|Danny Ainge’s 25 most consequential trades: 25. Hello, Sebastian Telfair||07.23.15 at 11:41 am 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.
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.
|Report: Celtics looking to make splash in 2016 with potential for 2 max deals||07.07.15 at 12:56 pm ET|
Multiple big names will be on the market following the 2015-16 campaign, the most notable of which being Thunder forward and 2013-14 NBA MVP Kevin Durant. With the cap set to explode to $89 million due to the league’s new lucrative television deal that will go into effect next offseason, the Celtics will be in a position to aggressively buy.
Not only will they have the option to pursue max players through free agency, they will also have the assets and cap space to negotiate sign-and-trades for max players as well.
The Celtics only have two players with guaranteed contracts beyond next season (Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas), leaving them with picks and young prospects like James Young and Marcus Smart, who could serve as valuable trade pawns.
Though the C’s have long been plagued with the perception as an undesirable free agency destination, the C’s current situation mirrors the 2007 offseason when they successfully recruited Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to join Paul Pierce and form the Big Three. Right now, they can remain content with building pieces and role players for a run at big names in 2016.
|Danny Ainge: ‘[Terry Rozier] was always that high on our draft board’||06.30.15 at 11:42 am ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge introduced the team’s 2015 draft class at a press conference Tuesday at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
With Ainge and the Celtics taking a lot of heat since the draft about potentially overrating Rozier, who they selected at No. 16 overall, much of the dialogue centered around the Louisville guard and how he managed to move so far up the C’s draft board.
“It started in my college career, I just got in a lot of work in the gym,” Rozier told reporters. “I left a lot of coaches with great impressions then I came here. I just work hard and show what I can do, which is toughness, defense, showing I can shoot the ball a little better than my college stats show. … I’m just excited to be playing for a … great franchise with 17 world titles and just to meet my new teammates and get it started.”
Ainge followed up to Rozier’s answer, saying he was always high on the team’s draft board. Rozier averaged a team-leading 17.1 points per game last year.
“He was always that high on our draft board,” Ainge said. “For the last couple months he’s been a guy that we had known and looked about and thought was very underrated based on the media and how they perceived him. Terry, because of the quality of player he is, was moving up rapidly in the last few weeks of the draft process as far as the attention he was getting around the league and that started scaring us because we thought we had a diamond in the rough that nobody really was valuing all that much.”
Though many expected the Celtics to emerge from the draft with solid, rim-protecting big men, Ainge surprised many when he selected guards with three out of his four picks. When asked about how he can set himself apart on a guard-heavy roster, Rozier conversely described how he intends to fit in with the rest of the Celtics’ roster.
|Danny Ainge on not moving up: ‘Maybe we were going too hard at it’||06.26.15 at 1:17 am ET|
In the end, moving up into the prized Top 10 of the 2015 NBA draft was not in the cards for Danny Ainge.
“I’m not disappointed,” said the Celtics president of basketball operations. “We tried. It just didn’t happen.
“We tried hard. We tried hard to trade up. We spent the last couple of weeks trying to move, and really today was the only time we had any indication that we could move up. But we were trying. At the end of the day, it’s like Red used to say, sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make. Maybe we were going too hard at it. And there was a time when I thought, ‘Whoa, this is getting a little out of control. We’re putting a lot of eggs in one young player’s basket.’
“So, I’m not frustrated. And, in the long run maybe it’ll be the best.”
The “one young player’s basket” may be a reference to the rumor of the Celtics’ effort to move up to No. 9 earlier in the day, trying reportedly to nab small forward Justise Winslow of Duke. There were reports that the team was going to part with Jared Sullinger and ship him to Charlotte. Sullinger had reportedly even followed the Hornets on Twitter and stopped following the Celtics.
Ainge could only laugh.
“The fans feed into what’s being written and said a lot, too,” Ainge said. “I did say we would try to move up. The price was way too high. There’s so many rumors out there. There are so many things are being said and written that aren’t even close to being true, that are just made-up stories. No sources and fake sources and people get caught up in these rumors and their expectations grow even higher. Don’t you think?”
Did he come close? “Yeah, we thought we were close,” Ainge said.
Instead, Ainge stayed put and made selections at all four of his spots going into the night. He took Terry Rozier at No. 16, R.J. Hunter at No. 28, Jordan Mickey at No. 33 and Marcus Thornton at No. 45. Three of them, Rozier, Hunter and Thornton are guards, adding to an already crowded and jumbled backcourt.
“Listen, it all comes down to how good the players are that we have,” Ainge said. “It doesn’t matter what I say about it. We’ll just wait and see how good they are. We like the guys we have and I think our fans are going to enjoy them.”
Ainge had said he was looking for quality over quantity, and was not likely to make all four picks. He reiterated Thursday that he won’t be able to keep all four picks on the active roster, instead will try to stash them in Europe.
