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. 17 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 18, 2010: Hello, Nate Robinson.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Marcus Landry: The 2013 D-League All-Star played all of one game in his illustrious Celtics career, entering a late February 2010 loss to LeBron JamesCavaliers with 2:50 remaining, missing both of his 3-point attempts and recording nary a statistic. He was soon assigned to the Red Claws before being waived six weeks later.
  • Nate Robinson: Who can forget the famous “Shrek and Donkey” game when Glen Davis and Robinson combined for 30 points off the bench in a 96-89 win over the Lakers that tied the 2010 NBA Finals at two games apiece. That alone made this trade worthwhile, as did his fair share of minutes behind Rajon Rondo.

DEPARTING to New York

  • J.R. Giddens: One in a string of questionable late first-round draft picks by Ainge, Giddens played just 140 minutes for the Knicks before calling it an NBA career after 38 total games and taking his game overseas.
  • Eddie House: A beloved member of the title team, if only for his diving save during the Game 7 conference semifinal win over the Cavs, House was approaching his 32nd birthday and had experienced a slight dip in production since the 2007-08 campaign. A free agent at season’s end, the sharpshooter played just one more season on the end of the Heat’s bench during their first of four straight finals runs with LeBron & Co.
  • Bill Walker: The still-contending C’s had little use for a second-round project, so they handed Walker his walking papers after bouncing him between Boston and the D-League for a season and a half. He played well for a stretch in New York, even averaging 22 minutes for the Knicks during a first-round sweep at the hands of the Celtics in 2011. After two more years in the D-League and overseas, Walker found his way back to the NBA, under his middle name Henry, as a wing on the Heat this past season. He was waived by Miami last month.

This certainly wasn’t a big deal, but its layers illustrate how much Ainge & Co. can accomplish with so little.

The Celtics pushed their record to 23-5 on Christmas 2009, but lost 13 of their next 23 games entering trade deadline day 2010. Not wanting to disturb the core of a team that had won the championship two years prior and had its title hopes derailed the previous season by Kevin Garnett‘s knee injury, Ainge was stuck with Giddens, Walker, Shelden Williams, Brian Scalabrine and Lester Hudson as the last five members of his bench. Not exactly an enticing lot.

Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo had just averaged 41 minutes a night in January, as Marquis Daniels was in the midst of missing two months due to injury and a 31-year-old House was splitting time between both guard positions. The C’s had no open roster spots to add a veteran minimum free agent and few tradable assets outside the regular rotation.

There’s a sucker born every minute, and roughly half of them have been general managers for the Knicks, so Ainge turned his focus to New York. The Knickerbockers were well on their way to a 29-win season and had naturally long since traded away their top-10 draft pick (Gordon Hayward) for the right to pay Stephon Marbury $88.1 million from 2004-09. Anywho, GM Donnie Walsh had made his intentions clear about freeing cap space for the summer of 2010.

So, why would Walsh trade Robinson’s $4 million expiring contract and Landry’s non-guaranteed undrafted rookie deal for House’s $2.86 million expiring contract, Giddens’ rookie scale salary (4 years, $5.07 million) and the remaining two-plus seasons on Walker’s four-year, $3.05 million deal? Because they’re the Knicks. (For the record, Walsh used that slightly dwindled cap space to spend $115.5 million on Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.)

As much fun as it is to dump on division rivals, enough about the Knicks. With this deal, the Celtics added a viable 25-year-old backup point guard, freed a roster space soon used to sign 37-year-old Michael Finley and saved roughly $100,000 in the process. Not a bad haul for three guys who would no longer be in the league within two seasons.

Robinson was by no means a longterm success in Boston, as his act wore thin in the locker room and he was shipped to Oklahoma City with Kendrick Perkins (a trade we’ll get into in great detail later in this series) within seven months of signing a two-year, $8.7 million extension with the Celtics, but he shot 41.4 percent from 3 down the stretch of the 2009-10 season, helped Rondo keep his legs fresh for the playoff run and served as Donkey to Big Baby’s Shrek.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will make his Boston exodus permanent soon, once he sells his $2 million home in Lincoln.

