Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 8 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

July 29, 2003: Goodbye, Bruno Sundov.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Jumaine Jones: One of Ainge’s first orders of business as president of basketball operations, the Celtics acquired Jones in a sign-and-trade, giving the versatile free agent an affordable three-year, $5.1 million deal. During his one season in Boston, Jones didn’t enjoy the same success he did previously on the Cavaliers, if only because his minutes were slashed and his production followed suit.

DEPARTING to Cleveland

  • J.R. Bremer: Signed to an undrafted rookie free agent contract, Bremer performed admirably during his rookie season in Boston, averaging 8.3 points and 2.6 assists in 23.5 minutes a night. But he was not long for the NBA, as he was released by the Cavaliers 31 games into his sophomore season. Outside of a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors a week later, he never returned to the association.
  • Bruno Sundov: The Croatian sensation averaged all of 1.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 26 games while making less than $1 million during his lone year in Boston. His size at 7-foot-2 offered enough intrigue for the Cavs to take a chance, and he played a whopping four games before being waived by Cleveland.
  • Boston’€™s 2005 second-round pick (Ryan Gomes): The loss of this pick might’ve hurt had the Celtics not gotten it back five months later as a throw-in to the trade that brought Ricky Davis to Boston.

Feb. 19, 2004: Hello, Tony Allen.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Chucky Atkins: In the midst of the fourth season of the six-year, $22.5 million deal he inked with the Pistons after Grant Hill‘s sign-and-trade to Orlando, Atkins was a productive player behind Chauncey Billups on a Detroit team that was on its way to a title in 2004. Likewise, Atkins averaged 12.0 points and 5.3 as a starting point guard for the Celtics over the final two months of a 2003-04 season that ended in the first round of the playoffs. He played another six seasons in the NBA, just not for Boston.
  • Lindsey Hunter: In an agreed upon part of this trade, the Celtics used cash from the Pistons to pay the remainder of Hunter’s salary and waive the veteran point guard. Hunter never left Michigan, re-signing with Detroit within a week — a loophole in the league’s trade machinations that has since been closed.
  • Detroit’€™s 2004 first-round pick (Tony Allen): Considering the Pistons were 35-21 at the time of the deal, Ainge couldn’t have anticipated much better than the 25th pick he got in return. And, boy, did the Celtics ever nail this pick, selecting the uber-athletic Allen, a future perennial All-Defensive selection who would be a key member of the Boston teams that made two trips to the NBA Finals from 2008-10. Ainge’s mistake on Allen came later, when he didn’t match Memphis’ offer in the summer of 2010.

DEPARTING to Detroit and Atlanta

  • Mike James: I can’t think of him without hearing Dave Chappelle scream, “I’m Mike James, (expletive),” since the point guard’s brief tenure in Boston coincided with the height of Chappelle’s Show. James was working on an expiring contract and won a ring playing a minimal role with the Pistons before becoming a free agent. He played another nine seasons in the league — for eight different teams — and even averaged 20.3 points per game for a 27-win Raptors team in 2005-06, but nobody would consider him a devastating loss for the Celtics, since just about every other team gave up on him, too.
  • Chris Mills: Injured beyond repair as a 33-year-old when Boston acquired the final year of his contract in the Antoine Walker trade to Dallas, Mills came in handy as an expiring $6.6 million contract a few months later. He never played an NBA game either in Boston or Atlanta during the 2003-04 season.

Aug. 6, 2004: Hello, Gary Payton.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Rick Fox: On the precipice of retirement as a 35-year-old whose body had succumbed to 23,723 minutes in the NBA — nearly half of which came on the 1990s Celtics that drafted him — Fox agreed to a buyout with Ainge and never played another NBA game again, focusing on a TV and film career instead.
  • Gary Payton: When Payton initially failed to report for a physical after the trade, the Celtics amended their end of the deal, sending Jumaine Jones to L.A. instead of Marcus Banks and a second-round pick. Payton eventually reported and submitted a decent season for a 36-year-old future Hall of Famer, averaging 11.3 points and 6.1 assists in 77 games as the starting point guard on a playoff team.
  • Lakers’€™ 2006 first-round pick (Rajon Rondo): Not bad, right? Except, Ainge nearly blew this one, sending the pick along with Tom Gugliotta, Michael Stewart and Payton to Atlanta for the return of Antoine Walker in 2005. Thankfully, he got the pick back in a separate swindle on draft day 2006.

