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Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 23. Hello and goodbye again, Antoine Walker

07.28.15 at 12:01 pm ET
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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. 23 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 24, 2005: Hello again, Antoine Walker.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Antoine Walker: Just 14 months after trading Walker for one of the worst contracts in NBA history, Ainge reacquired the former All-Star for a first-round pick and expiring contracts. It was weird. It was also an obvious attempt to make a playoff push in Doc Rivers‘ first season as coach, and it worked. The Celtics won 11 of their first 12 games with Walker back in green, qualified for the playoffs and … of course lost in the first round.

DEPARTING to Atlanta

  • Tom Gugliotta: Good ol’ Googs was just that — old. The one-time NBA All-Star played 20 games in Boston after signing as a free agent at age 35. He lasted 27 more on the Hawks before retiring at season’s end.
  • Gary Payton: Still fairly productive at age 36, The Glove was included for salary-matching purposes and promptly waived by the Hawks. He re-signed with the C’s for the rest of the season a week later, resulting in The Gary Payton Rule requiring players to wait 30 days before re-signing with their previous team. (That time period has since been changed to the remainder of the season in what is called The Zydrunas Ilgauskas Rule.)
  • Michael Stewart: He scored a whopping five points in 71 minutes for the Celtics during the 2003-04 season, did not see the Garden floor the following season and played just 12 more NBA games before calling it a career.
  • Lakers’€™ 2006 first-round pick (Rajon Rondo): While Gugliotta, Payton and Stewart represented a $12.9 million pile of scrap heap material, they were all expiring contracts and thus weren’t a pot that needed much sweetening to unload. But Ainge was fairly liberal with his first-round picks in his early days as GM, and thankfully he was able to get this pick back by way of the Phoenix Suns after sacrificing another first-rounder.

Aug. 2, 2005: Goodbye again, Antoine Walker.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Curtis Borchardt: It’s perfectly OK if you don’t remember the Borchadt era in Boston. His claim to fame in a Celtics uniform was seven points in seven preseason games before signing overseas in the Spanish League.
  • Albert Miralles: Ditto for Miralles, except he never actually left Spain. Strangely, that actually helped the Celtics six years later, when Ainge smartly dealt his rights to the Milwaukee Bucks for Keyon Dooling.
  • Qyntel Woods: Samesies, except he was waived after three preseason games and signed with those wacky 2005-06 New York Knicks that seemingly featured every certifiably insane NBA player of the 2000s.
  • Miami’€™s 2006 second-round pick (Edin Bavcic): Likewise, the Celtics never made this selection, because Ainge traded it less than two months later for 19 games worth of Dan Dickau during the 2005-06 NBA season.
  • 2008 second-round pick (Nikola Pekovic): The Celtics got Nik Pekovic out of this deal? Awesome! Oh, wait, Ainge also tossed this pick into a trade a few months later for, among other assets, Michael Olowokandi.


  • Antoine Walker: ‘Toine, of course, put together the last decent season of his NBA career in 2005-06, playing every regular-season game and starting all 23 playoff games for the Heat during their run to the NBA title.

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Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Antoine Walker, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge

Report: Celtics acquire SG Zoran Dragic, pick from Heat

07.27.15 at 11:53 am ET
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Zoran Dragic

Zoran Dragic

The Celtics have acquired 6-foot-5 shooting guard Zoran Dragic and a second-round pick from the Heat in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick that likely will never come to fruition, according to’s Brian Windhorst.

The Heat will send their 2020 second-round selection and pay Dragic’s guaranteed salary of $1.71 million in 2014-15, per The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. The Celtics reportedly are expected to waive Dragic.

Much like the recent deal for Perry Jones III, the C’s add a second-round pick in exchange for relieving a team of a portion of its luxury tax penalty.

Dragic, was acquired by the Heat at last season’s trade deadline along with his brother, point guard Goran Dragic, from the Suns. He appeared in 10 games for Miami, averaging 2.2 points while shooting 41 percent from the field.

Dragic, who starred for Slovenia in last year’s World Cup, played for the Heat’s team in the Orlando Pro Summer League this month and averaged 12.3 points on 39 percent shooting with 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24.5 minutes.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, NBA, Zoran Dragic

Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 24. Goodbye, Semih Erden

07.24.15 at 12:06 pm ET
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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. 24 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 24, 2011: Goodbye, Semih Erden.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Minnesota’s 2013 second-round pick (via Cleveland): This pick was later used as a throw-in to complete the 2012 trade for Courtney Lee, and the Portland Trail Blazers ultimately used it to select Kansas center Jeff Withey with the No. 39 overall pick.

DEPARTING to Cleveland

  • Semih Erden: Due to a series of injuries and rumored homesickness resulting from worry over his ailing mother, the Turkish center played all of 32 games in parts of two seasons for the Cavaliers before returning to his native country, where he again plays for Fenerbahce.
  • Luke Harangody: Likewise, Harangody appeared in 42 games over the same two seasons for Cleveland before spending the past three years in the D-League and Euroleague.

It may not look like much, but this is a prime example of the value of second-round picks, something to keep in mind when the Celtics have as many as five such selections in the 2016 NBA draft.