The 6,500-foot house hit the market Monday. It has five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. Additionally, it features a master suite with two dressing rooms, a home theater, an entertainment lounge and a game room.

Officially, the asking price is $1,999,999 for the “glamorous home fit for a champion.”

“When I first toured this home seven years ago, I immediately knew this property had to be mine,” Rondo said a press release from Coldwell Banker. “It is an extraordinary property, and my family and I absolutely loved living there.”

“This was a very lucky house for me, and I have nothing but fond memories of my time here,” Rondo added.

Rondo acquired the property when he was 22 years old, immediately after winning the 2008 title with the Celtics. He now plays for the Kings after getting traded to the Mavericks in the middle of last season.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

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. 18 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

June 27, 2013: Hello, Kelly Olynyk.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Dallas’ 2013 first-round pick (Kelly Olynyk): The jury’s still out on the Gonzaga product Ainge introduced to us as a “7-foot hippy quarterback.” He’s an average to above-average scorer from just about everywhere, commits as many turnovers as he collects assists and — as his teammates conceded during the Kevin Love fiasco — isn’t a great rebounder for his size. Brad Stevens didn’t trust Olynyk on defense in the playoffs, slashing his minutes to 13.3 a night, although the second-year stretch center did provide instant offense off the bench.

DEPARTING to Dallas

  • Boston’s 2013 first-round pick (Lucas Nogueira): Traded twice more before ever appearing in the NBA, the 7-foot Brazilian appeared in just six games for the Raptors in 2014-15 before being assigned to the D-League.
  • Boston’€™s 2014 second-round pick (Cleanthony Early): A throw-in to the six-player trade that brought Tyson Chandler back to Dallas, Early averaged 5.4 points in 16.6 minutes over 39 games for a horrible Knicks team, bouncing back and forth between New York and its D-League affiliate in Westchester. So far, at least, the impressive wing play that helped lead Wichita State to the Final Four in 2013 hasn’t translated to the NBA.
  • Brooklyn’€™s 2014 second-round pick (Russ Smith): Also traded twice more before ever wearing an NBA uniform — and again from the Pelicans to the Grizzlies as part of the three-team Jeff Green deal — Smith played in only 12 combined games in New Orleans and Memphis, mostly spending his rookie season in the D-League.

Ainge targeted Olynyk like Matt Moneymaker does Sasquatch, which makes sense, since the fine folks at “Finding Bigfoot” declared Washington “the Squatchiest state in America.” And there’s nothing wrong with trusting a talent evaluation brain trust that had selected Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley two out of the previous three years.

Except that same scouting had also brought us Fab Melo, JaJuan Johnson and J.R. Giddens in recent years.

Olynyk probably falls somewhere between those two strata, but the 13th overall pick may have been better spent on Shabazz Muhammad or Giannis Antetokounmpo, who went 14th and 15th in the 2013 NBA draft. And while staying put and drafting Nogueira would’ve been a bigger bummer, Ainge’s best move would’ve been to remain at No. 16, keep both second-round picks and draft any one of these guys: Dennis Schroder (17th), Gorgui Dieng (21st), Mason Plumlee (22nd) or Rudy Gobert (27th). But revisionist history is a futile game, even if it’s an awful fun one.

Either way, this move showed the willingness and flexibility to move up in the draft for a prospect high on their board, and the pick produced a player who won’t ever be the next Dirk Nowitzki — and, yes, those comparisons have been made, on multiple occasions — but seems capable of filling out a rotation on a quality team down the line. These are silver linings on a deal that demonstrates how even when Ainge stumbles he doesn’t often fall flat on his face.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics released their full schedule for the 2015-16 NBA season. Enjoy.

Brad Stevens couldn't be more excited about the 2015-16 NBA season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens couldn’t be more excited about the 2015-16 NBA season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Celtics released their 2015-16 NBA schedule. Here are 10 highlights.

Start ’em up: The Celtics have a great opportunity to carry the moment from the end of last regular season into 2015-16, as they host the ever-tanking 76ers in the season opener on Oct. 28 and play six of their first eight games at TD Garden (albeit against four returning playoff teams). They also have a nice little three-day break from Nov. 7-9 that should allow for some much-needed practice time.

All my troubles: While the league average for back-to-back games dropped by 1.5 games, the Celtics play 18 such contests, same as last season. Andy the C’s play on the road on the second night in 11 of those back-to-backs. The good news: They play just one stretch of four games in five nights, from Jan. 12-16 (Knicks, Pacers, Suns and Wizards), thanks to the league’s effort to reduce those situations by 60 percent.

On holiday: The C’s don’t play on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day or Easter Sunday, so you might have to spend time with your family this season. They do play on Veterans Day (Pacers), Martin Luther King Day (at Mavericks), Groundhog Day (at Knicks) and Super Bowl Sunday (Kings).

It’s showtime: In what might be their final two games against Kobe Bryant, the C’s host the Lakers on Dec. 30, and then visit their arch rivals in L.A. on April 3. Easy on those MVP chants, people.

Come at the king: In a rematch of their playoff sweep, the Celtics host the Cavaliers on Dec. 15 in LeBron James‘ only trip to Boston in 2015-16. The C’s visit Cleveland on Feb. 5 and March 5. The defending champion Warriors make their only tour through Boston on Dec. 11, and the Celtics visit Golden State on April 1. Start getting that David Lee tribute video ready now.

Revolution will be televised: Seeing an uptick in interest outside Boston, the C’s play seven national TV games this year: Nov. 24 on TNT (at Hawks), Dec. 9 on ESPN (Bulls), Jan. 7 on TNT (at Bulls), Jan. 13 on ESPN (Pacers), Feb. 19 on ESPN (at Jazz), March 16 on ESPN (Thunder) and April 1 on ESPN (at Warriors).

Oh, Mexico: The Celtics will face Rajon Rondo and the Kings on Dec. 3 in the NBA’s third ever regular-season game in Mexico City. Somebody please get a picture of Kelly Olynyk in a sombrero.

Boston, you’re my home: Speaking of Rondo, he will play in Boston for the first time as a member of the Kings on Super Bowl Sunday. Likewise, Kevin Garnett makes one trip to the Garden as a member of the Timberwolves on Dec. 21, and then Clippers Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce come to town on Feb. 10. Brandan Wright, of course, makes his long-awaited return as a member of the Grizzlies on March 9.

West Coast represent: The Celtics have just two road trips longer than three games. Their annual West Coast trip is March 26 to April 3, traveling through Phoenix, L.A. (Clippers), Portland, Oakland (Warriors) and back to L.A. (Lakers). Their longest home stand is shortly before that trip, as they host the Bucks, Heat, Jazz, Blazers and Knicks from Feb. 25 to March 4. That should help offset the mileage on that jet between Nov. 29 and Dec. 7, when they visit Orlando, Miami, Mexico City (Kings), San Antonio and New Orleans.

This is the end: Following the extended All-Star break from Feb. 11-18, the Celtics have a brutal end of the season. Seriously, look at their final 24 games: Bucks, Heat, Jazz, Blazers, Knicks, at Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Rockets, at Pacers, Thunder, at Raptors, at 76ers, Magic, Raptors, at Suns, at Clippers, at Blazers, at Warriors, at Lakers, Pelicans, Bucks, at Hawks, Hornets and Heat. Those last nine games, in particular, could mean the difference between a playoff seed and the lottery.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics released their full schedule for the 2015-16 NBA season. Enjoy.

Wed., Oct. 28: Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 30: Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 1: San Antonio, 3:30 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 4: at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 6: Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 10: at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 11: Indiana, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 13: Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 15: at Oklahoma City, 6 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 16: at Houston, 7 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 18: Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 20: Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 22: at Brooklyn, 6 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 24: at Atlanta, 8 p.m., TNT
Wed., Nov. 25: Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 27: Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 29: at Orlando, 6 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 30: at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Thu., Dec. 3: at Sacramento, 9 p.m. (in Mexico City)
Sat., Dec. 5: at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 7: at New Orleans, 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 9: Chicago, 7 p.m., ESPN
Fri., Dec. 11: Golden State, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 12: at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 15: Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 16: at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 18: Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 21: Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 23: at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 26: at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 27: New York, 6 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 30: L.A., Lakers, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 2: Brooklyn, 3 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 4: at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 6: Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Thu., Jan. 7: at Chicago, 7 p.m., TNT
Sun., Jan. 10: at Memphis, 5 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 12: at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 13: Indiana, 8 p.m., ESPN
Fri., Jan. 15: Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 16: at Washington, 7 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 18: at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 20: at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 22: Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 23: at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 25: at Washington, 7 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 27: Denver 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 29: Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 31: at Orlando, 6 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 2: at New York 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 3: Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 5: at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 7: Sacramento, 3:00 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 9: at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 10: L.A., Clippers, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 19: at Utah 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Sun., Feb. 21: at Denver 3:00 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 22: at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 25: Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 27: Miami, 3:00 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 29: Utah 7:30 p.m.
Wed., March 2: Portland, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., March 4: New York 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 5: at Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Wed., March 9: Memphis, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., March 11: Houston, 7:30 p.m.
Tue., March 15: at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Wed., March 16: Oklahoma, City, 7 p.m., ESPN
Fri., March 18: at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., March 20: at Philadelphia, 6 p.m.
Mon., March 21: Orlando, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., March 23: Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 26: at Phoenix 7 p.m.
Mon., March 28: at L.A., Clippers, 7:30 p.m.
Thu., 31-March: at Portland, 7 p.m.
Fri., April 1: at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Sun., April 3: at L.A. Lakers, 6:30 p.m.
Wed., April 6: New Orleans, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., April 8: Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., April 9: at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Mon., April 11: Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., April 13: Miami, 8 p.m.

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. 19 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

July 20, 2012: Hello, Courtney Lee.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Courtney Lee: At the time, Lee was a sought-after second-tier free agent, receiving interest from the Bulls, Hawks, Mavericks, Pacers, Suns and Timberwolves. He had just submitted his best statistical NBA season, averaging 11.4 points on 40.1 percent shooting from distance and otherwise stuffing the stat sheet. And the Celtics required a Doc Rivers recruiting job and Danny Ainge’s sign-and-trade magic to lure him to Boston.

DEPARTING to Houston and Portland

  • JaJuan Johnson: An atrocious first-round draft pick by Ainge, especially with Jimmy Butler still sitting there on the board, Johnson’s confidence had already been destroyed by Kevin Garnett‘s uncanny ability to root out unprepared rookies like a truffle hog, and he was promptly waived before ever playing a game for the Rockets.
  • E’€™Twaun Moore: He’s made a nice career out of being a solid last-guard-on-the-bench type guy, but the fact he’s been the best player Ainge let go here should tell you all you need to know about the trade.
  • Sean Williams: Signed with three games remaining in the 2011-12 regular season, Williams received a non-guaranteed $1 million deal for 2012-13 that allowed the Celtics to match Lee’s salary without Houston taking on any additional cap space. The troubled Boston College product has not played another NBA game since.
  • Sasha Pavlovic: A once valuable member of Cleveland’s run to the 2007 NBA Finals, Pavlovic made sparing contributions in Boston and reached the end of his NBA road by the end of his first season in Portland.
  • Boston’€™s 2013 second-round pick (Marko Todorovic): Technically, the jury is still out on Todorovic, a 23-year-old Montenegrin center who enjoyed a bounce-back season in the Spanish League this past year.
  • Charlotte’€™s 2013 second-round pick (Alex Abrines): Likewise, Abrines is a 22-year-old sharpshooting Spanish wing who has yet to play in the NBA. His claim to fame has more to do with this pick’s involvement along with two first-rounders, Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb in Houston’s trade for James Harden.
  • Minnesota’€™s 2013 second-round pick (Jeff Withey): Similarly, Withey never played a game for the Blazers, who swapped his rights along with two future second-round picks to net two seasons worth of Robin Lopez in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Tyreke Evans to New Orleans and Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento.

