Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, knows the roster needs help but is unsure if he’ll be able to make a trade that improves the team. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

After watching his team lose 14 of its last 21 games, Danny Ainge knows the Boston Celtics need some help.

Whether the Celtics’ president of basketball operations will find it ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline remains to be seen. Ainge admitted in a radio interview Thursday – after a 127-112 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday night – that while Boston has come close to making deals already to improve the roster, he’s not sure if and when the team will pull the trigger on a trade next month.

“I don’t have those answers and it’s probably not the time that it’s going to be answered,” Ainge said. “It’s rare that trades get done (not close) to the deadline. We’re talking and we’re trying to do some things. We’ve been close a couple times. Time will tell.”

Boston has lost three straight and fell to 15-17 after Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Hawks, even with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum being named to the All-Star team this week. Ainge says the priority remains improving the supporting cast around that duo.

“I think we need to surround them with more scoring off the bench,” Ainge said. “We need guys to play with more swagger and confidence that aren’t subservient to Jaylen and Jayson. They will go out and play their game also and let it go.”

Boston continues to hold a $28.5 million trade exception created this offseason by the departure of Gordon Hayward, but the team’s recent downturn has also opened up the question of whether this current roster is worth investing in with a deal, something Ainge admitted is being debated behind the scenes.


“Those are good questions and those are things we talk about every day from the offseason to the beginning of the season and all throughout it,” he said. “Those are legitimate questions that I don’t have answers for right now, but I will say this is a ‘me’ problem. I’m saying that I love my two young guys, they aren’t perfect and they are learning, and this adversity is part of their growth and development.

“These are not excuses for our play. We’re playing terribly. We don’t have a good enough team, in my opinion. I’m trying to deflect some of the attention that the stars get, although that is part of it. They have to learn to do that. Winning is what we are expected to do in Boston. We are expected to win, to put up championships, win playoff games, and that’s what we’re hoping to be able to do, still, this year.”

The Celtics play the Pacers on Friday night, starting a four-game homestand ahead of the All-Star break.

“We have four games before break,” Coach Brad Stevens said. “These four games – from a mental energy, a physical energy, and everything we have – are as pivotal a four games as we’ll play all season.”

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