“No, we don’t have room on the roster for all four guys, most likely,” Ainge admitted. “We probably don’t have room for them so we’ll work out deals where guys can play overseas in some of the situations.”
|ESPN’s Chad Ford: Willie Cauley-Stein ‘doesn’t look anything like a Celtics pick’||06.25.15 at 12:48 pm ET|
ESPN’s NBA draft expert Chad Ford was on Zach Lowe of Grantland’s podcast Wednesday talking about the Celtics and their plan of attack for the draft based on how they’ve drafted in the past.
The point of emphasis for the Celtics in approaching this year, according to Ford, is that they’ll be looking to draft someone similar to Marcus Smart in the way that the point guard plays with a competitive edge and with a “fire in his belly.”
It’s for that reason that, though the C’s might focus on Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein for his talent, Ford said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge likes picking guys for their personality too. Ford suggested that Boston might opt for Croatia shooting guard Mario Hezonja because of his attitude.
“If you want to project who the Celtics are going to take at 16, you ought to look at what sort of player Danny [Ainge] likes from a mental makeup, and why they might be excited by a guy like Mario Hezonja from Croatia,” Ford said. “Everybody’s talking about them going after Willie Cauley-Stein, but Willie Cauley-Stein — from a talent standpoint, I see why the Celtics need him, but from a mental makeup, he doesn’t look anything like a Celtics pick. Mario Hezonja? That looks like a Celtics pick.”
But Hezonja keeps climbing on draft boards, predicted to go as high as No. 4 by some places, and though the C’s have been assertive in their attempt to move into the top 10, getting that high up would require a large trade. Cauley-Stein has also fallen in mock drafts, and his history of injury may be to blame.
For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.
|Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10’ of NBA draft||06.23.15 at 2:06 pm ET|
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics draft plan and the rumors surrounding DeMarcus Cousins. To hear the full interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
With reports emerging that the Celtics offered Marcus Smart and two first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the third overall selection, Mannix speculated that Smart could be moved at any point leading up to the draft.
“I heard that last night and I … couldn’t nail down all the details of the Philadelphia conversation, but I heard the Celtics were talking Marcus Smart and Nerlens Noel with the Sixers,” Mannix said. “… That’s why I wrote that anyone on the roster was available. But I believe it to be true now that it’s been put out there. I don’t think Boston is actively trying to dump Marcus Smart by any stretch, but I think Danny Ainge and the Celtics are looking to do anything they possibly can to get into that top-five, specifically the top-three because that’s where I think the true impact players are in this draft. You’re talking about either bigs or a point guard like D’Angelo Russell. Marcus Smart is available in the right deal any time in the next couple of days.”
Mannix continued to discuss Ainge’s trade plans, predicting the Celtics will trade up for a lottery pick.
“I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10,” Mannix said. “Three might be a leap. … I don’t think [the Celtics] are going to get that high, but pick number six with Sacramento is available. We’ve all heard the DeMarcus Cousins talk that’s out there, and that pick could be packaged with Cousins in a blockbuster deal with the Kings that probably wouldn’t involve Boston. But if the Cousins talk falls through, I think the Kings are more than willing to move back into the teens, in exchange for some kind of serviceable role player.
“I don’t know who that could mean on Boston’s roster, it could be [Jared] Sullinger, it could be [Kelly] Olynyk, it could be any number of guys. No. 9 I think is available too with Charlotte. The Hornets just made that Lance Stephenson trade with the Clippers, they got back Spencer Hawes, but they still have a gaping hole at the two-guard spot. And if Devin Booker, who is the 18-year-old two-guard from Kentucky, is off the board by No. 9, and I think he will be … I think the Hornets would be inclined to move back into a position where they can take R.J. Hunter later on in the draft. … I think Danny’s in a great position to move into the top-10 which is why I say at this point I’d be surprised if he didn’t get into the top 10.”
WALTHAM — Apparently, where there’s smoke, there’s fire with Danny Ainge and the rumors of his interest in moving way up in the draft Thursday night.
“Yeah, we’re having discussions with both of our picks in the first round, trying to move up with at least one of them. I think there’ll be some movement,” Ainge said at a pre-draft media availability at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday.
Ainge’s comments come as the Los Angeles Times reported that the Celtics offered Marcus Smart and a package of picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Nerlens Noel and their No. 3 overall pick on Thursday.
The Celtics have picks No. 16 and 28 and could package a deal to move up.
Is Ainge optimistic that he can pull the trigger?
“Yeah. Hopeful,” Ainge said, before adding an important qualifier. “Nobody wants to. You have to be enticed to. Nobody wants to move down. A lot of that just depends on who’s drafted ahead of us and what our position is. If we move up the chances are very good that we did not have them in for a workout. We saw a lot of workouts, mostly out in LA. I went out to LA for a week and watched, and maybe saw 70 or 80 guys workout.”
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