From a talent evaluation standpoint, the Celtics took Erden with the last pick in the 2008 draft and Harangody with the No. 52 overall pick in 2010. Since Erden had been stashed overseas, both late-round picks were rookies competing for roster spots on a team that was coming off the 2010 NBA Finals appearance. Considering the health and age of a C’s frontcourt that featured Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Davis and a rehabbing Kendrick Perkins, both Erden and Harangody made the roster — and played important minutes on a team that won 56 games.

Harangody had a career night (17 points, 11 rebounds) in an early January win over the Toronto Raptors, and Erden averaged 20 minutes over 37 games, including seven starts, posting impressive 36-minute averages in Boston (10.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 assists). So, it came as somewhat of a surprise that Ainge parted ways with them for seemingly nothing on the same day he dealt Perkins, leaving the brittle O’Neals and an unfamiliar Nenad Krstic to man the center spot.

And we all know how that played out.

By the trade deadline, though, the Celtics had already identified both Erden and Harangody were not long for the NBA, and keeping them around during a playoff run would only diminish what little value they had. So, Ainge took what he could get, and that second-round pick from Minnesota seemed almost as good as a late first-rounder, since the Timberwolves were well on their way to a league-worst 17 wins in 2010-11 and a safe bet to be a bottom-10 team for the next couple years.

In a vacuum, Ainge had turned two late second-round picks into an early second-rounder, which is a win when you consider those late selections weren’t ever going to crack a legitimate NBA rotation.

Now, we see the value of an early second-round pick. The Celtics were trying desperately to acquire Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets in 2012, and they required a third team to dump enough salary on in order to match Lee’s contract demands. With only scrap-heap players Sasha Pavlovic, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Sean Williams to offer in return, the Celtics had to include low-cost assets to convince the Rockets and Blazers to assume their salaries.

Enter the second-round picks. The Celtics had three such selections in the 2013 draft — their own (No. 45), the one from Minnesota (No. 39) and another from Charlotte (No. 32) by way of Oklahoma City as a result of the Thunder failing to disclose information about Jeff Green‘s heart ailment in the Perkins trade. The earliest pick went to the Rockets along with Johnson, Moore and Williams; the two later picks went to the Blazers with Pavlovic; and Lee came to Boston on a mid-level salary.

Nobody will ever describe the Courtney Lee era as a success in Boston, but at the time it was a coup for a contending team with zero spending flexibility and little to no young talent available to trade. And while none of the C’s three second-round picks were enough to acquire a player of value on their own, as a collective they helped grease the wheels on a deal that seemed like a steal in the present.

Remember that when Ainge sweetens the pot on trades this season with second-round picks, because it’s not like he’ll actually select someone every six picks in the latter half of the 2016 draft.

Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge tells Paul Pierce Celtics have spot for him, possibly in front office

07.23.15 at 12:01 pm ET
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Paul Pierce had been keeping a close eye on the Clippers throughout the NBA playoffs, he told Ian Thomsen of

Pierce said he knew he was either going back to his hometown to play for Los Angeles, or he would return to the Wizards.

Thomsen wrote that Pierce watched the Clippers’ series with the Rockets and was “horrified” as they let slip a 3-1 lead in the series and allowed Houston to score 51 of the final 71 points in Game 6.

“No way — if I was in that locker room — I would have allowed that to happen,” Pierce told Thomsen. “You picture yourself being that voice or being that guy on the court that can help in those situations. I think I fill a pretty big need for them.”

His career with the Celtics in the books, as the 37-year-old is trying to “cement [his] legacy in both” L.A. and Boston, saying that helping win the Clippers’ first championship would be “storybook.”

“It’s going to be great, the accountability of it — not only the team, but with Doc and his coaching staff,” Pierce told Thomsen. “It made this whole process a lot easier, especially the position the team was in. If the Clippers weren’t a team that was contending, or if it wasn’t home for me, then this wouldn’t have been a destination for me. It’s all working out the way I want it to.”

Pierce also said that he ran into Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge recently, who told him, “When you’re ready, we have a spot for you.”

“I think he was meaning as a player, but maybe it was in the front office …” Pierce said to Thomsen.

He added that he could see a position for himself in the Clippers organization as well with Rivers because the coach “respects [his] basketball mind,” and also noted that being in Boston as a young player was probably better for him than if he had been in his hometown.

“You’ve got to know yourself,” he told Thomsen. “I know how difficult it would have been for me, being from here — a young immature kid playing at home. I wouldn’t want that. That would be a whole other monster, with all of the distractions and that. Things happen for a reason. This is all destiny, I believe.”

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Read More: Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers, Paul Pierce,

Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 25. Hello, Sebastian Telfair

07.23.15 at 11:41 am ET
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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.

Darius Songaila

Darius Songaila

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.

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Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Sebastian Telfair

Source: R.J. Hunter expected to sign with Celtics next week

07.21.15 at 4:33 pm ET
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R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter

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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, R.J. Hunter,

Paul Pierce on Lakers: ‘There’s no way I could go there’

07.20.15 at 1:12 pm ET
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Paul Pierce recently returned to his hometown when he signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. To his other hometown team, however, he can’t show any love.

“It’€™s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce told The Boston Globe from Sunday night’s NBA Players Association awards show in Las Vegas. “I grew up a Laker fan, but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams … there’€™s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’€™s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”

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.

Read More: DeAndre Jordan, Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce,
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