DEPARTING to Los Angeles Lakers

  • Chucky Atkins: In 82 games as the starting point guard for a 34-win Lakers squad, Atkins averaged a respectable 13.6 points (55.8 true shooting percentage) and 4.4 assists in 2004-05, but L.A. turned around and traded him with Caron Butler the following summer for … wait for it … Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. You see, things could’ve been worse for Ainge. They could’ve been much, much worse.
  • Jumaine Jones: Likewise, Jones appeared in 76 games for an abysmal Lakers team that same season, averaging 7.6 points (55.6 TS%) and 5.2 boards, but he left in free agency in August 2006.
  • Chris Mihm: Acquired from Cleveland in December 2003, the 7-footer agreed to a sign-and-trade deal worth $11.4 million over the next three seasons, (remarkably) replacing the departed Shaquille O’Neal as the Lakers’ starting center. Mihm remained in that position for two years, averaging 10 points and 6.5 rebounds from 2004-06, but L.A. no longer was a title contender. Go figure. He missed all of 2006-07 with an ankle injury and actually returned for two more years (and $5 million!) to play minimal minutes on Lakers teams that lost to the Celtics in the 2008 finals and won the 2009 championship.

Only one of these three transactions, which played out in just over a 12-month span, produced Tony Allen. Still, it’s fascinating to view them together, since Jumaine Jones and Chucky Atkins were woven throughout.

When all was said and done here, Ainge turned J.R. Bremer, Bruno Sundov, Mike James, Chris Mills and Chris Mihm — a poop soup of players toiling in Boston during his first year as team president — into the picks that produced Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo. It’s a remarkable transformation, especially considering Hunter agreed to a buyout, Fox retired and the Celtics didn’t take on a single cumbersome contract in the process.

All it really cost the C’s to acquire two first-round picks — which somewhat circuitously became a pair of key players on a title team — was one year of Jumaine Jones and half a season’s worth of both Chucky Atkins and Gary Payton. Taking advantage of a time when general managers valued veterans they knew over picks they didn’t, Ainge began collecting first-rounders before GMs started protecting them like unborn children.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Marcus Smart is raging against the trade machine. (Getty Images)

The relationship between Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. exceeded bromance status when the latter purchased the former a Bentley for his 26th birthday in February.

Seven months later, their bromance seems to have blossomed into a full-scale public display of brofection. We’ll let the C’s pint-sized point guard explain, as he did during an interview with SiriusXM’s Going the Distance that was transcribed by ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg.

“He respects me a lot. A lot of people in his circle, when I’€™m around they are like, ‘€˜Man, you don’€™t understand how much Floyd talks about you when you’€™re not here. He just loves you around.’€™ I think that’€™s the little-guy complex, that we gotta stick together.

“So I think we relate to each other a lot more than any other athlete that he has relationships with or friendship with. Just from that, we kinda bond and we got a close friendship. Just from us being small and doubted our whole lives.”

Considering Mayweather’s history in relationships, perhaps we should be concerned about Thomas, but there’s at least one positive benefit to his friendship with arguably the most brash man on Earth.

“Man, it’€™s done wonders for me,” said Thomas. “Even the first day when I met him five or six years ago when I went to watch him train, it was just like, man, you see why he’€™s the best at what he does. And you see why he hasn’€™t taken a loss in [49] fights. It’€™s just amazing. He’€™s the definition of hard work and dedication, somebody, that, no matter what time of day it is, it can be 4 or 5 in the morning, he’€™s going to go on a six-mile run, or go to the gym and get nine rounds of sparring in with no breaks.

“I just try translate that to the basketball court. If a guy at [39] years old is working that hard, I gotta at least work as hard him on the basketball court — and I’€™m 26 years old. He’€™s a guy that I definitely look up to as an athlete and a guy that really helps me out, not just in basketball, but being the best at your craft. And wanting to be the best and not just saying it.”

While Mayweather is accustomed to declaring himself the best ever in a boxing ring, thankfully Thomas lives in the real world, where he set two goals for the 2015-16 NBA season — winning a playoff series and making the All-Star team — taking careful consideration to mention, “first and foremost it comes with team goals.” Given the finish to last season and their additions this summer, the Celtics should absolutely consider an Atlantic Division title and a second-round playoff appearance within reach. And if Thomas builds on his 19 points and 5.4 assists per game over the final two months of 2014-15, there are certainly All-Star spots to be had in the Eastern Conference’s backcourt.

P.S. I’m with the SiriusXM hosts in wondering how Thomas’ team only defeated Mayweather’s squad by a 3-2 margin in their best-of-five pickup series, even if the rosters were five against five.

And for some reason my favorite part about the Showtime video of their interaction was Thomas saying, “I can’t do a cool move and people like it?” You can do cool moves, Isaiah. People like it.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 9 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

June 26, 2003: Hello, Kendrick Perkins.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Houston’€™s 2003 first-round pick (Marcus Banks): Banks wasn’t the worst No. 13 overall pick. He lasted eight NBA seasons as a backup point guard, averaging 5.3 points and two assists in 15.6 minutes over 180 games in two-plus seasons before the Celtics dealt him in a seven-player trade with Minnesota.
  • Sacramento’€™s 2003 first-round pick (Kendrick Perkins): But Perkins was a better pick at No. 27. The starting center on a team that won a ring and might’ve made it two if not for his ACL tear in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Perk averaged 6.4 points, 6.1 boards and 1.4 blocks during seven-plus seasons in Boston, but statistics never reflected the intimidating defensive presence he was before the knee injury. He was the scowl behind Garnett’s trash talk, and the two anchored one of the league’s best defenses for years.

DEPARTING to Memphis

  • Boston’€™s 2003 first-round pick (Troy Bell): The Boston College product played just six games as a rookie on the Grizzlies, scoring 11 points on 18 shots, and was never seen on an NBA court again. Still on a squad in Turkey, he’s spent the past decade playing in Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the D-League.
  • Philadelphia’€™s 2003 first-round pick (Dahntay Jones): Believe it or not, Jones is still in the association, for now, receiving a training camp invite from the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 0.6 points in 33 appearances for Doc Rivers‘ L.A. Clippers in 2014-15, his 11th NBA season and seventh different team. In the end, though, Jones’ career numbers as a wing aren’t all that different from Banks’ at the point.

There isn’t much to say here beyond the fact Ainge made out a whole lot better in this deal than Grizzlies counterpart Jerry West, and not many folks can say that. Ostensibly, swapping the No. 13 and 27 picks for Nos. 16 and 20 is an even trade, but not when one of those picks turns out to be a title-winning starting center.

How much Ainge deserves credit for Perkins is up for debate, though, since Banks was his prize on draft night. The Celtics had promised Banks they would take him if he fell to No. 16, convinced the UNLV product not to work out for other teams, and then still moved up to get him, for fear he wouldn’t last another three picks.

“We knew that if he went and worked out for every team in the NBA, there wasn’t a chance that we would get him. Not a chance,” Ainge told reporters after the draft. “Everybody on the basketball staff was celebrating.”

As for Perkins, then-coach Jim O’Brien wasn’t quite as sold on the senior out of Ozen High in Beaumont, Texas. “It’s just a chance that you’re taking,” he said. “You get a guy that can help you, and you’re taking a chance.”

