Danny Ainge, the Boston Celtics president of basketball operations, says he offered the Charlotte Hornets too much for the ninth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft and is relieved upon reflection that the Hornets turned him down.
Ainge said he offered a wealth of draft picks (reportedly as many as four first-rounders) to move up, and woke up Friday morning happy the Hornets rejected the offer. The Hornets instead drafted Wisconsin power forward-center Frank Kaminsky.
“In hindsight, the next day, it’s probably a good thing,” Ainge said during an appearance on Boston radio station 98.5, The Sports Hub. “We were probably going to spend too much to do what we needed to do.”
When informed about Ainge’s comments Friday, Hornets general manager Rich Cho declined to comment.
Reportedly Ainge targeted Duke small forward Justise Winslow, who had been projected as a top-five pick. When Winslow was still available at No. 9, Ainge aggressively pitched a deal to the Hornets.
“This morning I woke up and I’m refreshed that we got guys that we like, but also that we didn’t overspend for some of the players that were in the draft; actually just basically one player we were chasing,” Ainge said.
After the Hornets selected Kaminsky ninth, the Miami Heat chose Winslow with the 10th pick.
Cho said before the draft he was exploring all sorts of trade scenarios – trade up, trade back, trade out of the first round all together – but declined to talk about specific offers or potential trade partners after the draft.
The Hornets chose to trade the draft rights to their second-round pick, small forward Juan Pablo Vaulet, to the Brooklyn Nets. Cho said the Hornets got back two future second-round picks and cash considerations. He said one of the factors in the decision to make that trade is that the Hornets already have 11 guaranteed contracts, plus Kaminsky, with a maximum of 15 roster spots.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell