Danny Ainge is not known Trader Danny for nothing because the Celtics’ President is known to be trigger-happy when it comes to trading players. Yet Ainge and the rebuilding Celtics took it to a different level this week they ( in the words of espn’s Marc Stein) “redefined the familiar NBA scheduling term four in five” by making four trades in five working days. If Ainge was indeed too quick that you didn’t catch all his moves this week, here they are one by one and detail by detail:
January 9– The Celtics traded center Brandan Wright ( who was acquired in the Rajon Rondo deal with the Mavericks) to the Phoenix Suns for a protected first round draft pick that used to belong to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The pick is Top 12 protected for the 2015 and 2016 drafts and then turns to a couple of second rounders, meaning if the Wolves don’t get out of the Top 12 in the next two drafts, the pick will be converted into two second round picks (2016 and 2017). The Celtics also get a $5M trade exception( representing Wright’s salary) as part of the deal.
January 12- The Celtics traded Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three team deal that included the New Orleans Pelicans. In return, the Celtics received veteran Tayshaun Prince and a protected future 1st round pick from the Grizzlies plus guard Austin Rivers from the Hornets. Aside from Green, the Grizzlies received guard Russ Smith from the Hornets. The Hornets got Quincy Pondexter and a 2015 2nd round pick from Memphis.
January 13- The Celtics traded point guard Jameer Nelson ( received from the Mavs in the Rondo trade) to the Denver Nuggets for guard Nate Robinson. The Celtics then reached an agreement with Robinson to buyout the latter’s $2.1M salary and waived him the following day. Robinson is expected to clear the waivers and become a free agent. In dealing away Nelson, the Celtics surrendered his $2.7M salary for this season and saved on the $3.2M player option for next season.
January 15- The Celtics traded Austin Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers in a three team deal that included the Suns as conduit again. Under the deal, the Suns get former Clippers first round pick Reggie Bullock while the Celtics will get Shavlik Randolph from the Suns, Chris Douglas Roberts and a 2017 2nd round pick from the Clippers. Boston also receives a $2.4M trade exception.
Not in A Win-Now Mode
Sources are saying that the C’s are not done yet and could be making moves while we are writing this article.The Celtics are currently third to the last in the Eastern Conference with a 13-24 record. Although they are just two games back of 8th place Brooklyn (16-23), they’re not expected to make a serious push to playoff contention because of the trades they’ve made. Ainge is definitely not in a win-now mode after they have already traded their two best players in Rondo and Green. Boston has made known its plans to rebuild via the draft, and boy have they really loaded up on draft picks.
Piling Up Draft Picks
To date, after making nine trades with nine teams this early in the season (including the four in five this week), the Celtics have a potential of 14 draft picks in the next two drafts which include 6 (likely) first rounders and two early second rounders (thanks to the Sixers). Looking at a longer term, the Celtics could have 11 first round picks in the next four years ( including theirs) which would give them an average of three first round picks per draft in the next four years. How Ainge uses these picks to rebuild the Celtics remains to be seen. But they’ve definitely put themselves in a better spot than the Lakers and Knicks.