You win some, you lose some, and sometimes you’re just damn lucky the best guy in the deal was picked last.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 10 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Oct. 20, 2003: Goodbye, Antoine Walker.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Raef LaFrentz: One year removed from signing a seven-year $70 million contract — one of the worst in league history — LaFrentz found himself on the trading block. And, for some reason, Ainge was bidding, despite LaFrentz’s averages dipping to an ordinary 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds during the first season of his deal. Eight games into his Celtics career, he was diagnosed with right knee tendinitis, and then shelved by Christmas. He returned to play 169 of 171 possible games in 2004-05 and 2005-06, averaging similar numbers in the middle of his contract, and somehow increased his value enough to be swapped for Theo Ratliff‘s expiring deal in 2006.
  • Chris Mills: Likewise, Mills started his C’s tenure on injury reserve and never played a game in green, since Ainge traded his $6.6 million expiring contract to the Atlanta Hawks and Mike James to the Detroit Pistons in a three-team deal that returned Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter and a 2004 first-round pick (Tony Allen).
  • Jiri Welsch: Welsch actually started 100 games for the Celtics before he too was dealt 16 months later, when Ainge convinced the Cleveland Cavaliers to part with a first-round pick for a player with a short NBA shelf life.
  • Dallas’€™ 2004 first-round pick (Delonte West): The Mavs won 52 games in 2003-04, only to be ousted in the first round by the Sacramento Kings. The result for the C’s was the 25th overall pick, a selection Ainge hit on with West — an eight-year pro whose production as a starter in his second year made him attractive trade bait.


  • Tony Delk: Delk had been a key contributor to two playoff teams in Boston — including the 2001-02 run to the Eastern Conference finals — but he was a few months shy of his 30th birthday and still had three years left on the six-year, $16.875 million contract he signed with the Phoenix Suns in 2000. He played for three teams over those final three seasons, but never could recreate the magic that was his 53-point night in Sacramento.
  • Antoine Walker: Walker averaged 20.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists during his first seven seasons in Boston and was coming off two consecutive All-Star campaigns at the time of this trade. He was still only 27 years old. But he was also wildly inefficient, leading the league in 3-point attempts for three straight years and committing 3.4 turnovers per game over the same span. Ainge was not a fan of his game, saying as much publicly as a TV analyst before taking the Celtics job, and then reiterating that stance upon dealing him.

During his introductory press conference, when the Celtics were still in the midst of being swept by the New Jersey Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Ainge promised change to the roster. And he delivered. Big time. Between accepting his role as president of basketball operations on May 9, 2003, and hiring Doc Rivers as head coach on April 29, 2004, Ainge traded 12 players in six transactions — none bigger than the deal that sent Walker to Dallas.

Ainge recognized that was Paul Pierce‘s team, not Antoine’s, and he said as much when the trade went down.

“Antoine had a grasp on our franchise,” he said then. “If Antoine is Michael Jordan, it’s OK to have a grasp. If Antoine is Larry Bird, it’s OK to have a grasp, or Bill Russell. I think those players had grasps on their franchises. Shaquille O’Neal has a grasp on the Los Angeles Lakers. But I didn’t perceive Antoine’s grasp on us as a positive thing.”

We’ve grown used to Ainge’s honesty over the years, but 12 years later, that quote still seems rather blunt for the day after trading a player who had made three All-Star appearances in green. Then again, he was absolutely right.

Swapping a 27-year-old All-Star with two years left on his deal — the dollar, if there is one in this trade — for four quarters (LaFrentz’s horrible contract, an oft-injured Mills, a healthy Welsch and a late first-round pick) may not have been the best possible deal imaginable, but Ainge redeemed himself with what he turned those quarters into.

In one way or another, LaFrentz, Mills, Welsch and that first-round pick (West) were used to acquire Kevin Garnett, Tony Allen, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen — four core members of a team that made two trips to the NBA Finals.

So, while trading Walker for LaFrentz seemed ill-advised at the time, Ainge should only hope he’s able to work the same magic with what he got this past season in return for Rondo — a 28-year-old four-time All-Star at the time. Within a few short months, Ainge turned Rondo into Jae Crowder and as many as four picks — all of which we’ll get into later in this series — but it’ll be just as fascinating to look back on that deal in a dozen years as it was Walker’s.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 11 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 21, 2013: Hello, Jordan Crawford.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Jordan Crawford: Known primarily for dunking on LeBron James at a Nike camp while still in college and yawning on the end of the Wizards bench two-plus seasons into his NBA career, Crawford was still just 24 years old with another season left on his rookie contract. He had a penchant for buckets — even if his scoring was wildly inefficient — and the Celtics, who ranked 24th in points per 100 possessions in 2012-13, desperately needed to create offense, especially after season-ending injuries to both Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa.

DEPARTING to Washington, D.C.

  • Leandro Barbosa: His knee injury was the straw that broke the camel’s back. With Barbosa assuming a greater role, the Celtics rattled off seven straight victories for the first time all season in the wake of Rondo’s ACL tear, but the Brazilian blur suffered the same setback, and the C’s never won more than three straight again. Gone was Boston’s puncher’s chance in the playoffs, and the Knicks stuck a first-round fork in them.
  • Jason Collins: Well past his prime at age 34, Collins had little left in the tank, and the Celtics no longer needed his veteran presence in a locker room where the writing for an end of an era was already on the wall.

Jan. 15, 2014: Goodbye, Jordan Crawford.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Joel Anthony: The final season and a half left on Anthony’s five-year, $18 million from 2010 was the price Ainge had to pay in order to acquire picks in return for Crawford. Anthony barely saw the court in Boston, and the C’s ultimately swapped the $3.8 million remaining on his deal for Will Bynum‘s $2.9 million expiring contract over the offseason. Ainge eventually waived Bynum before the start of the 2014-15 season.
  • Philadelphia’€™s 2015 second-round pick (Jordan Mickey): When the 76ers failed to make the playoffs this past season — an inevitably Ainge must’ve anticipated — a protected first-round pick turned into a pair of second-rounders for the Celtics. The first one came three selections into the second round this past June, and the result — at least thus far — appears to be a positive one. Mickey averaged 12.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in summer league, and Ainge rewarded him with the richest contract ever for a second-round pick.
  • Philadelphia’€™s 2016 second-round pick: Considering Las Vegas set the over/under for Philly’s 2015-16 win total at a league-low 17.5 victories, there’s a pretty good chance the Celtics will pick in the low 30’s again.
  • Miami’€™s 2016 second-round pick: The Heat should be an improved team this season, so this selection will more likely fall in the latter half of the second round, but, hey, three picks for Crawford ain’t so bad.

DEPARTING to Golden State

  • MarShon Brooks: A throw-in by the Nets to the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade, Brooks played all of 73 minutes in Boston. The Warriors literally gave him 15 minutes of fame before trading him a month later to the Lakers for Steve Blake. Brooks then played all of 18 minutes in L.A., and then headed overseas last summer.
  • Jordan Crawford: Here’s how sorry the 2013-14 Celtics were: Jordan Crawford, owner of an assist-to-turnover ratio that would ranked among the league’s worst in any year, took over the starting point guard position five games into the season. Somehow, he scraped together respectable averages of 13.7 points, 5.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds in the months before Rondo’s return from surgery — even capturing Player of the Week honors in early December — and significantly increased his value on the trade market. Crawford appeared in 42 games for the Warriors, enjoying some success, and has since bounced between China and the D-League.

Brad Stevens coached Butler to two straight NCAA title games and finished fourth in NBA Coach of the Year voting last season, but I’m not sure he’ll ever top winning 13 games with Crawford as his starting point guard. He’s easily the most surprising Player of the Week winner this decade, and I’m not sure there’s a close second. Much of that is a testament to Stevens, who discovered a path to success for Crawford that Doc Rivers and others could not.

Ainge was smart to capitalize on Crawford’s value when he did, because there’s no other point in his career that he would have fetched three second-round picks in a trade. Keep in mind Crawford once wore socks with marijuana leaves on them to a playoff practice in Boston and couldn’t even find an NBA job six months after being dealt.

When all was said and done, the Celtics turned two players who combined for 54 minutes on the Wizards (Barbosa was injured, and Collins appeared in six games) into a trio of second-round picks, including one already on the roster. And all it cost them was a few million dollars. From Stevens’ coaching to Ainge’s creativity to ownership’s willingness to take on salary for the greater good of the future, the C’s deserve credit for making something out of nothing.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics have until Oct. 31 to decide if they want to offer contract extensions to Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger, two extension-eligible players that are still on their rookie contracts.

Jared Sullinger

Jared Sullinger

The Celtics have until Oct. 31 to decide if they want to offer contract extensions to Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger, two extension-eligible players that are still on their rookie contracts.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Boston Globe that he’s had meetings with Sullinger and Zeller’s agents and that talks will continue through October.

“Obviously, those are two guys that we like moving forward,” Ainge told the Globe. “So, yeah, there will be more discussions with both of them, probably during the month of October.”

Zeller, who is coming off the most impressive season of his young career, earned a starting spot in the lineup at center last season. Averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, Zeller may have the best chance of signing a contract extension with the Celtics before November.

Sullinger, 23, is coming off of another injury-plagued season, playing only 58 games last year. He averaged 13.3 points and 7.6 rebounds, but the Celtics may hold off on offering him a contract extension until they see health improvements. Sullinger still is young, but as he’s had back and foot surgeries, the Celtics have seen him play one complete season throughout his three-year career. His weight and conditioning also have become a concern, a problem that Sullinger has worked on this summer, gearing up for the upcoming season.

Newly acquired forward Perry Jones is another player who is eligible for a contract extension, but he will have to fight for a spot on the roster. Jones, who was traded to the Celtics from Oklahoma City, could be cut from the team since the Celtics have to eliminate one of their 16 guaranteed contracts to get down to the league maximum of 15 players.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

Over the next month, we’ll chronicle the 25 most consequential trades of Danny Ainge’s tenure as Celtics president of basketball operations. When we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of Ainge’s philosophy and success rate on the trade market. Perhaps by the end of this exercise we’ll even feel better about the future of this rebuild. At the very least, we’ll have something interesting to debate while we wait for training camp to open.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 12 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Jan. 12, 2015: Goodbye, Jeff Green.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Tayshaun Prince: The 34-year-old Prince wasn’t half bad for his nine games in Boston. He contributed to the C’s two biggest wins of the season — a buzzer-beater in Portland that snapped a 24-game road losing streak out West and an upset of Atlanta entering the All-Star break — but the latter was his last game in green. (See below.)
  • Austin Rivers: A throw-in by the Pelicans to help the Celtics and Grizzlies match salaries, Rivers came in handy when Ainge dangled a potential D-League demotion over Doc until dad’s Clippers offered assets in return. (See below.)
  • Memphis’€™ 2018 first-round pick (top-12 protected): Given the Grizzlies‘ recent success, this pick will most likely be conveyed to the Celtics in 2018. Although, with the exception of Marc Gasol, every key contributor to their five straight playoff trips is scheduled to come off the books over the next two seasons, so there’s at least a chance the pick endures until becoming unprotected in 2021. Either way, future first-round picks are always solid trade bait, as this deal proved.

DEPARTING to Memphis

  • Jeff Green: One of the most mercurial members of the Celtics in recent memory, Green’s averages during parts of four seasons in Boston (14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists) were fairly comparable to his tenure in Oklahoma City, but it was his flashes of brilliance followed by unabashed disappearances that made him so frustrating. When all was said and done in Boston, Green made a remarkable comeback from heart surgery to lead the Celtics in scoring during their brief 2013 playoff stint, but he will always be remembered for breaking up the starting five that never lost a series.

