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Studs and Duds: Amir Johnson, Celtics cut Nets wire to wire 10.14.15 at 10:23 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas received his first start in a Celtics uniform, albeit in a preseason game against the Nets, but the early returns are encouraging.

In the opening 9:38, Thomas scored seven points on two field goal attempts and dished three assists against zero turnovers, leaving the floor with a 25-16 lead the Celtics never relinquished in a 109-105 exhibition win in Brooklyn.

For a box score, click here. For the lowdown beyond the box, read on.

Stud of the night: Amir Johnson.

Johnson also earned the start against the Nets, and if he contributes the way he did in 24:28 of the preseason, he will be well worth his $12 million salary. Johnson finished with 19 points on 13 shots, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He knocked down a pair of 3’s offensively and protected the rim defensively, anchoring an impressive nine-block effort by the C’s.

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Read More: Amir Johnson, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, NBA
Rajon Rondo may or may not be serious about latest coach feud at 11:45 am ET
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When you read the quote from Cowbell Kingdom, it doesn’t look good for Rajon Rondo.

Asked about his relationship with Kings coach George Karl during the preseason, Rondo said, “It’s not been going too well. We got into a couple arguments the last couple days, but hopefully we’ll continue to talk and get better.” OK, then, thanks for honesty, I guess?

Considering Rondo once threw a water bottle at former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and feuded during a game with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle before being benched for the playoffs, you can see how someone would interpret Rondo’s comments as the logical next progression.

Then again, if you ever watched a postgame interview with Rondo, you’d know he often deadpans complete nonsense just to toy with the media. Just about Q&A with him left me wondering, Wait, is he serious? It sounds like he’s joking, but it wasn’t funny, so …

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, Rajon Rondo
Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 4. Goodbye, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett 10.13.15 at 8:26 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 preseason to play out.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 4 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

July 12, 2013: Goodbye, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

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Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett
Celtics destroy Olimpia Milano to open the preseason 10.06.15 at 5:12 pm ET
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It wasn’t exactly NBA competition, but the Celtics got themselves a win in their preseason debut, defeating European host Olimpia Milano, 124-91.

Isaiah Thomas led the C’s scoring effort with 18 points off the bench, while Avery Bradley (14 points), Jared Sullinger (14 points), David Lee (13 points, 7 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (11 points, 6 assists) were also in double figures.

For the complete box score,click here. But here’s what you really need to know.

NEVER IN DOUBT

The win was never in question, and at no point was the game close to competitive. The fact former Purdue standout Robbie Hummel, who played wing in the NBA, was a center for Olimpia Milano, should give you an indication of the talent level of the Italian Club. Despite this being a meaningless game against an inferior team, the Celtics looked sharp, especially on defense.

DAVID IS GOLIATH

Lee looked great attacking the basket in the pick-and-roll. Lee gives the Celtics something they severely lacked last season — offensive talent. As the team’s starting power forward alongside Tyler Zeller in the frontcourt, Lee finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes.

ROTATION WEIRDNESS

Sullinger was not one of the top four big men to play and didn’€™t enter the game until the second quarter. This caused a brief moment of  pandemonium on Celtics Twitter.

Once Sullinger eventually checked in, he was effective, scoring 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

VEAL SCALABRINE

Brian “White Mamba”€ Scalabrine is a broadcasting gem, and not just because he ruthlessly swatted the shots of young Italians. He combines a fun personality with astute analysis, and he’ll be a nice addition alongside Mike Gorman in Tommy Heinsohn’s absence on the road for the Comcast team this season.

REAL TALK

Spanish squad Real Madrid is expected to be a tougher test on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Olimpia Milano,
Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 5. Goodbye, Kendrick Perkins 10.05.15 at 2:27 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 preseason to play out.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 5 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

Feb. 24, 2011: Goodbye, Kendrick Perkins.

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Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green
Perry Jones III (knee) misses second straight Celtics practice 10.02.15 at 5:45 pm ET
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Perry Jones

Perry Jones

Perry Jones III missed a second consecutive Celtics practice with knee soreness on Friday.

The Celtics acquired Jones, a 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations from the Thunder in exchange for a future second-round pick this past July. He averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes over 43 games in Oklahoma City last season, showing considerable promise in a 32-point, seven-rebound effort against the Clippers before suffering a separate knee injury in early November 2014.

Jones fell to No. 28 in the 2012 NBA draft due to knee problems that a scout told CBS Sports reporter Seth Davis would limit his career to “3-4 years in the league.” This would be his fourth NBA season.

The Celtics currently have 16 players signed to guaranteed contracts with room for only 15, and Jones was already the favorite to be left off the roster at the end of training camp. This setback does not bode well, particularly if the soreness lingers, but he is expected to travel with the team to Italy.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Perry Jones III,
Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 6. Hello, Isaiah Thomas 09.30.15 at 4:20 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 preseason to play out.

With that out of the way, here’s No. 6 on the list of Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades.

July 10, 2014: Hello, Tyler Zeller.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Marcus Thornton: In order to shed salary for the return of LeBron James, Cleveland essentially sent Jarrett Jack to Brooklyn for Thornton, and Boston took the latter’s expiring $8.6 million contract off the Cavaliers, hands.  While on the Celtics, Thornton continued to be what he’d been in his five previous seasons — a productive scorer off the bench who wasn’t worth the four-year, $31 million deal Sacramento signed him to in 2011.
  • Tyler Zeller: The 7-foot North Carolina did what most players have done under Celtics coach Brad Stevens — develop in almost every respect. Zeller averaged 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per 36 minutes last season, taking strides as a mid-range jump shooter and rim protector. A year later, Cleveland’s 2012 first-round pick still has a year left on his rookie contract and doesn’t become a restricted free agent until next summer.
  • Cleveland’€™s 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected): Granted, this pick will fall in the late 20s come June, if not 30th overall, but even the lowest first-round pick is a valuable asset in a league that protects them dearly.

DEPARTING to Cleveland

  • $10.3 million trade exception: The Celtics also included a conditional second-round pick that never came to fruition, so this is all they gave up — the trade exception created upon dealing Paul Pierce‘s salary to Brooklyn.

Feb. 19, 2015: Hello, Isaiah Thomas.

ARRIVING in Boston

  • Isaiah Thomas: Playing in a crowded Suns backcourt behind Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Thomas was in the midst of a Sixth Man of the Year-worthy campaign, averaging 15.2 points on nearly 40 percent shooting off the bench. The 5-foot-9 point guard added 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes a night over his 46 games in Phoenix — consistent with the 36-minute averages that made him one of the league’s most efficient players in Sacramento. He was even better in Boston, averaging 19.0 points and 5.4 assists in 26 minutes. Oh, and he’s working on one of the league’s best contracts, which declines from $6.9 million each year through 2017-18.

DEPARTING to Phoenix

  • Marcus Thornton: After leaving the Celtics, Thornton was stuck on the end of the Suns bench. He scored a total of 32 points in nine appearances for Phoenix, and then missed 14 of the final 15 games with a toe injury.
  • Cleveland’€™s 2016 first-round pick (top-10 protected): See? Told you low first-round picks are still valuable.

There may be a handful of Ainge’s trades more consequential than this one, but you won’t find any more creative.

In some serious origami, Ainge turned a piece of paper into Tyler Zeller and Isaiah Thomas. Actually, I’m not even sure trade exceptions are printed on pieces of paper. They might just be in the ether. In which case, Ainge literally pulled a 24-year-old starting center and a Sixth Man of the Year candidate out of thin air. Is that good? I think that’s good.

There isn’t much more you can say about how this shook out for the Celtics, to be honest. It’s some Gandalf-level stuff.

Read More: 25 most consequential trades, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Isaiah Thomas
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