it,” Ainge said. “And what I don’t like about it is I don’t like how names are just thrown around [in media reports]. [Reporters] probably don’t care about the names, and that’s your job is to make good stories and have things to talk about on the air. Most of it’s not true, but there’s sometimes bits and pieces of it that are true. So it’s not total lies but — I can’t call it fake news — but it’s complex.

“These are complex situations and I think that, just like [reporters] don’t like answering or having to respond to rumors, even though it does give you good programming, I don’t like it any more, having to deal with the players that are calling me and the agents that are calling me when their name is in a rumor that’s like just totally made up.”

Ainge also told reporters that the Celtics are not looking to fill a specific need in free agency (which begins on July 1). Instead, he said he and the rest of the front office are looking to find role players for the Celtics this summer.

On May 31, the Celtics were minutes away from their first Finals berth in eight years. However, they lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finalsto the Cleveland Cavaliers — a remarkable feat considering they reached that game without injured stars Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

Irving missed the final 15 games of the 2017-18 season and the entire playoffs to repair his left knee. Roughly a week ago, Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters he is hopeful that Irving could return to the court sometime in August.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.