Ainge Adds More Picks in Three-Team Trade

BOSTON – If you haven’t heard much from Danny Ainge of late, it’s probably because he’s been pretty busy. He’s been busy working the lines to add even more flexibility and assets to the Celtics’ future.

Just eight days after clearing significant future cap space by dealing Courtney Lee to Memphis, Ainge pulled the trigger yet again. This time around he added a veteran big man and at least two future picks.

Ainge helped to orchestrate a three-way trade on Wednesday with the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat. The Celtics have acquired center Joel Anthony from Miami, a conditional first-rounder from Golden State (via Philadelphia) and a second-rounder from Miami.

Danny Ainge smiles

Dany Ainge has pulled off two trades in a span of only eight days.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

In exchange for those assets, Boston agreed to ship Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks to the Warriors. Miami also acquired Toney Douglas from Golden State in the move.

The Celtics have now made three consecutive trades that have either added long-term cap flexibility or draft picks. Reports indicate that as part of this deal, Boston will receive Philadelphia’s first-round pick in either 2014 or 2015 if it falls outside the top 14. If the pick does not fall outside of the top 14 in either of those seasons, it will turn into a second-round pick in 2015 and a second-round pick in 2016. Additionally, Boston will receive a second-round pick from Miami in 2016.

This transaction adds to Boston’s stockpile of draft picks that it has accumulated for the next five drafts. The Celtics will now have at least eight, and as many as nine, first-round draft picks in the next five NBA Drafts. They will also have at least three, and as many as seven depending on conditions, second-round picks during that same time.

Take a long look around the league and you will not find another team that has a more impressive long-term stable of picks in its arsenal. Ainge has quickly compiled a crop of picks that are almost certain to load the team with more elite talent in the coming seasons.

It’s always a great score when a team can stash away more draft picks, but this trade wasn’t all about the picks. Boston has taken a step forward in molding its roster for the remainder of this season and the future.

If you remember correctly, the Celtics didn’t acquire Crawford until Rajon Rondo went down last season. Call it irony, but now that Rondo is on the verge of returning to the lineup, Boston has shipped Crawford out.

The move paves the way for Rondo to retake his starting point guard spot while allowing the Celtics to develop their other guards, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless. Had Crawford remained on the team, Brad Stevens would have had four guards on his roster who would be worthy of serious minutes.

This trade alleviates that issue. Rondo can now comfortably work his way back into major minutes. Meanwhile, Bradley will not have any of his minutes taken away and Bayless can continue to serve as a dual backup at point guard and shooting guard.

You also cannot forget about Anthony, who brings several skills to the Celtics. First and foremost, he’s another big man who can defend and rebound. Synergy sports has rated Anthony as either a very good or excellent defender in each of the past six seasons. He has also averaged at least 6.5 rebounds per 36 minutes in each of his seven NBA seasons.

The Celtics also make gains off the court. Anthony is regarded as the consummate professional who is a great person to be around. He should add another veteran voice to the Celtics and help to improve the culture in the locker room.

Speaking of that locker room, it’s beginning to look a lot different in there. Rondo is on the verge of returning and two new faces have joined the club, all in a span of eight days. Those circumstances have allowed the Celtics to enhance their future outlook with more flexibility, more draft picks, and more playing time for their key players.

Ainge has to love the sound of that. No wonder why he’s been so busy.