The Lee acquisition represented a win at the time, illustrating that a) a somewhat coveted free agent would choose Boston over other cities to play for a reputable coach on an attractive roster and b) the Celtics had the wherewithal to collect second-round picks, sign Williams to a tradable non-guaranteed deal on April 19 and work both Houston and Portland into a sign-and-trade that allowed them to absorb a not-insignifant $5 million annual salary. These are the sort of machinations that often help cap-strapped contending teams separate themselves from the pack.

Of course, Lee’s brief, relatively unsuccessful tenure in Boston is not lost on us, either. Then again, there is some question as to how and why exactly Lee ended up in Rivers’ doghouse in the second half of the 2012-13 season.

Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending injury midway through Lee’s first season on the Celtics transformed a team that had reached Game 7 of the 2012 conference finals to one that couldn’t get past a flawed 2013 Knicks squad in the first round. Except, Lee and Avery Bradley were branded “bulldogs” when they formed a defensively devastating starting backcourt tandem that led the C’s rattle to seven straight wins and a 16-9 record in the first 25 games after Rondo’s injury. (They had been 20-23 with Rondo.) Then, Rivers benched Lee in favor of Jason Terry, the Celtics finished the regular season 5-8 and lost in six games to the Knicks with Lee averaging all of 10 minutes in five playoff games.

You know what might’ve been an intriguing lineup? Lee, Bradley, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green and Garnett. You know how often Rivers played that lineup? A measly 16 minutes during the regular season and zero in the playoffs. (In those 16 minutes, the C’s outscored opponents by 24 points per 100 possessions, produced a 73.7 true shooting percentage, assisted on 71.4 percent of their field goals and played at a remarkable pace of 110.51 possessions per 48 minutes.)

But Rivers’ trust in the more veteran Terry alienated Lee, and he never returned to Earth in Boston, averaging only 16.8 minutes for Brad Stevens on a tanking team that valued Jordan Crawford and Phil Pressey more in 2013-14.

Jan. 7, 2014: Goodbye, Courtney Lee.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Jerryd Bayless: The former No. 11 overall pick had three months remaining on his $3.1 million salary and played as expected — either scoring in bunches or disappearing completely — before leaving as a free agent.
  • Ryan Gomes: Playing on a partially guaranteed contract at age 31, the once productive former Celtics draft pick was waived the day the deal was completed, saving the C’s from having to take on additional salary.

DEPARTING to Memphis

  • Courtney Lee: Having made his frustration with Boston’s rebuilding process clear, Lee got his wish, receiving a trade to another contender and seeing his minutes rise from 16.8 back to 30 a night in Memphis. He started 77 games and averaged 10.1 points on 40.2 percent shooting from 3 for a 55-win Grizzlies team last season.
  • Boston’€™s 2016 second-round pick: Considering the Celtics have as many as five second-round picks coming their way in June 2016, they could probably spare their own in a deal to dump the two and a half years remaining on the four-year, $21.4 million contract signed upon arriving in Boston in July 2012.

The departure of Lee was nothing more than a salary dump to free a rebuilding team that would rather allocate minutes elsewhere from a player who would rather be playing for a contender. It was the sort of breakup that left both parties thinking they’re better off, as the Celtics saved roughly $13 million through the end of 2015-16.

The bookends of Lee’s chapter in Boston represented a juxtaposition between the kind of moves a team makes when they’re trying to extend the life of a championship team and those designed to start building from scratch again. The good news is that the Celtics were well equipped for both, making room for a well-paid talent when circumstances called for it and clearing that same salary cap room as the team turned its search to building a new foundation.

