Boston Celtics

Woj tells wild story about Danny Ainge's mix-up with Rondo trade

"I'm looking at this going, 'Holy s---.'"

NBC Universal, Inc.

There are scoops, and then there's what Adrian Wojnarowski received from Danny Ainge back in 2014.

The ESPN insider joined Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast Wednesday and was prompted to share a great story he had about one deal Ainge made as the Boston Celtics' president of basketball operations about 10 years ago.

Wojnarowski didn't disappoint, explaining the eye-opening text he received from Ainge shortly before the Celtics traded star point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in December 2014.

"So, they were getting ready to trade Rajon Rondo to Dallas," Wojnarowski began. "... And I texted Danny, 'Hey, I'm hearing from people -- I'm getting the sense that you're really starting to look to move Rajon. Give me a call; I want to catch up with you about it.'

"And no response, 15-20 minutes, half an hour, I get a text, and it says, 'Donnie' and it is a text with the terms of a Celtic-Dallas trade: possible names in it, picks. And I'm looking at this going, 'Holy s---.'

"He sent a text for Donnie Nelson, the Dallas GM -- he sent it to me by accident with like their back and forth on the trade and didn't realize (it)."

As Wojnarowski tells it, he agreed not to go public with Ainge's accidental text -- under one condition.

"I'm sitting there kind of looking at it going, 'I don't think this was meant for me,' so I just text him back, 'You owe me one,'" Wojnarowski said. "And then my phone rings and he is laughing hysterically, and I said, 'Just don't let me get beat on this whenever it gets done.' And I didn't."

That's quite the gaffe by Ainge, although it probably could have been much worse. (Imagine if he sent that text to a rival general manager instead?) And it sounds like Woj got his "scoop" anyway by eventually reporting the final trade: Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in return for Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick.

Ainge didn't exactly hit a home run with this trade -- only Crowder lasted more than a season in Boston, while that first-round pick eventually became Guerschon Yabusele -- but he made plenty of other shrewd moves in the following years, most notably drafting Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum at No. 3 overall in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

No word on how exactly Ainge paid his favor back to Wojnarowski, though.

Contact Us