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 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 tradeable.”
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 final piece involved Garnett approving the deal by giving up the no-trade clause in his contract and The Boston Globe and ESPN, among others, reported late Thursday night that he agreed to do that.
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. But 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.
Instead the Celtics talked to Brooklyn. The inclusion of Pierce, who is due $15 million next season, and the possibility of swapping a rebuilding team for a contender encouraged Garnett to go along.
“I think we’re in a much better place than we were when I got here 10 years ago,” Ainge said. “Our objective is to do it less painfully and to do it with more speed.”
Ainge sent the No. 16 pick and two future second-rounders to the Dallas Mavericks to get Olynyk. Olynyk averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field while leading Gonzaga to a 32-3 season.
Ainge said Olynyk was athletic, playing quarterback for his high school football team.
The Celtics didn’t have a second-round pick, but the Indiana Pacers used their selection on center Colton Iverson of Colorado State, then traded him to Boston for cash.
A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed the transaction after midnight Thursday.
Iverson is a 7-foot, 255-pound center who was taken 53rd overall. He started his career at Minnesota. Last season, after transferring to Colorado State, he led the team in scoring with 14.2 points and rebounding at 9.8.