Parting ways with nothing beyond E’Twaun Moore and a couple of to-be-determined second-round picks, the Celtics took a chance on Lee that never quite panned out, and then used him as an asset to clear cap space moving forward.

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. 20 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 24, 2011: Goodbye, Marquis Daniels.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Sacramento’€™s 2017 second-round pick (top-55 protected): Because the Kings are the Kings, this pick will likely never come to fruition, as is the case with most heavily protected second-rounders. This is not the prize.
  • $2.47 million trade exception: Because the C’s were a salary cap-strapped team, this was the real reward.

DEPARTING to Sacramento

Dec. 9, 2011: Hello, Keyon Dooling.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Keyon Dooling: The veteran guard spent just one season in Boston and sat nearly a third of the 2011-12 campaign with knee and hip ailments, but the former players’ union vice president won over C’s fans, if only for his unwavering support of Rajon Rondo and 50 percent 3-point shooting in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

DEPARTING to Milwaukee

  • Albert Miralles: A throw-in to Ainge’s second Antoine Walker trade in 2005, Miralles never left the Euroleague and was approaching his 30th birthday by December 2011, so he was long past a lost cause.
  • $2.47 million TPE: With few, if any, trade-able contracts and only the taxpayer’s mid-level exception and veteran minimum contracts to offer in hopes of adding depth for one more kick at the title can, the Celtics used the traded player exception acquired in the Daniels deal to absorb Dooling’s $2.25 million contract.

This wasn’t Ainge’s greatest coup using a traded player exception (we’ll get to that later in this series), but it was important nonetheless. The Celtics had nobody to handle the ball behind Rajon Rondo but Avery Bradley, who had already proven less than capable as a point guard, and E’Twaun Moore, the team’s second-round pick that year. They were so desperate at the end of the previous season they signed a washed-up Carlos Arroyo to lighten Rondo’s load.

Ainge hadn’t had much luck on the free agency market, so Dooling qualified as a significant upgrade at the time. His arrival also helped Doc Rivers transition Bradley to the two-guard position, where he eventually assumed the starting role over Ray Allen and ignited the grit-and-balls run through the 2012 playoffs. In fact, I’m still convinced the Celtics would have reached the NBA Finals that season had Bradley’s shoulder not given out before the Miami Heat series.

None of this would have happened had the cap-strapped C’s front office not found the foresight to trade Daniels, who was not going to play the final two months of his existing contract, for a TPE in a seemingly ruthless and benign deal.

And the best part? Daniels re-signed with the Celtics as a free agent prior to the 2011-12 season, too.

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. 21 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 8, 2005: Goodbye, Walter McCarty.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Golden State’€™s 2007 second-round pick (Aaron Gray): Phoenix owned this future selection and its own second-rounder. At the time of the trade, the Suns owned a 38-11 record and the Warriors a 13-35 record, so this seemed like a safer bet to be the higher pick. Sure enough, Golden State was slotted 49th in 2007 and Phoenix 59th. By that time, though, Ainge had already swapped this pick in exchange for Denver’s 2006 second-rounder (also 49th) in order to draft a player the Celtics identified as a value pick: Leon Powe.

DEPARTING to Phoenix

  • Walter McCarty: Inarguably the most popular non-star on the late 1990’s/early 2000’s Celtics, McCarty was coming off his two best seasons — averaging 6.9 points (54.1 true shooting percentage), 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 24.2 minutes off the bench for a pair of playoff teams — and Tommy Heinsohn’s “I love Waltah” fan club was in full effect. He had also just celebrated his 31st birthday and had one NBA season left in his legs.

The Walter McCarty trade represented the sort of organizational foresight that only well-run franchises see all the way through to the end. The Celtics identified a player had exceeded his worth, even if he was on a veteran minimum contract and remained so beloved that he has since returned as an assistant coach. They recognized the value of a future second-round pick. And they later pinpointed a player whose talent surpassed his late second-round draft slot.

As Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren revealed in a 2008 New York Times piece, “Leon Powe‘€™s surprisingly strong play was not so surprising to the Celtics.” Of course, he played a valuable role in the 2008 title run, became a fan favorite and has also since returned to play a role in the team’s business operations department.

In his tenure, Ainge has traded — or tried to trade — every popular Celtics player whose begun the back nine of his career. Antoine Walker‘s departure was as understandable as it was controversial because of his price tag, but the McCarty trade was inexplicable from a green teamer’s perspective. After all, Tommy really did love Waltah.

But sentimentality is a general manager’s enemy, and Ainge’s ability to separate emotion from business has led to some of his most successful transactions, including the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade to the Brooklyn Nets.

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. 22 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Dec. 15, 2003: Hello, Ricky Davis.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Ricky Davis: Nine months removed from the a ludicrous attempt to complete a triple-double, Davis was in the second season of his six-year, $34.1 million deal. The establishment of the Garden’s glorious Get Buckets Brigade and his failed between-the-legs dunk against the Lakers showed little evolution of his game, and he was packaged in a deal that returned Wally Szczerbiak‘s even more cumbersome contract two years later.
  • Chris Mihm: The 7-footer played 54 games in green before earning the distinction of being involved in the last trade between the C’s and Lakers. Boston dealt Mihm, Chucky Atkins and Jumaine Jones to L.A. for Rick Fox, Gary Payton and a first-round pick in August 2004. This marks the first definitive win of Ainge’s trade history.
  • Michael Stewart: He was a throw-in to the trade for Antoine Walker and was out of the league by April 2005.
  • Boston’€™s 2005 second-round pick (Ryan Gomes): The former Providence star’s production during his first two seasons in Boston made him attractive enough to be an asset in Ainge’s 2007 trade for Kevin Garnett.

DEPARTING to Cleveland

  • Tony Battie: The Cavaliers traded Batman to the Magic at season’s end, acquiring two key contributors to their 2007 NBA Finals run (Drew Gooden and Anderson Varejao) in return. Battie signed a four-year, $23 million extension in Orlando, starting all 82 games in 2005-06 before seeing his minutes decline thereafter.
  • Kedrick Brown: One of many horrendous draft picks by the previous regime, the No. 11 overall selection in 2001 played 42 more NBA games over the next 14 months before taking his talents to the D-League and abroad.
  • Eric Williams: A beloved member of the early 2000’s Celtics, he played out the final 50 games of his contract before joining the New Jersey Nets as a free agent. He could never stay healthy and played for four different teams before retiring at age 34 in 2007 and concentrating on his new career as a “Basketball Wives” star.

Ainge traded two assets — Williams’ $5.54 million expiring contract and Battie (who earned Cleveland a greater return just seven months later) — for a long-term commitment to Davis, and then spun that salary cap stranglehold for three years of injury-plagued Szczerbiak’s eight-figure salary. This was not a great example of fiscal responsibility.

The acquisition of Davis was a lesson for the Celtics in the kind of players they no longer covet. The flashy wing was an athletic 20-point scorer, which in the days before analytics were taken seriously was worthy of a long-term lucrative contract. Except, his inefficiency was startling. The year prior in Cleveland, he required 18.6 shots to score his 20.6 points a night, recording a sub-50.0 true shooting percentage (48.5), and collected almost as many turnovers as he did assists — concerning for a player whose usage rate in 2002-03 rivaled Stephen Curry’s this past season.

It’s not wise to net one-dimensional players whose one dimension isn’t all that great as the centerpiece of your trade.

This deal marked one of Ainge’s first orders of business, and thankfully it wasn’t a disaster, as the Celtics made good on the Gomes selection and weren’t saddled with any incoming contracts for too long, eventually picking up a pair of first-round picks while unloading Mihm and Davis on the Lakers and Timberwolves, respectively. In the process, they took an important step toward adopting a philosophy that prioritized advanced statistics over empty ones.

 

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach