|Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 24. Goodbye, Semih Erden||07.24.15 at 12:06 pm ET|
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.
- No. 25: Hello, Sebastian Telfair.
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.
|Celtics make Jerryd Bayless for Courtney Lee trade official, waive Ryan Gomes||01.07.14 at 12:11 pm ET|
As part of the deal, the Celtics acquired Ryan Gomes from the Thunder and subsequently waived him. The remainder of Gomes’ $884,293 salary would have become guaranteed had the C’s not released him on Tuesday.
Bayless, 25, averaged 8.0 points (41.9 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 83.6 FT%), 2.0 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game in 30 appearances for the Grizzlies this season, but his $3.1 million contract is Danny Ainge‘s biggest acquisition. While Bayless becomes a free agent this summer, Lee is owed $11.1 million over the next two seasons on top of the remainder of this season’s $5.2 million salary.
We discussed the trade’s impact on the salary cap and how Ainge might exercise his newfound flexibility going forward here.
Bayless arrived in Denver on Monday and is expected to be available against the Nuggets, according to the Celtics public relations staff. He will wear No. 11, same as Lee.
“We’ve always like Jerryd,” Ainge told the Herald. ‘”He’s played really well against us, and we’re intrigued to see what he can do now. We like that he can play some point guard.”
As for Lee, Ainge added, “Courtney has played real well in a limited role for us this year. I also know he was not happy with his role. But I think he’s a good player for Memphis to acquire.”
|How a Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless trade affects Danny Ainge’s Celtics future||01.05.14 at 7:10 pm ET|
Lee addressed the trade on his Instagram account.
“Would like to thank every1 in the celtics organization for the opportunity to be a celtic, I enjoyed my time in Boston and am grateful. Would also like to thank @celtics for showcasing my desire to give back to the community and also making me look good in the pictures lol. Would also like to thank the fans for the amazing year and a half journey, we started off a little rocky but I got my game back right so thanks for the extra motivation. #allgoodthingscometoaend!!!”
As a result of the deal, the Celtics save $2.1 million this season and shed the $11.1 million owed Lee over the next two seasons, since Bayless is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Of course, the C’s also acquire a 25-year-old point guard who has averaged highs of 11.4 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds with a 52.2 true shooting percentage and 13.5 Player Efficiency Rating for five teams in his six NBA seasons. Bayless averaged 8.0 points (46.8 TS%), 2.0 assists and 1.9 boards while producing an 11.2 PER in 20.8 minutes over 30 games for the Grizzlies this season. He has totaled 57 points in his last three games against the Celtics.
The trade effectively ends a disappointing Boston tenure for Lee. While the 28-year-old has scored 7.4 points on 57.3 true shooting (49.2 FG%, 44.2 3P%) in 30 games for the Celtics this season, he never quite lived up to the four-year, $21.5 million deal he signed in 2012.
Most importantly, the Celtics cut their guaranteed payroll to just $42.5 million next season — well below the projected salary cap of $62.1 million — offering Celtics president Danny Ainge even more flexibility to re-sign Avery Bradley, acquire anyone on the free-agent market and/or make any trade under the sun. The Celtics now also have some wiggle room to add another player this season to fill the roster at 15.
|Celtics, for the last time: Courtney Lee||10.31.13 at 3:52 pm ET|
One of the most unpredictable Celtics seasons in recent memory began Wednesday, and in order to determine the likelihood of each player reaching his full potential, we’ll be examining them individually in this year’s Green Street preview with one form of this question in mind: “When’s the last time ‘¦ ?” Next up: Courtney Lee.
When’s the last time a mid-tier veteran improved in Year 2 with a new team?
Courtney Lee’s struggles last season are well documented. Heck, even he readily admits to his inconsistency. When a reporter treaded lightly last month on the subject of his 2012-13 season, Lee stopped him and said something to the tune of, “You don’t have to be afraid to ask that question. I wasn’t so good.”
Now accustomed to his new city and out of the Doc Rivers doghouse, Lee has a new lease on his NBA life. It stands to reason that his comfortability during his second season in Boston might breed consistency.
A handful of players on similar contracts to Lee’s $5.2 million price tag have found themselves in a similar situation over the past several seasons: Jamal Crawford in New York, Atlanta and now the Clippers; Kyle Korver in Utah, Chicago and now Atlanta; Andre Miller in Denver, Philadelphia, Portland and Denver again; Chuck Hayes in Sacramento, J.R. Smith in New York; Martell Webster in Minnesota and now D.C.; and Brandan Wright in Dallas.
Here’s how those seven players performed in Years 1 and 2 with their new teams over the years.
|Irish Coffee: Celtics answer questions, create more||09.25.13 at 6:53 am ET|
The Celtics hosted their annual charity golf tournament on Tuesday, signaling the unofficial start of the season. While Media Day looms Monday, the C’s front office, their coach and players addressed a few pressing questions.
As Celtics president Danny Ainge said, ‘I’m very excited about the team, because there are so many questions to be answered and so many unknowns of what’s going to happen and who’s going to step up and who’s not.’
So, without further ado, the answers to the questions you’ve all been asking. And then more questions.
When will Rajon Rondo return?
Since this is the biggest question they face, it deserved its own post. The short of it: Rondo is ‘unlikely’ to start the season, according to coach Brad Stevens, and anything to the contrary would be ‘shocking’ to Ainge & Co.
Where does Jared Sullinger’s domestic violence case stand?
Ainge: ‘The outcome is looking good, but we can’t talk about any of that yet. It’s still pending that conclusion. Jared will be in training camp. He’s in our facility working out every day. I think he’s taking care of everything in the exact right way that he should, and I think that Jared is a good kid and he’s a good Celtic and he’s a guy that we have big hopes for. And we don’t think that he’s done anything so wrong that he shouldn’t be part of our team today.’
Now, how’s that for a non-answer answer? Carry on.
Have they discussed a new contract for Avery Bradley?
‘Sure,’ said Ainge, ‘but there’s nothing imminent there. … We may talk in October, but most likely next summer.’
If the C’s and Bradley don’t agree to an extension by November, he’ll be a restricted free agent after the season.
Ainge, who was in Tacoma, Wash., for Bradley’s mother’s funeral last week, said the 22-year-old ‘seems to be doing better,’ especially given the birth of his first son, Avery Bradley III, on Tuesday morning.
‘I guess we’ll call him AB III,’ said Ainge.
Why haven’t we heard from Gerald Wallace all summer?
‘I’m right there with you,’ said Ainge. ‘I’m anxious to meet Gerald. I’ve met him before when I was doing television, but I haven’t had much conversation with him. He’s really the only one, but he’ll be in town I think next week, so we’ll be watching closely and will sit down. I’ve obviously watched him play a lot of basketball.
‘It’s interesting. Gerald got a good contract in Charlotte, was their best player when they went to the playoffs and that led to a big payday for him. He was traded for two first-round picks to Portland. He played very well in Portland to the point where New Jersey wanted to give away Damian Lillard in order to get him, and then New Jersey wanted him bad enough to pay him a very lucrative contract, so it seems like everywhere he’s been he’s been well-liked and well compensated. He’s a good player.
“It wasn’t a great fit for him in New Jersey last year, but we’ll try to see if we can make it a better fit for us.’
Wait. Is it normal for an executive not to meet a guy he’s paying $10 million a year? ‘It’s a nightmare trying to get a hold of players in the summertime,’ added Ainge. ‘I was the same way when I was a player.’ Well, that explains it.
What can we expect from Jeff Green this season?
|Doc Rivers on D&C: Friday’s Game 3 in Boston ‘will be emotional for the players’||04.25.13 at 9:41 am ET|
The Celtics lost the first two games of their playoff series in New York, both times struggling badly on offense after halftime (48 points combined in the two second halves).
“I would love to say it’s as simple as play harder, play better, but we have to do a lot of things,” Rivers said. “Both games were completely different except for the score, as far as our scoring. In the second game, the third quarter we gave up  points, which meant that we played taking the ball out of bounds, and their pressure affected us. Our defense, though it’s been good, is still tied to our offense. And I would say in the third quarter that was the big part of it.”
Jeff Green continues to shine in spurts, but he’s been unable to carry it through for an entire game. Rivers acknowledged Green’s inconsistency can be frustrating.
“At times. Because I know how good he can be — and I know how good he will be,” Rivers said. “He was fantastic in Game 1, if you just go by total numbers [26 points, 7 rebounds]. Obviously he’s not going to have the half he had in the first half, you’re not going to do that in two halves. That’s a 50-point game. I guess that’s possible, but that’s hard to do.
“In Game 2 our pace was bad. And if our pace affects any single guy, it’s Jeff Green. Without the pace that we wanted to play at, I thought we hurt him as much as Jeff. So, that’s on us. It really is. It’s on me, it’s on our group. Our guys understand the important of that. If you want him to be effective, we have to get him in the open court, otherwise they’re just loading up on him.”
|Doc Rivers: Kevin Garnett ‘good to go’ for Game 3||04.24.13 at 5:14 pm ET|
“It was affecting him,” said Rivers. “In a couple timeouts, I kept asking him if was he OK, and he is. He’s good. He’s good to go. He’ll practice [Thursday] and then play on Friday.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason