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.
Up top, let’s dispense with the least consequential trades of the Danny Ainge era.
June 25, 2003: The Celtics traded Darius Songaila for Sacramento’s 2003 second-round pick (Brandon Hunter) and 2005 second-round pick (Orien Greene). The Boston faithful should be encouraged by the fact this ranks among the worst deals of Ainge’s career.
Oct. 13, 2006: The Celtics traded Dwayne Jones for Luke Jackson. Whatever.
Feb. 17, 2009: The Celtics traded Sam Cassell in a salary dump for Sacramento’s heavily protected 2015 second-round pick, which never came to fruition.
Feb. 19, 2009: The Celtics traded Patrick O’Bryant, whose psyche had been destroyed by Kevin Garnett, for Toronto’s protected and since extinguished 2014 second-round pick.
June 23, 2011: The Celtics traded the No. 25 overall pick (MarShon Brooks) to Brooklyn for the No. 27 pick (JaJuan Johnson) and the Nets‘ 2014 second-round pick (Russ Smith), which was later used as part of a package to acquire Kelly Olynyk. Both the C’s and Nets made massive mistakes in selecting Brooks and Johnson over No. 30 pick Jimmy Butler.
June 27, 2013: The Celtics traded cash for Indiana’s No. 53 overall pick Colton Iverson, who has played overseas ever since and remains under Boston’s control.
Aug. 15, 2013: The Celtics traded Fab Melo for Donte Greene in a salary dump.
July 19, 2014: The Celtics traded Kris Humphries to Washington for a $5.3 million trade exception and a heavily protected future second-round pick that will never be realized. Boston rolled that $5.3 million TPE into a larger $12.9 million TPE in the Rajon Rondo deal.
With that out of the way, here’s No. 25 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.
Theo Ratliff: A 33-year-old center at the time of the trade, Ratliff played just two games for the Celtics before ultimately undergoing season-ending back surgery. A year later, his $11.67 million expiring contract famously helped Boston take on Kevin Garnett‘s salary in 2007.
Sebastian Telfair: Hyped as the next great point guard prospect, Telfair made the leap directly from high school to the NBA as Portland’s No. 13 pick in 2004. He had just turned 21 and showed little more than the occasional flash of brilliance when the Celtics acquired him on draft day two years later. Telfair proved no better than the third-best point guard on a 24-win team behind Rajon Rondo and Delonte West in 2006-07, and his arrest on a gun charge shortly after the season paved the way for his departure in the Garnett trade.
Dan Dickau: The then 27-year-old point guard played just 50 games for his hometown Blazers and was out of the league within two years of being traded by the Celtics.
Raef LaFrentz: North of 30 years old at the time, the veteran stretch forward had three years and $36.7 million remaining on an albatross of a contract. He played only 66 games over two seasons in Portland before nagging knee issues forced him into retirement.
Boston’s 2006 first-round pick (Randy Foye): Portland promptly swapped the C’s No. 7 pick with Minnesota’s sixth pick and drafted Brandon Roy, who made three straight All-Star appearances in his first five NBA seasons before knee injuries also claimed his career.
While all three “assets” the Celtics picked up in this trade were eventually included in the deals that landed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen a year later, let’s not pretend like a sizable expiring contract, a subpar point guard and a mid second-round pick was some sort of coup for Ainge. Those were pieces the C’s likely could have acquired without giving up a high lottery pick.
Dumping LaFrentz’s deal, arguably one of the worst in NBA history, was the big win for Ainge in this trade. Maybe the C’s had to include this pick just to get LaFrentz off the books, but don’t forget Ainge was responsible for acquiring the zero-time All-Star one season into a seven-year disaster.
And while Ratliff’s expiring deal was instrumental in making the money work for Garnett, something tells me Roy — the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year — would’ve been just as valuable a trade chip that summer. From a talent for talent standpoint, this was by far the worst deal of Ainge’s tenure, but he wiped the slate clean and delivered a title the following season, so all is forgiven.
The Celtics are expected to sign first-round pick R.J. Hunter to a contract early next week, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
The Celtics have historically offered first-round picks the full 120 percent of the rookie salary scale, meaning the No. 28 overall pick is expected to receive a four-year, $5.86 million deal — roughly $860,412 more than the record-breaking deal second-round pick Jordan Mickey signed Monday. Hunter is expected to be a restricted free agent in 2019, when the Celtics can offer him a $3.37 million qualifying offer.
After going scoreless in his first two outings of summer league, Hunter averaged 16.0 points on 38.9 percent shooting from 3-point range to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20 minutes over his final six games in Utah and Las Vegas, including a 22-point outburst against the summer league champion Spurs over the weekend.
It would follow that fellow first-round pick Terry Rozier would also have his contract in place early next week. C’s second-round pick Marcus Thornton will reportedly sign in Australia.
With the Jae Crowder signing and David Lee trade also reportedly expected next week, it appears the Celtics are done dealing, as this series of moves would eat their remaining cap space. Once Hunter, Rozier, Crowder and Lee are officially added to the roster, the Celtics will have 16 players under guaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season, requiring at least one cut.
After spending 15 years in Boston and adding a 17th banner to the rafters of TD Garden in 2008, Pierce left with co-star Kevin Garnett to the Nets. Following one full season in Brooklyn, Pierce signed with the Wizards, which took him back to the playoffs, where he thrived. Despite rave reviews from his teammates, Pierce opted out of his contract and reunited with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.
Pierce already has had a big impact on his new organization as he was part of the group that holed up with DeAndre Jordan in the center’s Houston home to keep him from honoring his verbal commitment to the Mavericks. Of his experience with the team so far, Pierce admits that it’s not what he expected.
“It’s been pretty wild,” Pierce said of convincing Jordan to remain with the Clippers. “I think that whole saga took a form and shade of its own. It got a lot bigger than it was supposed to be.
“I made my decision to be a Clipper. DeAndre changed his mind to be a Clipper.”
Pierce will fill the void at small forward left by Matt Barnes, who recently was traded to the Grizzlies. Last year Pierce averaged 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as he helped lead the Wizards to a berth in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Celtics have signed Jordan Mickey to a four-year, $5 million deal, according to a source, making the 33rd overall pick the highest-paid rookie second-round pick in NBA history.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward out of LSU averaged 12.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.1 minutes over eight summer league games, ranking among the leading rebounders and shot blockers in both Utah and Las Vegas.
The first two years of Mickey’s contract are guaranteed. Years 3 and 4 are team options.
Marcus Smart dislocated two fingers on his right hand during the Celtics‘ summer league game Thursday night in Las Vegas, the team announced.
Midway through the second quarter, Smart was attempting to track down a rebound when he dove over Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh and landed on his wrist. Smart immediately left the game for X-rays and was diagnosed with dislocations of his index and middle fingers.
The 21-year-old Smart is preparing for his second season after being selected sixth overall in the 2014 draft. He averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 27 minutes in 67 games last season.