What should Danny Ainge do?That's been a constant refrain among Celtics fans who have watched Boston vastly underperform this season. Ainge has admitted his team needs to add pieces to become a championship contender, so he's aware something must be done. He also has a timeline -- the NBA trade deadline is Thursday, March 25 -- and the resources in a $28.5 million traded player exception.So, will Ainge pull the trigger for a starting-caliber player like Aaron Gordon or John Collins? It depends on the market, but Ainge's track record also offers clues. So, let's run through the most notable in-season trades Ainge has made since taking over as Celtics general manager in 2003.(Note: This isn't a complete list, but rather Ainge's most significant moves. Ainge has made a total of 24 in-season trades during his Boston tenure.)
Celtics receive: Ricky Davis, Chris Mihm, Michael Stewart and a 2005 second-round draft pick (Ryan Gomes was later selected)
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Tony Battie, Kedrick Brown and Eric Williams
Ainge's first in-season trade with the Celtics wasn't very popular at the time, as Davis had a reputation for selfish play. But this team wasn't going anywhere after Boston dealt Antoine Walker prior to the season, and Davis at least brought a little excitement to the C's over the next two-plus seasons.
Celtics receive: Antoine Walker
Atlanta Hawks receive: Tom Gugliotta, Gary Payton, Michael Stewart and a 2006 first-round draft pick (Rajon Rondo was later selected)
Two seasons without Walker was enough for Ainge, who brought the former Celtics star back after stints with the Mavericks and Hawks. The 28-year-old Walker averaged 16.3 points over 24 games for Boston down the stretch, but the Indiana Pacers sent the C's packing in the first round of the playoffs after a seven-game series.
Celtics receive: Dwayne Jones, Michael Olowokandi, Wally Szczerbiak and a 2009 1st round draft pick (Jonny Flynn was later selected)
Minnesota Timberwolves receive: Marcus Banks, Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Justin Reed, a 2006 2nd round draft pick (Craig Smith was later selected) and a 2008 2nd round draft pick (Nikola Peković was later selected)
Amid some dark times in Boston, Ainge ended the Ricky Davis experiment as part of a multi-player deal that benefited him down the road. The C's eventually flipped Szczerbiak to the Seattle SuperSonics as part of the 2007 Ray Allen trade that helped united the Big Three in Boston.
Celtics receive: Jeff Green, Nenad Krstić, cash and a 2012 first-round draft pick (Fab Melo was later selected)
Thunder receive: Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson
Was it the right move to part with Perkins, who was still feeling the effects of his devastating knee injury in the 2010 NBA Finals? Probably. Did that make losing Perkins any easier? Nope.
Said Kevin Garnett after the deal, "It feels like we lost a family member today."
Celtics receive: Brandon Bass
Orlando Magic receive: Glen Davis and Von Wafer
Big Baby's eventful, three-plus-season tenure in Boston ended via a sign-and-trade with the Magic, who gave Ainge a solid big man in return. Bass averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds over four seasons with the Celtics and helped bridge the gap between the Big Three and Brad Stevens eras.
Celtics receive: Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, a 2016 first-round draft pick (Guerschon Yabusele was later selected) and a 2016 second-round draft pick (Demetrius Jackson was later selected)
Dallas Mavericks receive: Dwight Powell and Rajon Rondo
With the post-Big Three rebuild in full swing, Ainge got decent value for Rondo and found a gem in Crowder, who played the best basketball of his career in Boston and was a key member of a gritty Celtics team that overachieved its way to the East finals in 2017.
Celtics receive: Tayshaun Prince and a 2020 1st round draft pick (Aaron Nesmith was later selected) from Memphis; Austin Rivers from New Orleans
Memphis Grizzlies receive: Jeff Green from Boston; Russ Smith from New Orleans
New Orleans Pelicans receive: Quincy Pondexter and a 2015 second-round draft pick (Branden Dawson was later selected) from Memphis
busy ahead of the 2015 trade deadline. After dealing Brandan Wright earlier in the month, he acquired Prince and Rivers while parting with Green in a three-team deal -- then traded both Prince and Rivers within weeks. More on that second Prince deal in a moment.
Celtics receive: Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix; Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko from Detroit
Phoenix Suns receive: Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round draft pick (Skal Labissière was later selected) from Boston
Detroit Pistons receive: Tayshaun Prince from Boston
Amid an underwhelming season, Ainge took a flyer on the Suns' undersized backup point guard. All that undersized point guard did was blossom into an All-Star in Boston, carrying the Celtics to three straight playoff berths -- including an East finals appearance -- with his scrappy play and fourth-quarter heroics. Thomas' Boston exit in 2017 was a bit messy, but this was a slam-dunk trade for Ainge.
Celtics receive: Cash
Atlanta Hawks receive: Jabari Bird
Why are we including this trade? Because it's the only in-season deal Ainge has made since 2015. So, if you're looking for fireworks ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, know that recent history suggests the Celtics may stand pat.