Jan. 15, 2015: Goodbye, Austin Rivers.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Chris Douglas-Roberts: Days after acquiring the journeyman wing, the Celtics ate the final few months of Douglas-Roberts’ minimum contract and cut the Memphis product. He has yet to find an NBA job elsewhere.
  • Shavlik Randolph: Also playing on a minimum contract, Savvy Shavvy played all of 25 minutes over five games (averaging 17 boards per 36 minutes!). With a week left in the regular season, Randolph chose the security of playing abroad over a non-guaranteed deal with the C’s in 2015-16, and the two sides parted ways.
  • L.A. Clippers’€™ 2017 second-round pick: Who knows what the Clippers will look like in two more years? They’ll probably be OK, but at least Ainge picked up another trade-able asset with no financial commitment.

DEPARTING to Los Angeles

  • Austin Rivers: He played well enough for the Clips, including a 25-point night in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, to earn a two-year, $6.4 million extension, even if it was his dad that gave it to him. While he’s still just 23 years old, there’s nothing on his NBA resume that suggests Ainge should’ve kept him.

Feb. 19, 2015: Goodbye, Tayshaun Prince.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Gigi Datome: Playing out the final months of the two-year, $3.5 million deal he signed with the Pistons, the Italian sharpshooter became somewhat of a cult hero in Boston, as his beard and man bun embodied a modern-day Gino. Highlighted by a 22-point effort in the final game of the regular season, he was surprisingly effective during the stretch run. But alas Gigi returned to his native county as Celtics nation mourned a fallen hero.
  • Jonas Jerebko: Similarly competing on an expiring contract, albeit at a more expensive rate of $4.5 million, the 6-foot-10 Swede proved even more suave, showing off a floor-stretching shooting stroke (40.6 3-point percentage) and a willingness to bang the boards (19.8 defensive rebound percentage). The end result was a two-year, $10 million contract extension from the Celtics that includes a team option for the second season.
  • $7.7 million trade exception: Not the flashiest of assets, but keep in mind Ainge turned Paul Pierce‘s $10.3 million trade exception into Tyler Zeller and Isaiah Thomas last season, so it’s a chip worth having.

DEPARTING to Detroit

  • Tayshaun Prince: With Gerald Wallace on the roster, the Celtics had little use for another overpaid past-his-prime wing, so they sent Prince home to Detroit, where Stan Van Gundy for some reason was willing to pay significantly more for him than both Jerebko and Datome over the final two months of the regular season. In a roundabout way, Van Gundy basically admitted it was “the dumbest personnel move ever,” since the Pistons failed to make the playoffs by six games and Prince signed for the veteran minimum in Minnesota this summer.

To recap, the resulting haul from January’s Jeff Green trade: 1) a future Memphis first-round pick; 2) the Clippers’ 2017 second-round pick; 3) Jonas Jerebko; 4) a $7.7 million TPE and 5) roughly $750,000 in savings last season.

Considering the Celtics ranked 12th in the Eastern Conference at the time the trade was made official, submitted a 28-19 record in its aftermath — sparked in part by Jerebko’s arrival — and claimed the seventh seed before the season came to a close, that’s not a bad return for Green, a player who required 14.4 shots to get his 17.6 points per game, collected more turnovers than assists and ranked 292nd in rebound percentage despite having a 7-foot-1 wingspan.

Green was slightly more efficient in Memphis, but the Grizzlies fared no better with him than they had before the deal. Regardless, the Celtics would prefer Jerebko at $5 million in 2015-16 over the $9.55 million player option Green picked up in Memphis this summer, since the former fits into Brad Stevens‘ system better in two months than the latter did in 18, so the other assets are really just gravy going forward. Plus, those Gigi memories will last a lifetime.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach